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Cairo Conspiracy – Watch the trailer for the new political thriller

Picturehouse Entertainment has announced the release of Tarik Saleh’s gripping political thriller Cairo Conspiracy, exclusively in cinemas nationwide on 14 April 2023.

Starring Fares Fares (The Nile Hilton Incident) and Tawfeek Barhom (The Way of the Wind) in compelling performances, CAIRO CONSIPRACY world premiered at last year’s Cannes Film Festival winning the Best Screenplay Award.  Previously titled “BOY FROM HEAVEN”, the film will now be released as CAIRO CONSPIRACY following being short-listed for the Academy Awards’ foreign language award with this title.

Adam (Tawfeek Barhom), the son of a fisherman, is offered the ultimate privilege to study at the Al-Azhar University in Cairo, the epicenter of power of Sunni Islam.  Shortly after his arrival in Cairo, the university’s highest-ranking religious leader, the Grand Imam, suddenly dies and Adam soon becomes a pawn in a ruthless power struggle between Egypt’s religious and political elites.

A blistering political thriller brimming with tension, CAIRO CONSPIRACY follows wide-eyed Adam as he becomes entangled in deadly game of cat and mouse with wily state security officer Colonel Ibrahim (Fares Fares).  Forced to infiltrate certain cliques in the religious seat of learning, Adam finds himself in increasingly dangerous situations, the threat of exposure ever imminent.

Stunning production design by Roger Rosenberg (The Worst Person in the World) and evocative cinematography by Pierre Aïm (La Haine) capture the hushed grandeur of the prayer halls, minarets and chambers of the religious institution and the intense chaos of the streets outside.

Unable to return to Egypt since being placed on a list of undesirables in 2015, Swedish-Egyptian writer/director Tarik Saleh shot CAIRO CONSPIRACY in Turkey, using the magnificent Süleymanye Mosque in Istanbul to represent Al-Azhar.  He says of his film “I have more freedom than Egyptian filmmakers to describe facets of this country, which is complex, which cannot be reduced, like all countries, to one truth.  This is a story about power and authority, not specifically about Islam, because Islam is basically like any other system. Whether it’s a political system or a religious system, it’s made up of laws that govern everything but which can also be easily changed and broken by those in power, in order to satisfy their own interests, or even to strengthen their power. This is something that interests me enormously, a theme that recurs in all my films, and which stems, no doubt, from my own problems with authority.”

Tarik Saleh started as one of the top graffiti artists in Stockholm in the 80’s.  He directed and wrote the screenplay for the box office hit The Nile Hilton Incident which won The Grand Jury Prize at Sundance 2017 and received a Guldbagge Award for Best Film in 2018.  He directed action thriller The Contractor (2022) starring Chris Pine, Ben Foster and Kiefer Sutherland, several episodes of the HBO series Westworld (2018), the Showtime series Ray Donovan and the thriller Tommy (2014) with Ola Rapace, Moa Gammel and singer-songwriter Lykke Li for whom he also directed the hit music video I Follow Rivers.  His film debut came with Metropia (2009), a dystopic animation with Stellan Skarsgård, Juliette Lewis, Vincent Gallo and Udo Kier, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival as the opening film for Critics’ Week. He also directed the documentaries Gitmo: The New Rules of War (2005) and Sacrificio: Who Betrayed Che Guevara (2001) together with Erik Gandini.  Tarik Saleh founded the production company Atmo with producer Kristina Åberg.

Swedish-Lebanese actor Fares Fares began his acting career in Sweden in 2000 in his brother director Josef Fares’ Jalla! Jalla! followed by films including Daniel Espinosa’s Easy Money and Safe House co-starring Denzel Washington, playing CIA officer Hakim in Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty and Senator Vaspar in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.  He appeared in Thomas Vinterberg’s The Commune and the Danish hit series of films The Department Q Trilogy.  Fares collaborated with Tarik Saleh for The Nile Hilton Incident in 2017 winning several Best Actor awards including the Guldbagge ‘Swedish Oscar’ Award and again with Tarik Saleh for The Contractor.  Fares has also appeared in the HBO blockbuster series’ Westworld and Chernobyl and the award-winning Swedish TV series Partisan.

Palestinian actor Tawfeek Barhom has most recently acted in Terrence Malick’s The Way of the Wind, Reed Morano’s The Rhythm Section, the Netflix series The Letter for the King and Channel 4’s BAFTA-nominated series Bagdad Central.  His credits also include The Hulu Originals series The Looming Tower, Gareth Davies’ Mary Magdalene and the lead role in Hany Abu-Assad’s The Idol.

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