Study Guide: Al Mummia


This film was made in 1969, during the heyday of Egyptian film. This particular film won several awards. Known as "Al Mummia" in Arabic, it is also known as Night of Counting the Years. The film takes place in 1881, when the cache of royal mummies was discovered in the Valley of the Kings. Thus the film is a fictional exploration of a real historical event. Some of the characters are real historical figures (like Maspero, the antiquities figure.)

Important names, terms, and concepts


artifacts, archaeology, and looting

the royal mummy cache from antiquity (see also days on the Book of the Dead, NK funerary practices, and Valley of the Kings)

identity and cultural heritage


Discussion Questions

Who "owns" the mummies and artifacts? Whose cultural heritage are they?


How do the characters, the village, the tribe, and Egypt as a whole define their identities? What role do the mummies and artifacts play in this identity?


How do the characters regard and deal with Egypt's status as a European colony? (European and Egyptian characters?) What role do the sites and artifacts have in this colonial negotiation?



How does the discovery affect familial relationships and friendships?



How do the lighting, music, and camera effects contribute to the aesthetics and message of the film?



Compare the representations of archaeology, Europeans, and 19th century Egyptians in this film to the representations we've seen in other vehicles of popular culture (Crocodile on the Sandbank, Stargate, The Mummy, Dr. Zahi Hawass's self-representation, etc.?)





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