Screened as part of NZIFF 2010

The Night of Counting the Years 1969


Directed by Shadi Abdel Salam

Superb restored print of a haunting, rarely seen classic of Egyptian cinema, based on a true story of tomb plunder from 1881. “Stately, poetic… an astonishing piece of cinema.” — Martin Scorsese

Egypt In Arabic with English subtitles
103 minutes

Director, Screenplay


Abdel Aziz Fahmi


Kamal Abou El Ella

Production designer

Salah Marei


Mario Nascimbene


Ahmed Marei
Ahmed Hegazi
Zouzou Hamdi El Hakim
Nadia Lofti


Cannes (Cannes Classics), London 2009

Restored by the World Cinema Foundation with the support of the Egyptian Ministry of Culture. Restoration carried out by Cineteca di Bologna at L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory.


This haunting, rarely seen classic of Egyptian cinema is based on a true story from 1881 when it was discovered that the Horabat tribe had been secretly selling off precious objects plundered from the tombs of the Pharaohs. A welcome choice for restoration by the World Cinema Foundation, created in 2007 by Martin Scorsese to save and protect neglected films in countries with poor archival resources, Al-Momia is commonly acknowledged as one of the greatest films ever made in Egypt.

“An indisputable masterwork… Fascinating on many levels, Al-Momia is in essence about the origins of Egyptian national identity… It must also be said that Al-Momia is astoundingly beautiful. Abdel Salam shot all his exteriors between 4 and 6am, or 4 and 6pm – times that mark the transitions between day and night. This gives the film a kind of ethereal quality, as each image feels as if it’s just about to disappear.” — Richard Peña, Film Comment