You Will Die at Twenty

02 March 2022

Sudan/ France/Egypt/Germany


Director: Amjad Abu Alala

The debut film of Amjad Abu Alalah expands from a fable-like premise to create a culturally- specific, morally compelling story. Muzamil (Moatasem Rashid) is raised by his mother Sakina (Islam Mubarek) with a heavy weight over him. A sheikh has predicted that Muzamil will die at the age of twenty. Viewing Muzamil as an outcast, his father flees to work abroad whilst his wife protects and mourns the “son of death.” Set during Omar al-Bashir’s dictatorship, Muzamil’s outsider status brings him into contact with others whom society would sooner forget as he walks a line between religious absolution and shaking himself free from the curse. Full of immediately striking images and a visual intelligence in smaller moments, the film’s interiors are shot with an uncanny warmth and exteriors highlight the breadth of Sudan’s vistas. An assured debut, visually bold and morally nuanced, You Will Die at Twenty brings a humane reality to living under a religious dictatorship.

Venice Film Festival 2019 – Winner Lion of the Future Award