Radwan el-Kashef, a former assistant to Youssef Chahine, wrote and directed this Egyptian drama that begins with a man approaching an abandoned fort in a dusty region of southern Egypt. He's greeted by an elderly woman who tells the tale of the deserted village: A convoy of masked bikers arrived one day, promising lives of luxury, and the men in the community left. Young Ahmed stayed for a sexual relationship with his cousin Salma (Sherihan), and the unmarried couple had a child. Frustrated by their failures in the outside world, the villagers returned to find their traditional values out of touch with the new way of life in the community -- a symbolic parallel with mass Egyptian emigration during the '70s. The film's original title translates as "The Sweat of the Palm Trees." Shown in competition at the 1998 Locarno Film Festival.
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