Set over a single night against the backdrop of a crackdown on protesters in Cairo during the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, this three-story anthology film follows the perilous struggle of a few women caught in the crossfire, trying to return home but are forced to hide amongst strangers – and how they build up a bonding. TRAPPED (2021, Egypt) by Manal Khaled is a tour de force of a low-budget, crowd-funded film that explores constricted space involving limited characters with absolute cinematic finesse. This is a kind of political film that Mrinal Sen excelled in – the effects of socio-political undercurrents depicted through interactions between middle-class people in familiar, mundane surroundings; the only difference being that in this case, the threat is direct and could be potentially fatal.
This little gem is buried under a deluge of big-budget, mostly mediocre films streaming on Netflix. Go for it.
Ranjan Das is a Mumbai based filmmaker & faculty.