CANNES, France: For his latest film, Egyptian director Mohamed Diab is portraying his country’s recent turbulent history from a unique vantage point: the back of a van.
“Clash,” which opened at the 69th annual Cannes Film Festival on Thursday, is set entirely in a police riot van in 2013 when Egypt’s first freely elected president, Muslim Brotherhood member Mohammed Morsi, was overthrown by the military after a divisive year in power. The country later outlawed the group, branding it a terrorist organization.
“I always wanted to make a film about the revolution, but it was so hard because things were changing so fast,” Diab said. “My brother came up in 2013 with this idea of putting people inside a car and seeing everyone’s point of view, and I thought it was brilliant.”
Diab previously earned acclaim with “Cairo 678,” his directorial debut about sexual harassment in the city. He said filming in Cairo presents unique challenges.
“The hardest thing was how to shoot it in the streets of Cairo, where people can mistake you as a real protester and shoot you, so we created this flash mob thing,” Diab said. “Everyplace, we just flash mobbed it and started shooting until someone stopped us.”
Several recent films have portrayed the conflict in Egypt, including documentarian Jehane Noujaim’s “The Square” and filmmaker Ibrahim el-Batout’s “Winter of Discontent.