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You Will Die at Twenty 2019

You Will Die at Twenty | You Will Die at 20 | Tu mourras à 20 ans

You Will Die at Twenty-You Will Die at 20-Tu mourras a 20 ans

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To the victims of the Sudanese Revolution...

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About the You Will Die at Twenty 💬

  • Based on "Sleeping on the Mountain's feet" by Hammour Ziada.

Sudan, province of Aljazira, nowadays - Shortly after Muzamil was born, a prophecy by the holy man of the village predicts that he will die at age 20. Muzamil's father cannot stand the curse and leaves home. Sakina raises her son as a single mother, with overly protection. One day, Muzamil turns 19...

To the memory of Bashar Ibrahim...


Q: Where does the subject of YOU WILL DIE AT TWENTY come from?

Amjad Abu Alala: Originally, there is a short story by a very known Sudanese writer and activist, Hammour Ziada. He lives in Egypt because he was banned from Sudan for ten years... I read his story in 2016 and immediately I knew it will inspire my first feature. This story connected me deeply with my own childhood: I am quite a joyful guy, I love life, I talk too much, I drink, I love to partying, etc. But there is always something about death in my mind. When I was a kid in Sudan, I lost my best friend, then three months later one of my aunts. Those two deaths struck me. I became a very quiet kid, stop talking for weeks, then talked again, but very few till I went to university and discovered theatre and cinema. Then I talked again a lot - and never stop since!

Q: Would you say that this story is a fable about what prevents people to really live their life?

Amjad Abu Alala: The film addresses how much a strong belief can really affect people's lives, and the way it sometimes has been used politically. The Sudanese government of Omar el-Beshir used Islam to shut everyone's mouth - when you say "God says", nobody talks anymore.

My film is an invitation to freedom. Nothing and no one can ever tell you: this is your destiny, it is written somewhere. You have to decide what will be your life. That is what Suleiman tries to teach Muzamil.

Q: Suleiman says you have to experience sin to pick the right way...

Amjad Abu Alala: Why saying "sorry" before making the mistake? Go make the mistake and then be sorry. Suleiman wants Muzamil to live his life: a life full of good and bad, where nobody tells you what is the right way. You have to experience life to know who you are.

Q: Last spring, Sudan finally got rid of Omar el-Beshir, who ran the country since the 1989 coup. Is the film a message to Sudanese people, a call for freedom?

Amjad Abu Alala: Is Muzamil final running is a metaphor of what the Sudanese people are doing right now! Even if, eventually, we still have to deal with the army. I wrote the film before the revolution, but freedom was always my subject. We started shooting mid-December, on the same day when the first spark of revolution started in the very north of Sudan, in Atbara. Everyone on the set was so excited. Even the foreigners, and especially the French people, were passionate. The smell of freedom was all over our set.

In April, I left post-production in Cairo to get back to Sudan to be part of the events. I spent two months there. I was in Khartoum on April 6, when I began the giant sit-in, brutally ended by the military forces a few weeks later. Most of my crew were there and they got beaten very badly and I even lost a friend among the victims.

Of course, all of this affected the film. One example: the first time Muzamil goes to Suleiman's house, he listens to a song. I had thought of playing this French song by Charles Aznavour, La Bohême. But then I changed and put a song by Muhammad Wardi, which was the anthem of the revolution of 1983 and which you could hear everywhere in Khartoum this April. Wardi was a communist singer very well known in Africa, who got banished from Sudan. The words go something like "We are all inspired by revolution... and we will get what we deserve."


Sudan became independent in 1956, after having spent more than half a century under Anglo Egyptian rule. For thirty years, the country has been ruled by Omar el-Beshir, brought to power by a coup in 1989. He appointed himself the leader of the Revolutionary Command Council for National Salvation, turning Sudan into a dictatorship. By 1991, he applied the Islamic law, accelerating the opposition between the Muslim North of the country, and the Christian and animist South.

In 2009, he was vainly charged by the International Criminal Court of crimes against humanity and genocide because of his participation in the Darfur civil war.

Last December, a huge wave of protest began in the North of the country, because of the rise in bread prices, and a general impoverishment, since the independence in 2011 of South-Sudan, an oil-rich region.

The government violently fought the demonstrators throughout the country, injuring or killing tens of Sudanese citizens.

On April 11, Omar el-Beshir is overthrown by a military coup. Demonstrations went on, asking the army to give back the power to civilians.

On June 3, soldiers brutally get rid of a peaceful demonstrators camp set in front of the army headquarters in Khartoum: they left more than a hundred dead, a thousand injured, some rapes.

At the beginning of July, an agreement is found: a transition regime will last at least three years, civilians and soldiers sharing the power.

You Will Die at Twenty Movie Details 🎥

Directed by

Amjad Abu Alala

Writing Credits

Amjad Abu Alala

Yousef Ibrahim


Mustafa Shehata

Moatasem Rashed

Islam Mubarak

Mahmoud Alsarraj

Bonna Khalid

Asjad Mohamed

Talal Afifi

Amal Mustafa

Mazin Ahmed

Hassan Ali

Mohamed Khalil

Music by

Amin Bouhafa

Cinematography by

Sébastien Goepfert

Genre: Drama

Countries: Sudan, France, Egypt, Germany, Norway, Qatar

You Will Die at Twenty Official Trailer

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