In Egypt’s still unstable modern, post-revolution economy, the poorest members of the working class haven’t seen any benefits from a change in power, and corruption remains at a constant high. Filmmaker Romany Saad takes a look at the new Egypt by profiling three young labourers that are barely into their teens. To make ends meet as the main breadwinners for their respective families, these tough talking street kids drive fares around on three wheeled tuk-tuks through the downtown core, despite the vehicles having been ostensibly outlawed. The kids are brash and thick skinned, often working under threats of violence from thugs, cops, and military officers, and from everyday citizens that see them as a scourge.

Tuk-Tuk has an interesting subject and focal point. How can one of the world’s worst economies harden a child? Unfortunately after only about twenty minutes of its still overlong 75 minute running time, Saad runs out of things to say, repeating the same miserable points over and over again.

It’s realistic to think that there’s little hope in the lives of these children and their families, but it doesn’t have to be so repetitive and monotonous. The kids are so misanthropic and annoying (which is kind of the point) that spending so much time with them feels like an eternity. Add in unnecessarily shaky camerawork (even when it isn’t warranted), far too literally translated English subtitles, and an uneasy style that can’t decide if it wants to be skewed journalism or vérité filmmaking, and the net result is a huge letdown.

Is Tuk-tuk essential festival viewing?

There’s a great short in here dying to get out, but it’s a full hour longer than it has to be. It’s a pass.

Tuk-tuk screening times

Tuk-tuk trailer

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