The Night of Counting the Years

The Night of Counting the Years, also released in Arabic as The Mummy (Arabic: Al-Mummia المومياء) is a 1969 Egyptian film and the only feature film directed by Shadi Abdel Salam.[1] The film was selected as the Egyptian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 43rd Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee.[2]

The Night of Counting the Years
Directed byShadi Abdel Salam
Produced byRoberto Rossellini
Written byShadi Abdel Salam
StarringAhmed Marei
Ahmad Hegazi
Zouzou Hamdy El-Hakim
Nadia Lutfi
Music byMario Nascimbene
CinematographyAbdel Aziz Fahmy
Edited byKamal Abou-El-Ella
General Egyptian Cinema Organisation
Merchant Ivory Productions
Distributed byGeneral Egyptian Cinema Organisation
Merchant Ivory Productions
Release date
1969 (Egypt)
Running time
102 minutes
LanguageClassical Arabic


Set in 1881, a year before the start of British colonial rule, it is based on the true story of the Abd el-Rasuls, an Upper-Egyptian clan that had been robbing a cache of mummies they have discovered at tomb DB320 near the village of Kurna, and selling the artefacts on the black market. After a conflict within the clan, one of its members goes to the police, helping the Antiquities Service find the cache.


  • Ahmad Anan as Badawi
  • Shafik Nour El Din as Ayoub
  • Gaby Karraz as Maspero
  • Mohamed Khairi as Kamal
  • Mohamed Nabih as Murad


Critical reception for The Night of Counting the Years has been very positive, with Egyptian critics consistently list it as one of the greatest Egyptian films ever made.[3] Aaron Cutler from Slant Magazine called it "both a classic film and a classic Arab film".[4] Time Out London praised the film, calling it "Slow-moving but absorbing, and quite beautifully shot."[5]

The film was not without its detractors. Richard Eder of The New York Times was critical of the film, writing, "Most of the movie, is done with stupefying grandiloquence. Wherever the camera touches, it sticks and won't let go. Landscape, brooding close-ups—and how they all do brood—interminable patterns of black-robed figures against the white sand: Every shot lingers and lingers. The acting is heavy and hieratic, fogged with a pretentious mysticism."[6]

See also


  • Colla, Elliott (6 October 2000). Beyond Colonialism and Nationalism in the Maghrib: History, Culture, and Politics. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 109–146 ("Shadi Abd al-Salam's al-Mumiya: Ambivalence and the Egyptian Nation-State"). ISBN 978-0-312-22287-1.


  1. "The Night of Counting the Years". Retrieved 27 November 2011.
  2. Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
  3. Farid, Samir (15–21 March 2007). "The top 100". Al-Ahram Weekly. Boulaq: Al-Ahram (836). OCLC 179957756. Archived from the original on 22 March 2007. Retrieved 8 May 2008.
  4. Cutler, Aaron. "Abu Dhabi Film Festival 2010: The Mummy (a.k.a. The Night of Counting the Years)". Slant Aaron Cutler. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  5. "The Night of Counting the Years, directed by Shadi Abdelsalam". Time Time Out London. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  6. Eder, Richard. "Egypt's 'Night of Counting Years' - The New York Times". New York Richard Eder. Retrieved 12 December 2018.

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