with director Tamer El Said

September 14, 2018

On Friday evening, Tamer El Said joined the Writers Institute to discuss his directing process, editing struggles, and efforts to "capture the soul of the city" of his former home of Cairo, Egypt in his film IN THE LAST DAYS OF THE CITY after a screening down at Page Hall.

"Making a feature film is like being a farmer. You water your seeds and care for your plant as it grows everyday. Your work is based on your patience. When you make a documentary you are like a fisherman. You go to the sea and cast your net and you hope that the sea generous and will give you fish. If you don't trust the sea, it wont give you anything. Part of that work is to trust the sea. While making this film, I was trying to find the right balance between being a farmer and being a fisherman." 

Set in Cairo before and after the Arab Spring, this acclaimed film follows a fictional director making a movie about the city he loves and hates. As he struggles with the creative process, he talks with Arab friends from Baghdad, Beirut and Berlin about how their home cities nourish and frustrate them. The Village Voice called it “mesmerizingly beautiful,” and the Museum of Modern Art called it, “a powerful, multilayered meditation on togetherness, the tactile hold of cities, and the meaning of homeland.”


Tamer El Said is a leading documentary filmmaker, political activist, and key figure of Egypt’s independent film industry. This is his first fiction feature.