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The Arab Spring

The Arab Spring is the event that dominated politics in the Middle East in 2011.

Tunisia’s government under President Zine al-Abidine resigned on January 16. On February 11 Egypt was next with Hosni Mubarak stepping down after weeks of spectacular protests in Tahrir Square. Further protests took place in Algeria, Yemen, Palestine, Jordan and Lebanon.

Libya followed, where the first protests erupted on February 16 fuelled by the arrest of a human rights activist when a peaceful protest was attacked by Gaddafi loyalists. Meanwhile, people in Iraq, Morocco, Bahrain and especially in Syria and Yemen joined in the protest.

On March 19, Western air strikes began against Muammar Gaddafi’s military, following the mandate the UN Security Council agreed upon one day before.

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Now, seven months later, the old Libyan regime has been toppled and Gaddafi killed. Today NATO officially ended its mission in Libya, Tunisia’s Ennahda party won the first election after the revolution while Yemen and Syria and also again Egypt remain in unrest. Furthermore, the first filmmakers have begun responding to these milestone events and are publishing their film documentaries.

We recommend to you the following films dealing with the revolutions and the North African destiny:

Tahrir 2011: The Good, the Bad and the Politician (2011) by Ayten Amin, Tamer Ezzat and Amr Salama

Tahrir 2011 is a laudable attempt to steer away from reportage and reflect on what historians will index as the first chapter of the uprising. Structured in three chapters, the film playfully debunks misconceptions and stereotypes.

The Agenda and Me (2011) by Naveen Shalaby

A documentary that takes us into the heart of the revolution in Cairo in 2011. We follow five Egyptians from different social classes and hear about their background, their daily life and what got them to participate in the demonstrations that would put an end to one of the Arab world’s strongest regimes.

Tamantashar yom (2011) by Ahmad Abdallah, Mariam Abou Ouf, Kamla Abu Zikri, Ahmed Alaa, Mohamed Ali, Sherif Arafa, Sherif El Bendary, Marwan Hamed, Khaled Marei, Yousry Nasrallah

A group of ten directors, twenty or so actors, six writers, eight directors of photography, eight sound engineers, five set designers, three costume designers, seven editors, three post-production companies, and about ten technicians have agreed to act fast and shoot, with no budget and on a voluntary basis, ten short films about the January 25 revolution in Egypt. Ten stories they have experienced, heard or imagined.

The Last Jews of Libya (2007) by Vivienne Roumani-Denn

The Last Jews of Libya documents the final decades of a centuries-old North African Sephardic Jewish community through the lives of the remarkable Roumani family, residents of Benghazi, Libya, for hundreds of years.