City Paper is not for tourists
Meet Hatem (Khaled Saleh): He’s a short, angry, thin-mustachioed policeman who isn’t above a little torture to get what he wants—and that’s assuming that you haven’t actually done anything to personally piss him off. Like, say, reject his sexual advances, which is exactly what the girl next door does in Youssef Chahine’s and Khaled Youssef’s drama, with disastrous results. Opening with real-life footage of Egyptian cops beating down protesters and ending with a riot within a police station, the film is a reflection of the anti-police, pro-judiciary sentiments currently sweeping through Egypt. And, outside of a disclaimer that states the film is not a critique on the police system as a whole, the filmmakers don’t make much of an attempt to hide which side they’re on. Indeed, the film’s main protagonist is a public prosecutor (first seen setting a group of protesters free); the daughter of a National Democratic Party bigwig, meanwhile, only takes time off from her dope-smoking schedule to get an abortion.