Only two weeks remain until the highly anticipated film Eshtebak (Clash) is released in Egyptian theatres. The film, which was first released at the Cannes Film Festival to an international audience, will be released in Egyptian theatres on 27 July.
Eshtebak tells the story of a group of people belonging to different social classes and sharing different ideologies, who find themselves together inside of a police van after being arrested at protests that hit Egypt’s streets during the 30 June Uprising.
The plot features clashes between the diverse group of people, made up of everyone from Muslim Brotherhood supporters to Brotherhood opponents, all while they are stuck in a small vehicle on one of the hottest days of the summer.
Among those who were randomly picked out of the protests and arrested are Adam, played by Hany Adel, a journalist who was covering the protest for his news agency, and Nagwa, played by Nelly Karim, a nurse who refused to let her husband and child be arrested without her.
Eshtebak was the opening film of the Cannes Un Certain Regard in May and received an impressive range of positive feedback from international outlets, newspapers, and magazines.
The film is written and directed by Mohammed Diab. Eshtebak is not the first of Diab’s work to receive positive feedback as it comes after Cairo 678, another masterpiece that tackles the issue of sexual harassment in Egypt.
In a previous interview with the Huffington Post, Diab described his film as a method of letting people see themselves through others’ eyes. “For the first time, you can pause and really analyse the world in a calm and fair way,” he said.
The film is highly anticipated by the Egyptian audience not only because it portrays a significant event in Egypt’s recent history, but also because it reflects the real-life incident, in which security forces shot teargas into a vehicle full of detainees.
The detainees were arrested during the forced dispersal of the pro-Brotherhood sit-in at Rabaa Al-Adaweya on 14 August 2013. After being detained for three days, they were transported to Abu Zaabal Prison. The prisoners complained of inadequate ventilation and allegedly began creating a disturbance, prompting police officers to fire a teargas canister inside the vehicle. Of the 45 prisoners, only eight survived.