Jehane Noujaim’s film is inspirational and dispiriting by turns. It follows the Egyptian protest movement in Tahrir Square from 2011 until late 2013. The enormous idealism of the young protesters campaigning for President Mubarak’s fall is self-evident. The film-makers are there in the Square at what seems the start of a revolution. Then, the politics kick in. The Muslim Brotherhood win power in an election that leaves many of the protesters feeling betrayed. The army lurks menacingly in the background. Noujaim very skilfully interweaves the intimate stories of half a dozen main protagonists with the bigger story of what is happening in Egyptian society as a whole.
The situation may look bleak now but as one of the most articulate interviewees, the British Egyptian actor Khalid Abdalla, points out, the revolution is its infancy. It will take years to see its effect. In the meantime, the people have demonstrated that they can pull rulers out of power.
Director Jehane Noujaim, 108 mins