More Out of Curiosity is the second iteration of a documentary film by artist Ronnie Close, which may or may not end up as a feature-length production. Like the first iteration – entitled, simply, Ultras – the film considers the fanatical supporters of Cairo football club, Al Ahly. More Out of Curiosity focuses on events that followed 1st February 2012, when 74 Al Ahly fans were killed in clashes with rival fans and police at the Port Said Stadium.
One of the key players in the new emergent political debate are Egypt’s fanatical football supporters, the Ultras. Although affiliated to different teams in the domestic league they often joined forces in street protests to remove Hosni Mubarak in January 2011. The controversy over the 2012 Port Said incident when 74 Al-Ahly fans were killed in an orchestrated attack forced the Ultras back onto the streets. They mounted a successful political protest campaign against the state forces that culminated a year later in legal conviction and a sense of retribution.
More Out of Curiosity is a film work drawing on documentary narratives to frame the capacity of resistance in current social movements. This film is constructed from video footage drawn from a number of sources, including the Al-Ahly Ultras themselves who shared their video archive material. The assemblage of images of street protests, football games, riots and banner making helps stitch together a narrative to expose their unique local subculture in an overlapping meta-documentary format. The film work is book ended by the Port Said incident and the court verdict a year later. This structure is divided into seven scenes which categorize the video imagery. No voiceover resists the direct deciphering of the video material and the fi lm operates on an instinctive, visceral level driven by a charged soundtrack. The film captures the forceful sounding energy of the ultras.
More Out of Curiosity is currently being exhibited as part of Get Some Chalk On Your Boots! at the Glass Tank Gallery. You can find texts about the film written by Ben Burbridge and Stephanie Schwartz here.
Further information about Ronnie Close.
More Out of Curiosity
The film project was commissioned by QUAD Arts Derby and made with the support of the Irish Film Board. (26:06 minutes, single screen,16:9,HD Digital Video, 2014).