After the Battle from Egypt C
Cannes Film Fest 2012—“Äfter the Battle,” one of the weaker entrants in main competition this year, shows that it may be too soon to come to terms cinematically with the Arab Spring of 2011.
Well-intentioned, but too didactic thematically and unrealized dramatically, this bold feature is made by Egypt’s vet director Yousry Nasrallah and scriptwriter Omar Schama, who present an intelligent but frustrating account of the tumultuous historical events and their impact on a group of citizens.
Set in the charged politics of Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the tale centers on a young middle-class woman activist, who gets involved with a lower-class anti-revolutionary male.
Too close to the historical events, the film lacks balance or detachment to make its story dramatically or even visually compelling.
While watching the story, you recall vividly the imagery shown onTV of mass demonstrators, who in February, 2011 were violently charged by horsemen—the events are now popularly known as “the Battle of the Camel.”
Rim (Meena Chalaby) goes with her friend Dina (Phaedra) to distribute fodder to hungry horses in the old village of Nazlet. The horsemen are so poor they can no longer afford to feed their animals.
While there, Rim meets the guileless rider Mahmoud (Bassem Samra) and after one secretive kiss, they seem romantically smitten. But their would-be affair is jeopardized by Rim’s discovery that he has a family and a wife named Fatma, who wants things to remain as normal as they were.
Mahmoud was pulled off his horse and beaten while attacking the demonstrators and beaten. A video of his humiliation is on You Tube, for which his sons are tormented in school.
Lacking a discernible POV on the political uprising and its aftermath on members of Egypt’s various social classes, the movie further suffers from a number of unappealing actors (playing unsympathetic characters), who make viewers’ entrance into the tale nearly impossible.
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