If you watched the news in America, you’d be under the belief that the revolution in Egypt was instantly caused by a hashtag on Twitter and Facebook event invitation to Tahrir Square. The new channels sold the narrative that in an instant, citizens decided they had enough of President Hosni Mubarak and rose up. But the Egyptian revolution of 2011 wasn’t an overnight overthrow. There was a lot of people working diligently for years wanting to being a real democracy to the country instead of voting in rigged elections. Lillie Paquette showed up in Cairo over a year before the event and captured the key figures eager for a change. We Are Egypt: The Story Behind the Revolution gives the views of participants in the planning stage and not the post-game press conference.
Too often a documentary features a lot of its participants talking about what happened. They elevate their roles in the event. Paquette’s camera captures these participants long before the revolution is on the horizon. They are dreaming, struggling and praying that Mubarak won’t make them disappear. It’s compelling to see this people when the network news wasn’t broadcasting live from the country. In less than 90 minutes, Paquette gives succinct coverage of what happened before the first Tweet was put on the internet. She gets to the heart of the “you are there” documentary genre. The resentment against Mubarak is real and building. The activists can smell the change coming in the attitudes of the masses. The uprising is approaching and it’s not as from people liking a meme on Facebook.
Paquette’s camera gets to the heart of the change and the people pushing for Arab Spring to blossom in Egypt. We Are Egypt is vital viewing for those interested in the history of the event. It also proves itself essential for those curious as to where such a revolution will go. The documentary delivers on giving the story behind the revolution. You really do get to see history in the making.
The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The transfer is clean video image. The audio is Dolby Digital stereo. The mix is geared towards the dialogue track. The movie is subtitled in English and Arabic.
Shaab Misr – The People Of Egypt (2:48) is a montage of the area.
Egyptian Democracy Activists (7:05) has a few folks tour the sights from the revolution.
Omar Sharif (8:29) has the star of Lawrence of Arabia talk about his time during the 1952 revolution.
Inside NDP Headquarters (8:29) lets you see the place before it was torched.
Ali Eldin Hilal (10:21) has him guessing wrong about what was about to happen.
Michele Dunne (7:13) lets her explain US-Egypt relations over the decades.
Laith Kubba (7:17) is about what it will takes to start a democracy in Egypt.
Noam Chomsky (9:38) discusses US foreign policy in Egypt.
Young Democracy Activist (4:05) predicts the revolution is coming.
Basem Fathy (5:49) discusses the role of social media.
Esraa Abdel Fattah & Basem Fathy (10:24) has them talk after the Revolution.
We Are Egypt: The Story Behind the Revolution give a view of the Egyptian revolution months before the overthrow of Mubarak. The documentary shows the effort that was taken to launch Arab Spring in Cairo. The bonus features add plenty to film. The best is getting to see Omar Sharif speak about his country.
Disinformation presents We Are Egypt: The Story Behind the Revolution. Directed by: Lillie Paquette. Written by: Jodi Reynolds and Sally Dexter. Starring: Omar Sharif. Running Time: 86 minutes. Released: April 9, 2013. Available at Amazon.com.
Joe Corey is the writer and director of "Danger! Health Films" currently streaming on Night Flight and Amazon Prime. He's the author of "The Seven Secrets of Great Walmart People Greeters." This is the last how to get a job book you'll ever need. He was Associate Producer of the documentary "Moving Midway." He's worked as local crew on several reality shows including Candid Camera, American's Most Wanted, Extreme Makeover Home Edition and ESPN's Gaters. He's been featured on The Today Show and CBS's 48 Hours. Dom DeLuise once said, "Joe, you look like an axe murderer." He was in charge of research and programming at the Moving Image Archive.
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