The City of the Dead

Sergio Tréfaut
Egypt, Portugal, Spain 2009 | 62 Min. | DigiBeta

In the vast El Arafa ceme­tery in Cairo, a city has arisen among the tombs and mau­soleums. This “city of the dead” has a living pop­u­la­tion of one mil­lion. There are many funer­als each day, while life goes on all around: a young shep­herd drives his cattle through the small streets, a market woman tries to sell plas­tic laun­dry bas­kets, and chil­dren play among the tomb­stones, flying their kites. No respect for the dead, then. There is, how­ev­er, an all per­va­sive sense of real­ism: in this necrop­o­lis, the living and the dead are bound togeth­er into a pact of peace. Direct­ed by Sérgio Tré­faut, THE CITY OF THE DEAD presents us with var­i­ous aspects of this strange enclave. We see the serene and beau­ti­ful sand coloured graves as well as the tur­moil of a place where a pre­dom­i­nant­ly poor pop­u­la­tion strug­gles to survive.