If you google, top ten Canadian Films of 2009, Cairo Time will be right there at the top of the list. As if that isn't enough, it went on to win best Canadian feature film award at last year's Toronto Film Festival. No small feet, but then the director Ruba Nadda is something of a veteran of Canadian cinema, having written and directed 17 feature films.
Cairo Time has much going for it. Beautiful, exotic locations and an excellent cast, with Patirica Clarkson at the helm. Clarkson (Lars and the Real Girl, The Station Agent) plays Juliette Grant, a magazine editor who comes to Cairo to rendzous with her husband, a UN peacekeeper, only to find him continually delayed by work. Tareq played by Alexander Siddig (Kingdom of Heaven), is a friend of Juliette's husband and is assigned to collect her from the airport in her husband's absence. The pair like each other and slowly develop a friendship, which towards the end of the film blossoms into love.
Patricia Clarkson is, as always, a joy to watch and the pairing of her and Alexander Siddig is charming and believable. The only disappointment was that Clarkson wasn't given the enough to do. The pen ultimate scene in the film, in which we think Clarkson may reveal (to her husband who has unexpectedly arrived in Cairo)that she loves Tareq is brilliant. In those few minutes of screen time Clarkson runs through a gambit of emotions creating a truly exquisite cinematic performance. But it's too brief. The film in general lacks drama and is the poorer for it.
Having said all that if you allow yourself to be swept up in the locations, stunning costumes and charming performances, this is a touching and entertaining way to spend a wet Sunday afternoon. Or indeed any afternoon. Just don't expect any drama.