Some humans and monkeys say movies are just ‘pure entertainment’, which is partially true. But if you watch movies just out of entertainment, you’re missing the beauty of film. The core importance of movies – just like any form of art – does not lie in the shot’s beauty, but in the meaning and purpose behind the movie. This is what differentiates a good movie from a great movie. A good movie might have mind-blowing shots, a million-dollar budget, flying cars and dangerous eye-catching stunts, and can still be completely purposeless. On the other hand, a great movie could have shots that are carefully composed to tell a story visually, AND might have a super-tight budget, AND makes us reflect on it, AND try to think and live with our characters, AND keeps us on the edge of our seats.
For that reason, today I’m going to talk about a movie that made me reflect on it, that made me think and live with our characters and that kept me on the edge of my seat: Eshtebak (Clash) by the amazing director Mohamed Diab and co-written with his brother, Khaled Diab.
The Diab Brothers tried to stuff in all kinds of people in the Society inside an 8m police car and shot the whole film in there. The Result: A perfect portrayal of the Egyptian Society at the time. Considering this I will bring you a few positive and negative examples of our Society along with an explanation.
In the movie, Nelly Karim, who was playing the role of an Egyptian wife, mother of a child and nurse, was healing a police officer, she discovered through the cross drawn on his hand that he’s Christian. She said:”Hide that [the cross] with your shirt so that no one sees it”. Following her orders the man hid the cross shamefully. This scene could be viewed as a normal scene. It lasted 1 minute or so anyways, but the message and flaw in our society it shows is so strong that it cannot be ignored.
Football – the magical sport
You might not be a football fan, but you cannot ignore how it makes everyone engage together. Because football is the magic that makes every last Egyptian come together to cheer on their football team/the national football team, The Diab Brothers used this to their advantage and brought the topic up during one of the peak moments where everyone in the car was disagreeing. Suddenly, everyone’s opponents became friends for a moment because they were fans of the same team! This is why football is magic in Egypt – it brings people together! When they agreed together, it became all laughs together in a moment. What a genius scene.
Women In Society
Throughout the movie, Nelly Karim, the wife and nurse, was always the leader. In every single hard situation where every man – including her husband – were afraid to take action, she left them and did the job while they were afraid and just kept watching or just followed her. One of the most important situations are when everyone was afraid to go down and talk to the officer about bringing water because they feared he will attack them, Nelly Karim just got off the vehicle and rebelled against the officers. She kept shouting in his face fearlessly, but everyone just kept staring at her doing nothing. After this they obeyed her orders and got water. She could’ve just drank the water herself, but to prove she is a mother at the end of the day, she gave the bottle to her son and the bottle kept passing around. Behind this scene and the rest is a very important message: No matter how much you want to discriminate woman, you can never ignore how powerful and effective she is in the society.
Egyptians simply like helping each other
The Diab Brothers wanted to convey the message that Egyptians – whether you’re opponents or disagreeing – help each other in the end of the day. For example, when Nelly Karim’s husband got injured, she needed something to tighten up his wound. In no time, the 14 year old hijabi girl instantly took off her hijab, one of the most precious and important things for her so that she could use it to heal her husband, although she was not on her side.
Still why is this a ‘great’ movie? It shows us flaws and virtues in our society in a way that has never been done before. It inspires everyone to reflect on it and teaches everyone that being on the same page and respecting other people’s beliefs and opinions even if you think it’s the dumbest thing ever and that break in society always leads to problems and even more problems – maybe even death. Apart from that, it makes you think: “So here are the problems, maybe I’ve been doing it all wrong the whole time!” or “How can I contribute to this? Maybe I’ve been part of this huge problem?”.
This film has a huge message behind it that cannot be ignored, and really shows art in its purest form. Art is supposed to have meaning, and this movie surely has one while managing to be ‘pure entertainment’ at its best.