I was in a confusion today morning- to watch Neruda or Clash. It was to be the last movie that I was watching in IFFK 2016 and wanted it to be a memorable one. Finally I circled on Clash, an Egyptian movie set during the clash between army and Muslim Brotherhood in 2013. And the gamble payed off, in-fact I hit a jackpot. Clash turned out to be an explosive movie that is capable to provide good exercise for your brain and your soul.
The whole movie happens inside a police van. Army rounds up and fill whoever it thinks can cause trouble into vans. In a van thus you find a cross section of Egyptian society. Our van contain journalists, Muslim Brotherhood activists, pro-army protesters and apolitical onlookers. The claustrophobic atmosphere become highly electric and we witness a human drama about companionship, cooperation and survival.
The movie has a political background and has characters with clear political affiliations, but strangely manages to stay apolitical concentrating on studying human behaviour in adverse situations. The characters are clearly etched, colourful and three dimensional people who has their feet solidly placed in the real world.
The movie marches forward in a breakneck pace, even with several instances of humor and irony underlining the humanity of the people forced to stay together in spite of their mistrust and hatred to each other. The scenes of riot and mayhem seen through the windows of the van was so original that one person near me suspected that it was shot during the real protest. A director who watched the movie with me was wondering how it was made while coming out of the show.
I don't know how, but I'm sure it was made with huge conviction and devotion on the power of humanity to survive hard times by keeping itself together.