Date Wine / Arak El Balah

  • Release Date: 1998
  • Type: Featured
  • Run time: 110 Minutes
  • Directed by: Radwan El Kashef
  • Produced by: Marianne Khoury
  • Screenplay: Radwan El Kashef
  • Cast: Sherihan, Abla Kamel, Hamdy Ahmed, Mohamed Nagaty, Fayza Amseeb, Gamal Ismail, Seif Abdel Rahman, Manal Afify, Abdallah Mahmoud, Madida El Sayed
  • Cinematography: Tarek El Telmessany
  • Art direction: Onsy Abou Seif
  • Editing: Rachida Abdel Salam
  • Costume design: Onsy Abou Seif
  • Music: Yasser Abdel Rahman
  • Sound: Raafat Samir
  • Subtitles: English, French

This Egyptian drama begins with a man approaching an abandoned fort in a dusty region of southern Egypt. He is greeted by an elderly woman who tells the tale of the deserted village: A convoy of masked bikers arrive one day, promising lives of luxury, the menfolk abandon the village to investigate the greener grass on the proverbial ‘other side’. The womenfolk, those too old and those too young are left behind and, as the years pass, only letters return, telling tales of loneliness and hard times. Young Ahmed grows up under these surroundings and has to deal with being the man in charge. When several of the migrant workers return, frustrated by their failures in the outside world, everyone has to come to terms with the irreversible change in the community. The film is a symbolic parallel with mass Egyptian emigration during the 1970’s.

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