Tag Archives: The Night of Counting The Years

The Youssef Chahine Podcast No. 35: An Egyptian Perspective on Al-Momia/ The Night of Counting The Years


We return to chat some more about Chadi Abdel Salam’s great and beautiful Al-Momia/ The Night of Counting The Years at a most propitious time, since the day after our chat the mummified bodies of the kings were moved, with great ceremony, and for the first time, from where they were taken to rest at the end of the film to a new museum designed especially for them in Cairo. Central Cairo was lit up for the event (pictures by Hussein).

The conversation ranges from Chadi Abdel Salam’s career to his work as a designer for Chahine to the significance of various events and images depicted in the film.  It’s a film widely considered one of the greatest in Egyptian history and many consider it the greatest film on Egyptian identity ever made. We discuss why this might be so. You can listen below:


Below is a wonderful episode of Cinematology with an excellent reading from Mohamed Abou Soliman of Al-Momia/ The Night of Counting the Years, which I am placing here because Hussein has kindly provided sub-titles so that non-Arab speakers may also have access to it.


Some of you may also be interested in this YouTube channel dedicated to Chadi Abdul Salam, including some of his other short films with English sub-titles:

Readers may also be interested in this review of Youssef Rakha´s TheMummy, an extended analysis of the film here:

Lastly, here are a couple of more pictures by Hussein of Caro lit up for the ceremony of the moving of the Pharaohs. These are the preparations

and these are pictures of the event itself

The whole event is available to see here:

José Arroyo

The Youssef Chahine Podcast No. 33: Al-mummia/ The Night of Counting The Years (Shadi Abdel Salam, Egypt, 1969)

At the request of our listeners, we are expanding the podcast onto other instances of Egyptian cinema. We saw Shadi Abdel Salam’s Al-mummia/ The Night of Counting The Years in the wonderful version restored with the help of Martin Scorsese and the Cineteca di Bologna in 2009. It’s a truly great film: poetic, allegorical, about the past and the nation; people robbed, robbing others, robbing themselves, stealing their own past and rescuing it so that it might live in the present. But not without a cost: in one night a young man brings life to the past so it may have a future but in the process  loses his father, his brother, his tribe and his home; and that past he’s rescued is heading for the metropolis where he does not yet have a stake. He’s saved it for others of a larger tribe to which he also belongs. But he has himself lost it, at least momentarily. A very beautiful film that I’m sure will reward further viewing. Much of this podcast is a combination of appreciation and queries about what we don’t yet understand.

The New York Times Review we discuss in the podcast:

..and some other images from the film:

The date for the vilm is variously given as 1969 and 1970. Preponderance has led us to opt for 1969.