Director of a most original political thriller, Confidential Cairo (2017), Tarek Saleh is for the first time in competition at the Cannes Film Festival with Boy from Heaven. In Egypt, a young man finds himself embroiled in the politico-religious twists and turns at the heart of Egyptian power. A high-risk subject handled by a master’s hand.


The son of a very religious fisherman, Adam became a student at the prestigious Al-Azhar University in Cairo, a major reference in Sunni Islam. The grand imam of the institution dies the very day of his return to school, then he witnesses the assassination of his young right-hand man. Requisitioned by the security forces, Adam is forced to spy from the inside on the various religious factions seeking to take control of the political authorities in power.

Tarek Saleh had already dabbled in political thrillers in Confidential Cairo where the investigation into the assassination of a young singer went back to the close guard of President Mubarak. The director, also a screenwriter, moves his plot directly to the heart of politics. More of a spy film, his film abandons the police investigation to explore the power struggles in which is projected a candid who will impose his intelligence and his finesse of mind.


One of the main advantages of Boy from Heaven is to introduce us to a very secret elitist world through the eyes of a beotian, in the image of the spectator. The identification is immediate and we follow Adrien in this esoteric labyrinth that we discover at the same time as him. Two schools are in opposition, one progressive and the other fundamentalist. The mysteries of the thriller dramatize a political discourse against corrupt clerics who only seek political power by prevailing on moral arguments that they themselves do not respect. An old story, always renewed over the centuries.

Adrien finds himself projected into this milieu, of which he knows nothing, like a Hitchcockian hero involved in a matter beyond his control, and with which he has nothing to do. Yet it is he who will be the key and will solve the enigma at the risk of his life. Leaving his fishing boat in the foreground to return to it in the last, the circle is complete. This circular construction signifies his renunciation, after having become aware of the manipulative hypocrisy of religions on the people in order to submit them better. Uplifting.

The sheet

Gender : Thriller
Director: Tarek Saleh
Actors: Tawfeek Barhom, Fares Fares, Mohammad Bakri
Country : Sweden / France / Morocco / Finland
Duration : 2h00
Exit : November 8, 2022
Distributer : Memento Distribution

Summary: Adam, a simple son of a fisherman, integrates the prestigious Al-Azhar University in Cairo, epicenter of the power of Sunni Islam. On the first day of school, the Grand Imam at the head of the institution suddenly dies. Adam then finds himself, unwittingly, at the heart of a relentless power struggle between the country’s religious and political elites.


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