Cairo Time (2009)

This little gem of an indie film (written/directed by a 2nd gen Arab-Canadian woman, Ruba Nadda) reminded me of old Hollywood romances though it’s set in busy, modern-day Egypt.  If you like thoughtful, slow-paced, character-driven stories, you’ll enjoy it.  The cinematography and lighting alone will WOW you!       

Juliette Grant (Patricia Clarkson), an American magazine editor from NYC, travels to Cairo for the first time, expecting to spend some time w/ her hubby, who runs a UNHCR camp in Gaza.  At the airport, she’s greeted by the former head of her hubby’s protection detail, Tareq Khalifa (Alexander Siddig).  Now retired from his job, Tareq runs a tea shop/spends time w/ pals.  After a few days of jet lag and hanging around the hotel, Juliette decides to venture out and experience the city.  Tareq will be her guide on this journey. 

Juliette, w/ her serene and observant ways, seeks to adapt herself to the ways of Cairo.  (She’s not content to sit about complianing w/ the typical diplomat wives.)  With the gentlemanly Tareq, Juliette sees and begins to understand the real city, full of beauty, history, and contradictions.  They learn about each other, too.

Yes, that is Dr. Bashir from Star Trek: Deep Space 9.  (Sid impressed the producers SO much that had he been a bit older, he would’ve been cast as the captain!)  It is SO refreshing to see a Muslim-background character portrayed as a sweet, thoughtful, and all-around normal guy.  Check out Syriana if you haven’t seen it yet, b/c he has a meaty role there.      

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