The Nile Hilton Incident
Cairo 2011. The boiling point. 30 million residents are waiting… Waiting for something to happen.
Noredin (Fares Fares) is the everyday corrupt police detective who makes his buck accepting bribes from street vendors and landlords. By routine, he extorts money from the local criminals. Under the influence of drugs and alcohol, he can still function in a system that is on the brink of collapse. One night he is assigned a murder investigation. A singer is found dead at the Nile Hilton. What initially seems to be a “crime of passion” turns into something that concerns the very power elite of Egypt.
I knew that when I wrote “The Nile Hilton Incident” I was asking for trouble. It’s a little bit like dating a serial killer. But I could have never, in my wildest imagination have known how crazy this production would turn out. I am very glad that no one died. The fiction of “The Nile Hilton Incident” was constantly crashing into reality. At times it scared me, but to be honest, this is why I do this - to make my dreams come true. To me the film is about a city that I love. It’s about the past and the future colliding - and the people that get’s crushed in the process.
2017 Sundance Film Festival. Grand Jury Prize: World Cinema Dramatic
Twice in a row the first film I’ve seen at Sundance is so brilliant, so accomplished that I start Sundance on a mountain high — and it’s not the thin air.
"The French Connection, Heat and Jean-Pierre Melville are all there in the mix"
[The film] …like Andrej Zvyagintsev’s Leviathan, charts one man’s deluded attempt to do the right thing in a world where money and power are the only moral arbiters.
Like the finest noir, what springs forth from Saleh’s film is the dreary belief that the bad sleep well while the rest are left to suffer in the streets.
Pierre Aim’s prowling camera unpeels the city’s layers of physical and moral decay in muted, contrasting tones that intermittently highlight sudden, bloody bursts of violence...
The Nile Hilton Incident represents the type of penetrating filmmaking that only a writer-director intimately familiar with Egyptian culture but possessing an outsider’s perspective could convincingly accomplish.
The extraordinary cast, Arab and Sudanese, inhabit their roles like a second skin; you constantly remind yourself they’re acting. Not a false or contrived note in 106 minutes.
The Nile Hilton Incident darkly unfolds like the very best of Graham Greene — did I mention Carol Reed’s The Third Man is my all-time favorite film? — but goes Greene one better.