You Will Die at Twenty (2019)

Days after his birth, Muzamil’s mother, Sakina (Islam Mubarak), takes the boy to a blessing ceremony where it is prophesied that Muzamil will pass away upon turning 20. With his future written off, Muzamil is kept out of school and as a child becomes a pariah in his local community, cruelly mocked by other kids as “the son of death.” His father, Alnoor (Talal Afifi), leaves the village to find employment abroad.

Muzamil begins studying the Quran and takes a job delivering groceries, which brings him into contact with Sulaiman (Mahmoud Elsaraj), a well travelled elderly man who has recently returned to the village. Sulaiman’s travels have broadened his horizons, making him the one person in the village who possesses an outright disbelief of Muzamil’s predetermined fate.

There’s something of the Cinema Paradiso in the relationship that subsequently develops between Muzamil and Sulaiman. The old man has brought back with him a projector and reels of film containing old movies and footage of Sudan in more prosperous times. The movies open Muzamil’s eyes to a world beyond the boundaries of his village, where anything seems possible, and his loins are stirred by the sight of actress Hind Rostom, Egypt’s answer to Rita Hayworth.

Erich Hillis, The Movie Waffler

  • Language: Arabic
  • Subtitles: English
  • Distribution: Pyramide International
  • Cinematography: Sébastien Goepfert
  • Editing: Heba Othman
  • Music: Amine Bouhafa
  • Sound: Rana Eid
  • Production design: Rasha Fares