Monday, April 5, 2010
Synopsis from the Hot Docs website:
Egypt’s history of kings, colonialism, and revolution still whisper through the abandoned mansions and opulent villas of Garden City, a once-exclusive neighbourhood that housed the ruling elites in Cairo. Gathering together a cast of charismatic characters—shopkeepers, servants living in roof-top rooms, the US ambassador, sophisticated Egyptians, and now-aging children of English diplomats—with gorgeous cinematography and rare excerpts from early Egyptian cinema, master documentarian Tahani Rached creates a fascinating human and architectural river that flows through a century of political upheaval. This once elegant area is increasingly encroached upon by ubiquitous highrise apartments and the prison-like architecture of the US and Canadian embassies. (An American “beautification project” translates into shrubs set in pots in front of cement security pylons.) Like all good art, Neighbors deftly avoids easy nostalgia and presents a complex past that is both an eloquent allegory and a serious critique of the present. - Lynne Fernie
The film's website is here.