You Will Die at 20

You Will Die at Twenty

classified 12A S

Please note: This was screened in Nov 2021

Amjad Abu Alala
Mustafa Shehata, Islam Mubarak, Mahmoud Maysara Elsaraj
103 mins, Subtitled, 2019, Sudan France Egypt
Primary language

In this debut feature by Sudanese filmmaker Amjad Abu Alala, a young man is haunted by a prophecy that his life will end as soon as he turns 20.

Muzamil (Moatasem Rashid) is raised by his mother Sakina (Islam Mubarek) with a heavy weight over him: it has been predicted by a sheikh that he will die at 20. His father has fled to work abroad, with Muzamil an outcast as 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, including a Sudanese cinematographer who imparts his passion for cinema and existential ideas with the curious teenager, who begins to walk 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 highlighting 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.