Shadi Abdel Salam’s entire screenplay for Al-mummia [The Mummy] (1969), also known as The Night of Counting the Years.
“Long pan of the Pennedjem Papyrus showing: the god Anubis; the two goddesses Isis and Nephtys; five wailing women; a mummy inside a shrine over a sledge before whom two priests offer a piece of meat and other offerings; and lastly the mummy, with the Jackal-headed Anubis standing behind it. Interior. Night. Corner, Cairo Museum, Summer 1881 A.D.”
Shadi Abdel Salam carried two cultures within him: he was born and raised in Alexandria, and his mother and maternal ancestors came from Al-Minieh. He travelled in two worlds: that of the cosmopolitan city of Alexandria and its rich Hellenic heritage, and that of Al-Minieh, the pearl of Upper Egypt, imbued with traditions and customs drawing their rigidity from distant pharaonic origins. Although he looked like a noble cavalier, with matching gentleman-like qualities, fluent in English, French and Italian, he always remained that austere son of Upper Egypt, linked to his ancestors who lie inside the tombs dug into the hills of Thebes by a very long history.
On 16 December 1969, The Mummy was shown for the first time to the audience of the Cairo Film Club, which included many intellectuals. In the dark, Shadi Abdel Salam waited for the reaction of his family and friends to this new work of art. All were moved by the film’s sober technique and by its theme, which was deeply touching for Egyptians: a sacred theme presented in a new form – the language of film – and accompanied by the sincerity that’s in harmony with this people.