A fiction on the Egyptian Revolution

Cast film © AFP

In After the battle, Yousry Nasrallah sheds new light on the attack of the horse and camel guard in Tahrir Square, on 2 February 2011, in a fictionalised work.

It was the 9th day of the Egyptian Revolution, and the image was broadcast around the world: on horseback and on camels, the militia charged the crowd of anti-Mubarak demonstrators in Tahrir Square. Later that night, there was a massacre with sniper fire, but that event had a much smaller media impact than the cavalry attack earlier that day.


Yousry Nasrallah knew some of the camel and horse guards, men who lived in Nazlet El-Samman, whom he had filmed in On Boys, Girls and the Veil, and he refused to depict themas “the bad guys in the story”.

In After the battle, he pays tribute to them by showing how the government exploited their anger. Nazlet is a poor district at the foot of the Gizeh pyramids, where the residents make a living by taking tourists on camel rides. In an attempt to rehabilitate this zone, the government had a wall built to prevent the tourists from gaining access and to push them to leave the zone. With the revolution, the situation became even worse for the residents of Nazlet, as there were no more tourists, and they started to break down the wall. It was at this moment that people close to Mubarak promised them that work would pick up again if they helped to push out the demonstrators.

After the Battle is nevertheless a fictional account, with the leitmotif of a romantic encounter between one of the cavaliers and a young demonstrator. This duality of perspectives between the man (who is on the side of power) and the woman (who is on the side of freedom) was already present in The Women of Cairo  and Interieor/exterieor, one of ten short films in 18 Days, presented last year in a special screening.


We also find the trademark of the author of The Gate of the Sun, where collective history and individual destinies, politics and fiction, are interwoven with virtuosity.
B. de M.

The film is screened in the Grand Théâtre Lumière on Thursday, 17 May at 12:00 and 22:30.