Based on Sudanese writer Hammour Ziada’s short story, Sleeping at the Foot of the Mountain, You Will Die at Twenty follows the life of Muzamil (Mustafa Shehata) from birth until his 20th birthday. Muzamil’s religious Sufi village lies between the Blue and White Nile in Al Jazira state, Sudan, and at the boy’s baptism ceremony, a sheik prophesizes that Muzamil will meet an early death at the age of twenty. Beholden to the grim fate, his mother, Sakina (Islam Mubarak), becomes overprotective and forbids his education or travelling, and his despairing father, Alnoor (Talal Afifi), leaves home for many years. The villagers taunt Muzamil, referring to him as ‘son of death’, and he becomes increasingly isolated, with only the opportunity to study the Koran. The quality of his life changes when he meets Suliman (Mahmoud Elsaraj), a Sudanese cinematographer, who imparts his passion for cinema and existential ideas with the curious teenager. A conflict grows within Muzamil between his traditional values and newfound modern aspirations, which became the first ever Sudanese film to be submitted to the Academy Awards.
On Sunday 11 July at 3pm, Amjad Abu Alala will be joining the festival in a live online event exploring Sudanese cinema. Register on the SAFAR Film Festival website.