The Nile Hilton Incident
Panorama | Contemporary World Cinema
By setting his gripping neo-noir in a Cairo on the verge of revolution, Swedish director Tarik Saleh elevates a riveting tale of murder and corruption into a forceful political allegory. Divorced, cynical cop Noredin (Fares Fares, known to North America audiences via Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), nephew of the police commissioner, has his usual routine—collecting protection money—interrupted when he is called to the Nile Hilton. There he discovers the body of a beautiful singer, her throat slit. Content to go through the motions, he begins to half-heartedly investigate—and sees even the most casual of his inquiries stymied at every turn. As he digs deeper and discovers a picture linking the murdered woman to a member of parliament, he realizes that he is in over his head, and that his own life may be in danger… Saleh’s superb evocation of a Cairo at the end of its rope (actually Casablanca, as filming was shut down in Cairo by Egyptian authorities) has a paranoid, end-of-days feel that may bring to mind classic 1970s neo-noirs like The Parallax View, Three Days of the Condor or Chinatown.
"A searingly fatalistic, slow-burn thriller… 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… Perfumed with an enervated atmosphere of decrepitude and stale tobacco smoke, Saleh’s striking feature parts the curtains on an era in the final throes of decline before it’s overwhelmed by historic change. "—Justin Lowe, Hollywood Reporter
Grand Jury Prize: World Cinema Dramatic, Sundance 17