Curfew is a short film directed by Sherif El Bendary as part of ‘18 Days’, a feature film consisting of 10 short films, a collaboration of ten reputable directors, who along with all the actors worked pro bono. 18 Days narrates the revolution from different angles and perceptions with all stories taking place in the 18 Days of the revolution in 2011. “Hazr Tagawol” or Curfew is one these exceptional shorts screened at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival where Sherif El Bendary was present telling us the whereabouts of his film.
Curfew tells the story of a grandfather who rushed his grandson to the hospital and found himself unintentionally breaking the military imposed curfew during the 18 days. Throughout the film the man desperately tries to reach his home but finds himself deeper and deeper entangled into breaking the curfew and more and more estranged in his own city. His grandson’s only wish to have a photo next to the army tank takes us through the whole ride. You have two completely different generations trapped in this situation that is imposed on them yet with different approaches and reactions. You can clearly see and feel the tension of the unknown during the people they encounter on their unwanted journey. From the tension towards the shady looking men of the neighborhood watch, to the nagging mother on the phone over to the grandson’s need to take an urgent leak, we can feel the growing stress. “I didn’t want to make a film about the revolution itself, my plot was about an intimate relationship between a grandfather and his grandson in the time of the revolution”, Sherif says, “It’s the fastest film I ever made. It took me only two weeks to be done”.
Sherif El Bendary is quite a talent. When we met him back in 2009 we were sure that this young man has something to show. With acclaimed and award winning shorts starring Hend Sabry (Sabah El Fol) and Basem Samra (Saaet EL Assary), Curfew is a worthy addition to his show reel. Sherif’s new documentary ‘The Road to Downtown’ will soon be released. It’s a new camera intake on the streets of Downtown Cairo. The filmmaker is also in the phase of adding his final touches to his next big thing, which is a feature film with a very unique plot that has been growing in his brainwaves for six years!
18 Days has been screened at the Cannes Film Festival, Abu Dhabi Film Festival and in many Festivals around the world. For obscure bureaucracy and outdated regulations 18 Days is facing problems being officially screened in Egypt we were told by Youssri Nasrallah during a press conference in Abu Dhabi, yet it has been later informally announced that the film shall be released commercially in Egypt soon.