Tuk-Tuk HotDocs 2015Header-image-StephenBy Robert K. Stephen

(TORONTO, ON) – Miserable Egypt. Didn’t we think for a moment some revolution had happened in Egypt with crowds swamping Tahir Square in Cairo? This documentary seems to indicate it’s worsened for the proletarian of that city.

Money is tighter and jobs are scarce. Islamist attacks on foreign tourists have tattered the tourist trade. The rape and beating of female news correspondents has shown a very nasty side of Egyptian manhood.

Quite frankly Cairo resembles a hellhole.

Tuk-tuks are motorcycle cabs and the film captures a few days in the life of three boys that drive them. Their families can’t afford to send them to school and day labourer dad is thankful for enough money to lead a subsistence life.

Dad’s a real Archie Bunker, pontificating about society and how it is so good his two children are out driving tuk-tuks. This despite the corrupt police force that extorts them, thieves that rob them, bullies that harass them, and taxi drivers who do everything they can to make their life miserable.

Dad proclaims this will keep them off the street and away from drugs and criminals.

But dear old Dad fails to realize his two children are very much part of street life in the middle of all sorts of hatred and prejudice. India has its Untouchables while Cairo has its Tuk-tuk drivers.

At times, their child-like character flares up and it seems they are enjoying themselves. Ironically the movie concludes with them smoking drugs.

No doubt Dad has been deceived.

You’ll get an up close view of Cairo and its bedlam, which is visually pleasing. You’ll also see a bunch of miserable and angry people struggling to stay alive.

The occasional playing of Beethoven’s Midnight Sonata seems out of place. I prefer the modern Egyptian music that is heard.

The inevitable conclusion is that the poor of Cairo are stuck in a shit pit. Utterly depressing and conveying a roaring message of impossibility and defeat.

(Tuk-tuk, Director Romany Saad, Egypt, 75 minutes, 2015, Egyptian with English subtitles, part of Toronto HotDocs Festival, International Premiere 26/28 April and 3 May 2015)

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About the Author

Robert Stephen (CSW)
Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he loves The Square. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."Email Robert Stephen
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