Synopsis by Mark Deming
Filmmaker Ibrahim El Batout presents a gritty portrait of life in one of Cairo's poorest neighborhoods in this neorealistic drama. Mariam (Mariam Abodouma) is a doctor from Egypt who divides her time between Baghdad, where she's studying the effects of uranium used during the 1990-1991 Gulf War, and her hometown of Cairo, where she treats cancer in children. One of Mariam's patients is Shams (Hanan Adel), an upbeat eleven-year-old girl who has been diagnosed with leukemia. One of Shams' dreams is to visit Cairo's downtown, which she imagines to be a gleaming modern city; however, her father Ramadan (Ramadan Khater) and mother Hanan (Hanan Youssef) lack the money and time to take her sightseeing, and her teacher Fatma (Samar Abdelwahab) tries to convince her to keep her ambitions realistic. In addition to paying for Shams' treatment, Hanan also looks after his nephew Amr (Ahmad Mostafa) and he struggles to make ends meet on his salary as a cab driver. In his spare time, Hanan works as a limo driver for a well-to-do business tycoon, Selim Bey (Boutros Boutros-Ghali), but what Hanan doesn't know is Selim is on the verge of bankruptcy, and is considering fleeing the country rather than confront his debtors. Selim's nephew Hani (Hani Metnawi) has thrown his hat into the political ring, and Hanan has offered to volunteer for the candidate, hoping he can do something to ease the poverty and suffering that have plagued Cairo's slums. Ein Shams (aka Eye Of The Sun) ran afoul of official censors in Egypt, who declined to approve the film's script and later prevented prints of the completed movie from being brought into the country.