Of course the director goes back to the Tahrir Square in Cairo, the symbolic location for the Egyptian revolution but one of the many qualities of this new documentary by world travelling Petr Lom – a director who in his approach is an excellent example of how questioning journalism and observing documentary can be beautifully combined – is that he goes to the countryside, to the places that we did not see in the news reports or in the many films that have been released about Tahrir Square and what happened during the dramatic days in early 2011.
Lom gives the viewer ”five stories from the Egyptian revolution”, a revolution that did not do good for everybody, not at all, on the contrary, the film says by presenting to the audience interesting characters, who do not hesitate to speak out their frustration and anger. Not only the boy on the picture whose family almost lost their business fundament as pyramid tourist guides when their horses were kind of confiscated but also the minibus driver and the young woman, whose husband is in prison without court case – it is a film about corruption in the police and in the army, not to talk about human rights being neglected.
Two stories stand out in the film that of course, having chosen to focus on five stories, in some cases leave the characters at a moment where you would have loved to stay. One is the terrible case of a strong young woman, accused of having an affair with a man, being forced to take a virgin test, undergo torture, her family going against her, as well as the village security officer, who enters the room while filming is going on, asking all kind of questions and stating the the film crew ”could be Israelis”! At the end of that chapter she is in the car of the film crew away from provincialism. The other is the touching and painful story about a young man, whose brother is sentenced to 3 years of prison because of blogging words that the army did not improve of. The brother is on hunger strike, a later text declares that he is now released.
You might argue that it is too much for one film, and that the final film sometimes seems to get out of balance, but this is the place where it can only be repeated that Contents is King.
Norway,Piraya Films, 2012, 83 mins.