For Ruba Nadda, CAIRO TIME was another chance to explore what is universal in all women, no matter what their ethnic or cultural background. The unexpected, and unlooked for, romance between a married American tourist and the Cairo native who was her husband’s trusted employee, unfolds, as the title suggests, at a pace that is anything but western. Nadda is a prolific writer of fiction and maker of short films, though CAIRO TIME is only her second feature film, but one that returned to a theme of many of her works, the meeting of Islam and the west. It’s a theme with which she, a Candadian Moslem of Arab descent, is very familiar.
When I spoke to Nadda on April 29, 2010, she was bouyed by the reception the film had been getting at film festivals around the world, including the San Francisco International, which she was attending. She was also eager to discuss the criticism leveled at her for he way she depicted Cairo, calling on the work of Edward Said to make her point, as well as why she prefers to work on the edge.
CAIRO TIME is unexpected love story set in modern Cairo between two people who were not looking for romance when they were thrown together. They end up sharing their disappointments while one, Tariq, the Cairo native, shows the other, Juliette, wife of Tariq’s former employer, his city, and eventually, opens his heart to her and she to him. The film was written and directed by Ruba Nadda and co-stars Patricia Clarkson as Juliette, and Alexander Siddig as Tariq. Nadda’s previous film, SABAH, Cairo time won the best Canadian feature award at the 2009 Toronto Film Festival,