I do not go often to the cinemas - or theatre. I approach both forms of art in a rather historical way; I prefer to watch old films as a getaway to an older period of time. And I tend to read theatre scripts in the same way.
However there are films that come to my attention from time to time that do break this dissatisfaction.
One of these films is The Nile Hilton Incident. At first it seemed odd - a contemporary film noir? Based in modern-day Cairo?
A film noir indeed, and a great window into the lives of ordinary - and less ordinary - people caught in the social and political upheavals of modern Egypt.
A seemingly random murder entangles a low-level policeman into a story that involves people in the highest levels of wealth and political power. The staggering corruption of the police force and public life in general make a wall against which that man tests his consciousness. Not uncorrupted himself, he nonetheless puts his life in danger trying to figure out what is going on and deliver justice.
Politicians, tycoons, immigrants, prostitutes, the secret service, ordinary political demonstrators and policemen all come across the screen, making a glaring portrayal of modern-day Egyptian society.
The plot is tight and very believable, an ingredient that, I believe, lacks in many contemporary films. You move step by step, together with the leading actor, along the development of the story, that ends in a dramatic way.
A film worth the awards it has reaped and many more too.