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Hollywood stars praise 'enlightening' Egyptian film

Tom Hanks sent a letter to Mohamed Diab praising his film 'Clash' [Getty]

Date of publication: 26 July, 2016

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Renowned American actor Tom Hanks and British actor Daniel Craig have both praised Egyptian director Mohamed Diab for his critically acclaimed film 'Clash'.

Renowned American actor Tom Hanks has sent a letter to Egyptian director Mohamed Diab praising his critically acclaimed film Clash, which recently opened the 2016 Cannes Film Festival's Un Certain Regard section.

"Few Americans see Egypt as being anything more than terrorists and pyramids," Hanks wrote in a letter posted by Diab on Facebook on Monday.

"Your film Clash will go great lengths to enlighten many, Audiences will see that humanity is a fragile community, but we are all in 'this' together. And, we will all come to pray for Egypt, in any way we know how," he added.

"Thank you for your magnificent film and the crew and cast that are first rate examples of what they do."

According to Diab, British actor Daniel Craig - mostly known for his role as James Bond - also sent him a similar message.

Hanks' letter was circulated on social media, with many users congratulating Diab and inviting people to watch his film when it opens in Egyptian cinemas on Wednesday.

Translation: I will watch this film because of Tom Hanks' letter. You have got mail, guys!

'Just like doomsday'

The film is set in 2013, shortly after the Egyptian military took over power from Islamist President Mohamed Morsi following popular protests.

In the chaos, military police throw reporters, Morsi supporters, and those celebrating his toppling [who are technically on their side] into the back of a van, where the entire film takes place to claustrophobic effect.

Whether trying to avoid getting their only cellphone confiscated, sharing water or staying alive as bullets fly and mobs rage outside, the cross-section of Egyptian society has to work together to survive in a very enclosed space.

"I wanted to show everyone's point of view, not only mine," Diab told AFP during the Cannes Film Festival in May.

"So the car has like 25 people inside it, and every one of them represents a lot of people that I saw. Real people," he said.

"It's just like craziness, it's just like doomsday, the end of the world, and people see it through the eyes of people stuck inside a car who go through all that action and craziness and mayhem."

Five years after the revolution ousted Mubarak, Egypt is under a government cracking down on activists, bloggers, lawyers and journalists.

Hundreds of pro-Morsi supporters have been killed and thousands imprisoned.

"I remember... the people gathering on one goal and everyone was accepting the other," he said, describing the "utopia" of the first heady days of the 2011 revolution.

"Now after five years it's the opposite, every group hates the other group."

Diab, who took part in the revolution and then protested against Morsi, said his film gives no easy answers.

"No-one is good and no one is bad, we're all shades of grey."

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