Al-irhab wal kabab (1992) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • A family man frustrated by the bureaucracies of the Egyptian public system as well as difficulties of life finds himself inadvertently accused of terrorism and decides to maintain this role holding down hostages in one of Egypt's most congested public service buildings. As some sympathise and join his cause, an antagonistic interior minister aims to defuse the situation.



The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • A man named Ahmed tries unsuccessfully for days to go the the government building to complete the necessary paperwork to transfer his children to another school. Repeatedly he is unable to see the employee he needs to meet with. He is told the employee is on vacation on one occasion. Another time he is told the employe is in the toilet. A shoe shine man he meets in the hall tells him this particular employee likes to go to the toilet in fancier places so Ahmed, in humorous scenes, leaves the government building to go find this employee. He has to return to the government building to try to find this man again so often his boss becomes unhappy with him. One day he causes a disturbance in the office and building guards are called to deal with him. In a scuffle that follows Ahmed obtains the weapons of the guards and accidentally takes hostages in the government building. All the other floors of the building evacuate, the army and Minister of the Interior are called; the government treats Ahmed as a terrorist. Ahmed and the hostages demand kebab from the government for lunch. Ahmed has really no official demands, but justice. He wants to be treated as a human. After explaining this to the hostages, the hostages decide to like Ahmed. He helps some of them get things they need; he tells the police he demands medication for one of the hostages. In the end, they all walked out of the building together so the government did not know who was the terrorist. No one dies in this film.

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