Cairo Time opened in limited release in the United States on Friday, and the reviews have been rolling in. Here are some excerpts:
[Patricia Clarkson] and Mr. Siddig, tall and courtly with a gently ironical glint in his eyes, are a fine match — both subtle, refined actors playing characters who proceed cautiously through life, carrying their disappointments lightly.
Thankfully, Nadda lets much of the insight and understanding come from watching Clarkson and Siddig watch each other. Ultimately the film rises on the heat of Juliette and Tareq, made irresistible by Clarkson and Siddig, and making “Cairo Time” well worth the trip.
Siddig in particular, is a perfect fit for the material (the role was written specifically for him) and his warm, tender-hearted exuberance is an exact match for the type of story Nadda is telling, harkening back to David Lean, both in terms of quietly dignified romantic sweep and her lavish flair as a visual stylist. Remarkably, given the low budget and the twenty-five day shooting schedule, there is no sense of the guerilla filmmaker at work here; the widescreen artistry is as stately and immaculately framed as the best of Merchant-Ivory. Within that widescreen frame, the details ring true and authentic. Nadda brings her considerable skills as a short storyteller to bear, deploying and marshalling sights, sounds and smells with an exacting vividness impossible to resist; her evocation of the heady balm of exotic summer is one you actually feel the sun’s heat behind.