Clash – Film Review by Frank L.
Director: Mohamed Diab
Writers: Khaled Diab, Mohamed Diab
Stars: Nelly Karim, Hani Adel, El Sebaii Mohamed
This is set in Egypt in 2013, during the social and political turmoil of the period. President Morsi has been ousted by the army and the Muslim Brotherhood, whose man he was, is outraged. Protests break out and rioting takes place. Law and order breaks down and the army grapples with the ensuing chaos. In this mayhem a primitive police van, like an overgrown tin box with a door at one end, trundles through the streets. It stops. An American journalist and his Egyptian colleague have an altercation with an army officer in front of the van. They are unceremoniously pushed into the van. In short order a motley crew of humans are dumped into the van on what appears to be an arbitrary basis. In fact, they represent some of the various strands of the social, religious and political mix which make up Egyptian society. The incumbents of the van are a microcosm of the chaos which prevails outside.
There seems to be no one in charge of the van but the single door is kept firmly locked. It trundles on its way with unpredictable stops. The driver is never seen. To where it is going is not known. However in the stifling heat of the van, the fetid atmosphere can almost be smelt, altercations in full volume are a constant. In addition there is a cacophony of noise outside the van. But it is the constant strife within the van which is unnerving.
Diab, in this cinematically constrained space, gives an insight behind the individual frenzies which break out within the van. As a piece of film making it is out of the ordinary. Each incarcerated individual within the van has less power than he or she would dispense outside the van. Each is unnerved by their almost incomprehensible predicament within the locked van. It is an unsettling experience to observe their chaotic plight.