Made as a docudrama by Egyptian documentary maker Ibrhim El Batout Winter of Discontent (2012) takes us back to January 25th 2011and the bloodiest moments of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak regime and sets out to help us understand how the fate of a nation was decided. The January 25 Revolution was a movement that organised demonstrations, marches, plaza occupations, riots, non-violent civil resistance, acts of civil disobedience and strikes. The revolution included Islamic, liberal, anti-capitalist, nationalist and feminist elements.
According to varied and trusted sources we are informed that in less than a year 2286 people lost their lives, 371 lost their eyesight, 8469 were injured, 27 detained woman activists were tested for virginity by the army and 12000 people were imprisoned after military trials - a number that continues to rise! The story is told through three characters, computer programmer Amr (the Cairo born Amr Waked, an international actor seen in the French TV series Spiral 2012, Syriana 2005 and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen 2011), TV presenter Farah (Farah Youssef) and security forces operative Adel (Salah El Hanafy a stage actor appearing in his first feature film). All their paths originally crossed in 2009 when Amr and Farah were lovers and Adel had Amr imprisoned and tortured for political reasons that are not fully explained. When the 2011 protests kick off Amr uses his computer skill’s to bypass official internet censorship and upload witness testimonies of government backed atrocities on to YouTube for the outside world to see. Farah is beginning to disbelieve her own news broadcasts and Adel is in his element torturing protesters.
Does the film succeed in giving you an understanding about the fate of Egypt? I'm not so sure it does. It would certainly help the viewer to appreciate what's going on if you they some prior knowledge of the subject’s background. You hear but never see the demonstrations until the end of the film. A rather slow and intense experience that started life without a script let alone a budget and it shows. Not a film to enjoy but one to raise awareness. These depressively real life events continue, and not just in Egypt!