On 25 January 2011 over 50,000 protesters occupied Tahrir Square demanding the resignation of president Hosni Mubarak. On the news we saw some striking images of the protests. Director Jehane Nouajaim and her crew got closer. They spent the following two and a half years filming what became known as the Egyptian Revolution. The film’s three main focal points are: Ahmed Hassan, a charismatic young revolutionary, British-Egytian actor Khalid Abdalla (United 93, The kite runner), a social media activist and Muslim Brotherhood member Magdy Ashour. Nouajaim interviews them and others and films several discussions with Egyptians. She also goes out in the square and the streets with the protestors to witness the violence. In one key scene Ahmed get shot on the head by a bullet and later has to hide the scar when he visits his mother. In one interview an army general representing the military has a cold and flippant attitude. And then there is Ahmed’s idealism and his hope of changing the world. He and others we meet mature in the time span of the film. This is a documentary about history and the people who make history. Highly recommended.
And the Oscar went to… I saw four of the five nominees for Documentary feature. The Act of Killing about the Indonesian killings of 1965–1966. It should have won because it shows what documentaries could and should do. In Cutie and the boxer we meet visual artists Noriko Shinohara and Ushio Shinohara’s chaotic marriage. Dirty wars is about investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill finding cover-ups the United States military and government. And The square. The winner was the safest choice 20 Feet from Stardom. It’s about American backup singers. One of the singer Darlene Love was up on the stage when the producers received their Oscars. She proceeded to belt out a gospel song. Urgh!