Sundance documentary 1/2 REVOLUTION

(I have another review of this film, with extensive commentary, below.)
On January 25th, 2011, as thousands marched below their window near Tahrir Square, the filmmakers picked up their small cameras and started shooting from their balcony. They had no specific purpose except to document what was happening. As they said during the Q&A after the screening, it was “an accidental film,” one they had not specifically set out to make. Joining the throngs below, they kept filming as police and paramilitary thugs beat and gassed them, shooting and killing others nearby.

The film is not a polished, carefully planned and assembled documentary, but a visual first-person account of the uprising as experience by the filmmakers. Both the video and audio content as well as the editing style convey the uncertainty, chaos, hope and fear of that first week. There is no voice-over, no cutting back and forth in time, no cutaways to metaphorical imagery, no animation. The film does not attempt to give an overview of the situation, show multiple perspectives or use talking heads to explain the history of Egypt. There is no sentimental footage of the protagonists’ childhood.

It is just the raw experience captured by their cameras as the world around them explodes.

In the opening scenes of the film, one of the main characters sees the marchers and says something to the effect of “this will be the end of the Mubarak regime or it will be a bloodbath.” It was some of both, but the story is not over. The other half of the revolution is waiting for its moment.





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