Mixing archival footage from the Tahrir Square demonstrations with a fictitious account, After the Battle sees the renowned Egyptian director Yousry Nasrallah question what happens after the goal is achieved, when the realisation sets in that not everyone has the same vision of the future – and the revolution is used as a catalyst for malpractice as well as good.
“The revolution was basically against corruption, poverty and police brutality and the idea that President Hosni Mubarak would present himself and his son as candidates at the next elections. People gathered around the idea that we didn’t want Mubarak. Nobody wanted him, I think, including the army,” says Nasrallah.
Starting with footage of women being attacked in the square on International Women’s Day on March 11 last year, the story then sees a woman working in an advertising agency discovering that Egypt has not changed as much as she had hoped. She doesn’t get paid at work, her bosses complaining of a lack of funds caused by the change in power. The revolution is becoming an excuse for everything.
Nasrallah’s film features characters from all walks of life, from leftist middle-class intellectuals to working-class horsemen who attacked and tried to disperse the demonstrators in Tahrir Square under the orders of Mubarak.
Nasrallah says it was important that the film not be simply a documentary. “It’s only through fiction that you can go deeper. You cannot show desire in a documentary, like a crazy relationship between a middle-class woman and a man who is the exact opposite. It’s not about telling the story, it’s telling the emotion.”
After the Battle screens tomorrow, 9.30pm, at Emirates Palace and on Monday, 4pm, at Marina Mall’s Vox 5 Cinema