Production info

The Night of Counting the Years
Egypt, 1969

Zouzou El Hakim, Ahmad Hegazi, Nadia Lufty, Ahmed Marei
Directed by Shadi Abdel Salam (شادي عبدالسلام)


In 1881 at Deir el-Bahari near Thebes, Wanis, the son of a tribal sheikh, inherits the secret of a previously undiscovered pharaonic tomb with royal mummies from his father. While the family is plotting the illegal robbery of the tomb without any notion of its historical, cultural or national value, the sensitive Wanis gets more and more alienated from his environment. Finally he reveals the secret to the antiquities authorities, headed by French egyptologist Gaston Mapero.

English title: "The Night of Counting the Years". Notably the only full-length feature film by acclaimed director Shadi Abdel Salam (1930-1986). The film was met with so little recognition from the Egyptian Film Organization that the official premiere did not take place before 1975, even though in 1970 it was awarded prizes both in Venice and Carthago. Before al-Mummia, Abdel Salam had already worked as costume designer, set designer and art-director on Cleopatra by Joseph Mankiewicz (1963) and Saladin by Youssef Chahine (1963). He died without having found a producer for his second major project about ancient Egypt, the history of pharaoh Akhnaton.

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