Enter Tareq (Siddig), an old friend of Mark’s who becomes Juliette’s companion and guide, introducing her to various Egyptian customs. The city’s grandeur comes alive as he leads her through the beguiling streets of Cairo. While they wander side by side, Juliette senses an alluring kindness and charm in Tareq, and he is equally taken with her. As she waits for word on her husband’s imminent arrival, the two struggle to control their obvious mutual attraction.
Directing her own screenplay, Ruba Nadda manages to avoid the stereotypical pitfalls such an undertaking could have easily delivered. And Clarkson so owns her role that it’s difficult to imagine another actor having taken it on. Like a sensuous vacation, Cairo Time’s sweet melancholia will linger long after the final credits roll.
Matthew Hays, Toronto International Film Festival Programme
Patricia Clarkson, Alexander Siddig, Elena Anaya, Tom McCamus