Thursday, January 27, 2011

Under 250: Cairo Time

Cairo Time is a quiet old fashioned  romance built around impossibility and unstated taboo.  It's at once a gentle travelogue and a vessel for ideas, a picture postcard of the lighter side of Middle Eastern culture shock.  Patricia Clarkson stars as a  Juliette, the wife of a UN official who is idling around Egypt waiting for her husband to take the time to give a shit.  As a stand-in, her husband sends Tareq (Alexander Siddig), his former right hand man who plays willing tour guide to Juliette.  As desert days stretch on, Tareq and Juliette become comfortable around one another.  She processes things through him and he seems to see things differently through her.  The result is a little bit Casablanca, a little bit Before Sunrise;  a self-aware exercise in pacing that possesses an undeniable artistry even as it shoots for that soft spot in your mom's heart.  It's passively flirty and never sinks too deeply into the morally ambiguous mire.  In Cairo Time we have a dalliance that's just plain nice, that takes its time and lingers like a lovely little dream.

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