When Chadi Abdel Salam passed away in 1986, his 1969 debut remained his only completed feature. Considered by many to be the most important Egyptian film ever made, its reputation has even grown since its recent restoration. In the light of the many clashes between traditions and modernity, the film can be considered a superb analysis, as well as visionary.
Set in the late 19th century, it is based on the true story of the Abd el-Rasuls, an Upper-Egyptian clan who rob a cache of mummies and sell the artefacts on the black market. At the same time, in the mountains of Deir el-Bahari, Wannis succeeds his father as head of the Horabat tribe and discovers that his people have been living from looting tombs for centuries, the locations of which only they know. Determined to put an end to this destruction of the national cultural heritage, he turns to Westerners for help.