Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Simmering Wait in Cairo Time

It was a post-Valentine surprise to find Patricia Clarkson in my dvd player.

Clarkson, to my mind, is a spectacular actress whose minimalist style of acting packs a wallop. Think Nora Aunor before she got infected with the Richard Merck Syndrome! In fact, actor Noah Emmerich says this of the actress: “Patricia Clarkson’s work is a master class in fullness and minimalism. The scope and power of what she is able to communicate with the slightest of gestures – the sip of a drink or the turn of her head – it’s testament to the depth and potency of her inner life.” I couldn't have said it better!

In Ruba Nadda's "Cairo Time", Juliette (Patricia Clarkson) flies to Cairo to meet her husband Mark who works for the U.N. Unfortunately, setting up refugee camps at the fringes of strife isn't as easy and Mark takes his time to see her. So Juliette is left on her own, rudely realizing that a single woman navigating the streets of Cairo can be overwhelming! Enter Tareq (the very charming Alexander Siddiq of "Syriana") who finds the time to show her around the congested streets and afloat the glistening Nile. When she was offered his company to visit the pyramids, she declines. She promised that her first visit with the magical pyramids would be with her husband. But as weeks draw by, that becomes highly unlikely happening!

After a surreal and hair-raising bus ride and a wedding in Alexandria, she finally decides to see the Pyramids - with Tareq!

The movie takes a ruminative, introspective approach to its storytelling, and Clarkson slow burns! Along with Siddig, she takes us on a very patient journey to wait for love.

With a sweltering cityscape one November, two charming souls seeking for affection, and the exotic landscape, the sound of Adan (call for Muslim prayer), and music from the likes of Abdel Jalim Afez, "Cairo Time" is a satisfying movie that ultimately won 2009 Best Canadian Film at the Toronto Film Festival.

Sharing a moment at the Pyramids.

Clarkson. Attended Yale Drama School and finished her Masters in Fine Arts degree from Fordham University. She is 5'5", Siddig is 6 footer.

Alexander Siddig is at home playing Tareq and says of his role - "It was a real treasure, a treat, to find a character that wasn't intent on trying to blow up the White House or hijack an airplane."

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