Clash 15 (S)


Mohamed Diab confirms his status as Egypt’s foremost cultural commentator with Clash, a masterful depiction of a society torn apart by its differences. Egypt has long been the centre of the film industry in the Arab world, and following the heady 18 days in 2011, which saw a people-led revolution overthrow the decades long rule of Hosni Mubarak, there have been no shortage of films attempting to capture the epochal events. Most have already dated, framed as they are in the white heat of the moment. Diab’s film possesses a more long-term perspective.

Set in 2013, after mass protests saw the ruling Muslim Brotherhood thrown out of power by the army, Clash unfolds almost entirely within the claustrophobic confines of a police van as rival demonstrators find themselves caught in impossibly stifling heat. From this simple set-up, Diab weaves a striking story of scale, ambition and pure cinematic verve, pulling off a remarkable feat; a road movie about confinement. The film’s surprisingly strong performance at the Egyptian box office is testament to its power to move and enthral, leaving audiences breathless with a magnificent ending that artfully evokes the faultlines in the Arab world’s most populous nation.