Rags & Tatters
Farsh W Ghata
His 2010 film Microphone foretold revolution; now Ahmad Abdalla explores post-revolutionary Egypt through the eyes of a fictional prisoner on the run.
The scenes in Egypt this past summer, dubbed a second revolution after incumbent President Mohamed Morsi was ousted through a combination of massive civilian protests and military intervention, have underscored again how volatile the situation remains in the Arab world’s most populous country. At the time of going to press hundreds of Egyptians had died in the ensuing outbreak of violence between different factions. Few Egyptian filmmakers have been as involved or associated with the revolutionary spirit in the country as director Ahmad Abdalla, whose 2010 Microphone presciently foresaw the anti-establishment fervour in Egypt with its depiction of the Alexandrian underground music scene. Abdalla returns with Rags & Tatters, a hauntingly beautiful tale that takes viewers back to those historic revolutionary days of early 2011. Abdalla eschews the iconic setting of Tahrir Square to tell, instead, the story of a prisoner, played by Asser Yassin, who escapes from jail only to find himself on the run in a country he no longer recognises. Instead we are transported to the twilight alleyways of an Egypt on the fringe and rarely seen on film. Deliberately contemplative in both mood and tone, Rags & Tatters is absent of the typical adrenaline associated with films about revolution. What emerges instead is a deeply affecting portrait of the true price of change.
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