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Set entirely in an 8m police truck, a number of detainees from different political and social backgrounds are brought together by their inevitable fate, during the turmoil that followed the ousting of former president Morsi from power.Written by
There has been much anticipation and controversy preceding the theatrical release in Egypt with several rumors that it will get censored on not released at all and a reporter on National TV called the director a "traitor" and an "anarchist who only focuses on the bad aspects of Egyptian society to capitalize on them." But although it's the most political film to be released in Egypt after the revolution ,in a market dominated mostly by comedies and Hollywood blockbusters, it comes off as mostly apolitical.
Clash is the second feature film for writer/director Mohamed Diab taking place in early July 2013 after president Mohamed Morsi was overthrown by the army and many people took off to the streets either to celebrate or protest. Starting in an empty police car of about eight meters square which soon gets filled with different people arrested in the protests ranging from an American/Egyptian reporter to revolutionaries and Muslim Brotherhood supporters to a group of young men who had nothing to do with it all except that they happened to be walking by.
Tensions arise and we start to see the sheep mentality of both the Muslim Brotherhood members who only talk to each other and refuse to stand next to the others and that of the policemen who refuse to giver the arrested water as they were not "ordered" to.
But the movie doesn't focus on their political affiliations and portrays them as only humans. We see the revolutionary nurse helping a wounded M.B member. They sing, they share their memories during the Arab Spring revolution. The short running time may not allow to dig deeper into the characters but I believe it focuses on living the experience by confining our POV inside the car during the whole movie making us feel as hopeless and suffocated as those trapped who aren't even allowed to pee and instead are shown how to do it in a bottle.
The dialogue sometimes seems a little childish and some things felt like they were thrown in just to increase the running time as the argument between Mans and his friend who found out that Mans is sending romantic messages to the his sister.
The clash scenes between the police and the protesters were masterful and showing them only through the car windows makes them seem even more colossal giving a real feeling of the chaos. The ending was cinematically beautiful with the green lasers all over the place. Although the ending may seem a little unsatisfying to some (including me at first), I think it's the perfect reflection of the current thinking in Egypt.
After The Revolution in 2011 during the Arab Spring, everyone, especially the youth, started thinking of his own utopia and were looking forward to a "New Egypt" only to see their dreams evaporate as they saw the same mistakes being repeated again, their political leaders betraying them, giving them only false promises and sweet talk. As I am writing this now, the economy is at its lowest with the rich/poor gap widening gradually, the budget for health and education dwindling, the political arena is filled with the same faces or new faces with the same mindset of the old regime. Censorship touches everything and there have even been talks to censor the Social media. so you can't really blame them for losing hope and abandoning their dreams and not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. For them there is only darkness-nothing else.
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