Director: Zeina Durra
Runtime: 85 minutes
Cast: Andrea Riseborough, Karim Saleh, Shereen Reda, Michael Landes
Synopsis: When British aid worker Hana returns to the ancient Egyptian city of Luxor, she comes across Sultan, a talented archaeologist and former lover. As she wanders round the site, haunted by the familiar place, she struggles to reconcile the choices of the past with the uncertainty of the present.
Writer/Director Zeina Durra [The Imperialists Are Still Alive! (2010)] introduces us to her main character, Hana [Andrea Riseborough – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014), Oblivion (2013), Mandy Bloom, W.E. (2011)], a doctor who works in conflict zones and has just returned from the Jordan-Syria border where, she confesses, “I saw things that nobody should see. I’m broken.”
Hana comes to Luxor as a place that can restore and invigorate her soul while pondering whether to take another dangerous post in Yemen. She’s been in Luxor in her youth, and a chance meeting with her old flame, Sultan [The Hamburg Cell (2004), Munich (2005), Counterpart (2017-19),Transparent (2017)] makes her question her life choices and the possible future paths. This stunningly beautiful film is like a slow contemplative walk among the Egyptian pyramids and ruins, with Hana as a silent guide
On arrival she checks into the famous Winter Palace luxury hotel redolent of so much history from Howard Carter announcing the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922 to Agatha Christie writing Death on the Nile there. Later Hana tries to find catharsis as a lonely tourist following guided tours of the Temple of Ramesses III at Medinet Habu.
She runs into her old friend Sultan, a visiting archaeologist from America, and meeting him and visiting a place where she had been so happy once, reminds Hana of how she has the ability to feel that way again about life.
Riseborough delivers a subtle, mesmerising, physical performance and shares an on-screen chemistry with Saleh that suggests decades of mutual, if fragmented, history.
The pastel tones of the gorgeous cinematography by Zelmira Gainza and Nascuy Linares’ atmospheric musical score make for top class cinema tourism.
Screening on Curzon Home Cinema
Images courtesy of: Modern Films