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Tahrir 2011: The Good, the Bad, and the Politician

Tahrir 2011: The Good, the Bad, and the Politician: Excellent Documentary

  • Documentary
  • Ahmad AbdallaAmr Salama...
reviewed by
Yasmin Shehab
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Tahrir 2011: The Good, the Bad, and the Politician: Excellent Documentary

Based on a subject that we’re all intimately acquainted with, Tahrir 2011 is an insanely engaging
documentary. No scratch that; it’s super interesting, period. Divided into
three sections, each directed by a different person, the film explores the 18 days
of Tahrir (The Good), the police and secret service’s side of the story
(The Bad) and the problem with our pre-revolution politicians (The

We kick off the documentary with a perfectly paced, rapid breakdown of
what Tahrir was like from the 25th of January to the day that Mubarak finally
stepped down. This section showcases a bunch of highly compelling, eloquent
activists that recount their experiences in the square.

We start off with a
member of the Muslim Brotherhood who was hit by a bullet that was less than a centimetre
away from killing him. We then jump to a female activist who was part of the
media archive group. Our last main character is an Egyptian photojournalism
student who came back from Denmark to document the revolution. Along the way,
we meet doctors working in the field hospitals, artists, musicians and protesters.
In short, a veritable cross section of the people in Tahrir.

This part gives us an
intimate look at how the revolution unfolded for those in the thick of things
in Tahrir. It has an authenticity and coherence that
other TV editorials lack. In this reviewer’s opinion, Tamer
Ezzat’s section is an editing feat. The pacing and deft juggling of the
narrators’ stories make the revolution seem fresh again and the crystal-clear close-ups
on the tear gas, gun shots and beatings reinvigorate the events with a sense of

Ayten Amin’s section allows the police to defend themselves after being
thoroughly eviscerated in the previous part, and she’s remarkably balanced and
objective in her handling of the topic. She interviews a Central Security
officer, an ex-Secret Service officer and a police officer about the clash
between their work and their morals, about the way both protesters and
prisoners are treated. The director gives them a chance to defend themselves
against the accusations of murder and brutality. This section slows down the
pace considerably from the previous part’s breakneck speed and in addition to
the video footage and photographs; she also uses illustrations to get her point

Amr Salama’s segment rounds out the documentary, picking up the pace
once again. The theme revolves around the ten hallmarks of a dictator and
features a slew of appearances by a bunch of public figures including El
Baradei, Alaa El Aswany, Bilal Fadl and Yosri Fouda. He delves into the
dictator’s psyche from many different angles such as the compulsion to fight
the aging process, grooming your son for the presidency, etc. While most of the
points made in this section are nothing new; the way they’re presented gives
you a chance to glean new insight.

Tahrir 2011 doesn’t
add any new information, but it makes for one hell of an interesting
documentary that works both as a celebration and as a reminder of what the
price we paid and how far we still have to go.

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The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, Memoria del Saqueo, Rocky Road to Dublin

360 Tip

Relax, the film has English subtitles.

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