SXSW ‘Trapped’ Review: A Claustrophobic Movie About Seven Women During A National Revolution

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Bhawani Singh
I am a blogger who believes in delivering latest tech news from around the world to my viewers.

Trapped or Hammam Sokhn, directed by Manal Khaled and written by Rasha Azab, tells the story of seven women against the backdrop of the 2011 Egyptian revolution who are trying to go about their lives, ensuring that their voices are heard, and also avoiding the police that’s rounding up any woman who’s walking on the streets. It tries to explore the definition of freedom and how even though governments might get overthrown, the fate of women in this society is probably going to remain the same.

At the time of writing this article, one of the largest protests in human history is going on regarding the regressive farming laws imposed by PM Narendra Modi’s government. Multiple farmers have passed away in the process while the Godi media/national media have called them anti-nationals, Khalistanis, terrorists, middle-men, and whatnot. In a move that gained international attention from Rihanna, the Indian government shut down the internet in the area where the protests are taking place in order to stifle their voices while also harming the daily lives of the locals. Yet, the protests are still going on. So, it was both triggering and weirdly assuring to know that although Egypt, which is where the movie Trapped takes place, and India are separated geographically, we all are basically going through the same motions on a national level.

Trapped is directed by Manal Khaled and written by Rasha Azab. The cinematography is by Tarek Hefny, Mahmoud Lotfi, and Kamal Samir, editing by Solafa Nour El-Din, production design by Mohamed El-Abd, art direction by Randa Ali, Aref, Bolbol, Omnia Khalil, and Adel Wassily, sound by Tamer el Demerdash, Mohamed Fawzi, Gasser Khorshid, and Ahmed Morsi and music by Ahmed El Sawy and Mostafa Wafi. It features Farah Yusuf, Simone, Mona Hala, Ossama Mohamed Attia, Mona Mokhtar, Farah Maged, Reem Hijab, Ragwa Hamed, Habiba Effat, Neama Mohsen, and more. The official synopsis for the movie states that it “revolves around a number of women from different walks of life whose destinies are tied together; being all under one siege. As the events unfold, their own personal stories reflect on a far bigger siege that depicts the shackles imposed by a patriarchal society.”

As mentioned before, it was weird to see how governments, no matter which country they are from, react in the same way when the people come out on the streets to fight for their rights, with the biggest common point being the treatment of women. In the 21st century, no country openly states that they hate women but their actions usually speak otherwise. So, you’ll see them being very feminist on paper, and the moment they see them in protests, they’ll treat them with the utmost disrespect while screaming that that’s equality. Yeah, that’s not equality, mate. That’s the same kind of discrimination that you have been peddling for the past couple of generations. But Trapped points out that all that isn’t enough to stop women from being resilient. They are going to persevere no matter how many times they are knocked down.

Despite being around 87-minutes long, Trapped is a slow burn. You need to be patient with this movie because it tends to make you sit with the characters during the quietest moments, allows you to observe them, and project your feelings onto them. I think the episode with the kid and the woman who’s trapped in the building is my favourite one. It’s bittersweet but the concluding reveal lands hard. And I can’t say the same for the other stories. The last one is way too bleak for my taste. I mean, I understand that that’s reality. But I can only handle that much despair in one sitting. I think that the staging and editing in the movie could have been a little better. There’s nothing interesting happening in it visually a lot of the time. So, it runs the danger of becoming boring. However, not boring enough to fail at highlighting the central point of the narrative.

Final verdict.

Trapped is understandably one of the bleakest movies I have seen recently. I want India to make movies like this. Because it’s not all sunshine and rainbows here. No, not even on your best day is it all sunshine and rainbows here. There’s someone or the other who’s facing some form of discrimination and their stories need to be up there on celluloid in order to immortalise the times a country has been through. And if you don’t want to, force your country to get its shit together, abolish patriarchy, and stop saying that it respects women and instead act on it.

SEE ALSO: SXSW Them Review – This Horror Web Series Shows That White People Are Scarier Than Jump Scares

Cover image courtesy: Mad Solutions

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