Written by Merna Abdelsalam
For over an hour and a half, director Mohamed Diab will lock you up with the rest of us in his police vehicle to take us on a thrilling yet heartwarming journey, where we shall discover the diverse nature of Egyptians at times of crisis, with 25 detainees.
With its beginning, the movie delivers a few lines on the major events leading up to the current situation from the collapse of Mubarak’s regime following the revolution of January in 2011, to the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood through the election of Morsy as president in 2012, and reaching the events leading to the toppling of Morsy’s regime by the army alongside the people in 2013. All the detainees happen to have participated in the 25th of January revolution. There is no build-up to a specific climax since the movie already begins on that level of turmoil.
In response to the negative reactions from a few regarding the fact that an Islamic speaker/influencer, Moez Masoud, is one of the producers of the movie, Mohamed Diab emphasized the importance of Moez Masoud’s involvement in the production of the movie not only on a financial level but also on a cinematic level, given Masoud’s vital input in the making of the movie.
Clash has also received production fundings and scholarships from France, Germany, and the United Arab Emirates. On his official Facebook page, Moez Masoud expressed his pleasure upon the selection of Clash, his first feature film as producer, as one of the 10 most outstanding movies in the Cannes festival of 2016.
In an interview with Amr El Leithy on Al Hayah channel, Mohamed Diab explained how the paddy wagon and its characters are a representation of the Egyptian society with its various political ideologies and societal classes. He added that in order to display the diversity of the Egyptian society, the characters are designed to reflect the different backgrounds, religions, and ideologies from all over the political spectrum, ranging from Muslim Brotherhood supporters to pro-army supporters.
Both Mohamed and Khaled Diab pointed out that the main issue presented throughout the movie is a rather humanitarian one, not simply a political one as expected by the majority. With the start of the movie, we see how each detainee is hostile towards the others. Throughout the course of the movie we get to witness the transformation in the behavior of the characters and the influence of the crisis they are going through on their attitudes. The Diabs believe that at times of chaos, crime and “hysteria”, people learn to cooperate temporarily to pass this time of hardship, even if they do not agree with each other.
Khaled Diab said that contrary to popular belief, the movie does not aim to criticize the current internal affairs in Egypt, but rather represent Egyptians as humans with varying beliefs and thinking. The main message the Diab brothers hope to deliver is that as humans, our thinking should not define us as good or evil, since matters such as good or evil are subjective. Additionally, he insisted that the movie was written 14 times so as not to personally reflect the brothers’ ideological views, and to properly show the status of the Egyptian society after almost four years of political instability.
Through his Facebook account, Mohamed Diab shared a quite inspiring letter he had received from renowned actor Tom Hanks, congratulating him and even thanking him for his “magnificent film” Clash. Hanks clarified how the humanitarian message the movie aims to deliver is a rather universal one, and that as Americans they believe that “we are all in ‘this’ together,” and that they “will all come to pray for Egypt” whichever way they can. Likewise, Hanks’ official page on Facebook had shared the Cannes film review of Clash, encouraging his fans to watch the movie as it “will break your heart and enlighten all.”
At the end of the day, all we can say is that we are more than proud to witness the success of an Egyptian movie of such high quality. A movie that aims to reflect, with as much transparency as possible, the nature of good that will forever be a trait of the Egyptian people with all their differences even at the darkest of times.
What do you think?
So have you watched the movie yet? If yes, were you impressed or disappointed? Let me know in the comments below!