Ajyal Film Festival 2023

All Films

You Will Die at Twenty (Satmoot Fel Eshreen)

Ajyal Competition, Special Screening

Amjad Abu Alala / Feature Narrative / Sudan, France, Egypt, Germany, Norway, Qatar / 2019 / 105 min / Colour / DCP
In Arabic / English subtitles
Interests: Coming of age, Adaptation, Youth, Women Issues


On the day of her firstborn’s naming ceremony, a mother seeks out a travelling holy man to bless her son Muzamel, but is instead told that the boy will die at the tender age of twenty. Unable to take the ramifications of the prophecy, his father leaves to work in neighbouring Ethiopia. Continuously reminded of his predestined fate growing up, young Muzamel is coddled almost to the point of suffocation by his overprotective mother. Until Suliman, a cinematographer opens a window onto a whole new world for Muzamel, and slowly, he comes to doubt the veracity of the prophecy.

A compelling debut feature from Sudanese director Amjad Abu Alala. ‘You Will Die at Twenty’ is an invitation to freedom. One in which Muzamel comes to realise that his destiny is completely within his own control. This sense of emancipation from mental shackles is truly inspiring and a joy to watch. The film is also a visual triumph, with Sudan tenderly captured as an almost fairytale land of golden sand, blue sky and the turquoise Nile. These deftly composed scenes of contrast and light give the film its fable-like appeal, and are hopefully prophetic of the bright future ahead for Sudanese filmmaking as a whole.

About the Directors

Amjad Abu Alala is a Sudanese filmmaker who was born and raised in the UAE. He studied media at United Arab Emirates University. As a producer and director, Abu Alala has made numerous short films that have been shown at film festivals, including ‘Tina’ (2009), ‘Coffee and Orange’ (2004), and ‘Feathers of the Birds’ (2005), which is considered to mark the return of cinema in Sudan. His ‘Studio’ (2012) was supervised during a workshop conducted by Abbas Kiarostami. In 2013, Abu Alala won the Best Arabic Theatre Script Award from the Arab Authority for ‘Apple Pies’. Currently, Abu Alala is Head of the Programming Committee of the Sudan Independent Film Festival.


Amjad Abu Alala
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Hossam Elouan, Arnaud Dommerc, Ingrid Lill Hogtun, Michael Henrichs
Heba Othman
Amjad Abu Alala, Mohammed Alomda, Linda Bolstad Stronen, Marie Fuglestein Laegreid, Mohamed Hefzy
Amine Bouhafa
Sébastien Goepfert
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