Director Tamer El Said’s ambitious debut tells the fictional story of a Cairo filmmaker (Khalid Abdalla from The Kite Runner and The Square) struggling to capture the soul of a city while facing loss in his own life. Shot during the two years before the revolution in Egypt, this film-within-a film is a visually rich exploration of lives shaped by the shadows of war and adversity.

In the Last Days of the City is certainly effective as a love story. It captures in atmospheric fragments the feel of a romance pulling apart. But the film is also an extremely precise and deeply moving enactment of a much bigger story—about what has happened in the last hundred years or so to Egypt and the Arab world, its artists especially.” —Artforum

“This multi-layered docu-fiction offers a meditation on one’s place within a rapidly changing environment, as the gears of history turn more ever more frantically. It is also a film capsule freezing on a particular chapter in history, not only of the city. Khalid’s clips of the unfinished documentary comprise an organic part of El Said’s film, a meta-textual point of filmmaker-character union resulting in a more intimate and authentic elegy created by the same eye.” —Senses of Cinema

See more reviews in the “New York Times,” “Variety,” and “The Guardian.

Read interviews with the filmmaker in Germany’s “Qantara,” “Cinema Without Borders,” and “Film Journal International.”

Watch the Q&A with the filmmaker at New York’s New Directors/New Films in 2016.

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Tamer El Said
Arabic with English subtitles
Egypt/Germany/UK/United Arab Emirates
Running Time
118 minutes
Digital, Color