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In the Heliopolis Flat

A conservatively-raised music teacher's quest for her mentor in racy Cairo leads to a chain of ridiculous encounters in "In the Heliopolis Flat."

A conservatively-raised music teacher’s quest for her mentor in racy Cairo leads to a chain of ridiculous encounters in “In the Heliopolis Flat.” Though helmer Mohamed Khan is known as a voice of realism in Egyptian cinema, and his new pic is a grade above the tube-driven norms of most local product, it doesn’t hold muster with top international film standards, and grows more unintentionally funny as it tries to turn serious and topical. Strictly for Egyptian-philes, pic’s passport will get few stamps.

Joining her gal pals on their first trip from the traditional city of Minya to Cairo, Nagwa (Ghada Adel, in a truly off-putting lead perf) gets it in her head to search the giant metropolis for her beloved teacher, who was once unfairly canned for encouraging loose behavior by her students. Nagwa feels at fault and wants to apologize, but her foolish behavior — which includes missing her train, getting lost, ending up in a dicey hostel — becomes the pic’s spectacle, mitigated a bit by Nagwa finding a cute guy (Khaled Abulnaga) living in the teacher’s flat. Romance, of a sort, blooms.

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In the Heliopolis Flat

Egypt

  • Production: An Egyptian Media-City Production release (in Egypt) and production. Produced by Mahmoud El Leithy. Directed by Mohamed Khan. Screenplay, Wessam Soliman.
  • Crew: Camera (color), Nancy Abdelfattah; editor, Dina Farouk; music, Tamer Karawan; production designer, Mohamed Attia. Reviewed at Palm Springs Film Festival (Awards Buzz), Jan. 7, 2008. Original title: Fi Shaqat Masr Al-Gedida. Running time: 118 MIN.
  • With: <b>With:</b> Ghada Adel, Khaled Abulnaga, Marwa Hussein, Aida Riad, Youssef Dawoud, Ahmed Rateb.
  • Music By: