Juliette comes to Cairo- the “Middle East” – for the first time to meet up with her husband who is a UN official. But he’s been detained at the camps so she’s met by an old friend of his, Tareq, now retired. As Juliette grows bored waiting for Mark, her husband, she spends more and more time with Tareq. She’s bored because she’s used to working 10-12 hours days, and really doesn’t know how to relax, how to look around her and really see her surroundings. She learns from Tareq how to slow her clock down, and begins to see the beauty of Cairo. Juliette is one of those women who are full of longing, but don’t realize it. There’s no time to be introspective, to understand the natural rhythms of her own life.
And what a stunning introduction to Cairo this film is, with the sunlight playing off the pyramids, the white desert blindingly beautiful, barren, yet sumptuousness. Writer/Director Ruba Nadda is Canadian but with an Arabic heritage. She returned to Cairo to make this film and it’s easy to see it’s a labor of love.
There are several references to time, everyday references: do you have the time? what time is it? Tareq slowly pulls Juliette into his rhythms, as they realize they are becoming quite fond of each other.
Patricia Clarkson (Juliette) and Alexander Siddig (Tareq)Tareq, pace the film perfectly, the audience is drawn into the rhythms of Cairo Time as well, content to be led along on this wonderful slow boat of a movie.