The Nile Hilton Incident (2017) * * * *

February 27th, 2018
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir.: Tarik Saleh; Cast: Fares Fares, Maher Kamal, Mari Malek, Ahmd Selim, Hania Amar; Sweden/Denmark/France/Germany 2017, 106 min.

Pre-revolution 2011 and Egypt is a place of corruption, greed and violence – or so Tarik Saleh would have us believe in his bleak neo-noir  that unfurls in Cairo’s shady world of police and state security. In actual fact, Saleh and DoP Pierre Aim transferred the shoot to Casablanca after the Egyptian authorities closed the film down.

In January 2011, Captain Noredin (Fares) is used by his corrupt Cairo Police Chief uncle Kamal (Maher), to cover up a murder in the Nile Hilton, where a young singer had her throat slit. Noredin takes bribes and stores the money in his fridge, but he still has a conscience when it comes to people, and manages to unearth a witness in the shape of Sudanese refugee Salwa (Malek), a maid in the hotel. Noredin is desperate to solve the case, even if it means disobeying his uncle and confronting the prime suspect, property developer Shafiq (Selim), who is also a member of parliament and friend of the president. It turns out that Lalena worked as a singer/call girl for Nagy, an enigmatic Moroccan. When Naredin meets and sleeps with Gina (Amar) who also works for Nagy, and sends the incriminating photos of her clients to state security, Noredin sets up a stream of violent events which culminate with the initial demonstrations that would eventually go on to topple president Mubarak.

Fares’ Noredin is the archetypal noir hero who has given up on life after losing his wife in a car crash. Somehow, the death of another innocent woman (Lalena) reminds him of his duties as a policeman and unleashes memories of his love. He starts a one-man crusade against a system which has degenerated into an evil empire. Saleh shows the exploitation and mistreatment of foreigners like Salwa, whose lives don’t count for much in the local scheme of things. Whilst the upper classes live in Switzerland, ordinary people often lack the basics. Egyptian society is on the brink of revolt, with police and security forces shooting down unarmed demonstrators without a by your leave. This is not a new story, but one that’s well told: the atmosphere alone keeps you in its thrall. AS


Copyright © 2024 Filmuforia