Winter of Discontent (El sheita elli fat)
Director: Ibrahim El Batout
Cast: Tamer Abdul-Hamid, Salah Alhanafy, Salah Hanafy
Country of Origin: Egypt 2012
Language: Arabic with English subtitles 96 mins.
'A fascinating, powerful and composed tribute to the Egyptian revolution.'
Set against the backdrop of the Arab Spring and the tumultuous events of Cairo's Tahrir Square January to February 2011, 'Winter of Discontent' explores the lives of three people, computer programmer, opposition activist and campaigner Amr (Amr Waked), already a victim of state torture in 2009 a man in constant fear living a solitary and claustrophobic existence in his Cairo flat, journalist Farah (Farah Youssef), a newscaster on state owned Egyptian television who begins to crack under the pressure of broadcasting state-sanctioned lies aimed at minimising the protests, reports that are very different from the BBC and CNN and state security officer Adel (Salah Al Hanafy) who tortures dissidents during the day and returns to the comfort of his middle class family life each evening.
'Winter of Discontent' is a movie that's almost meditative in its depiction of the chaos and uncertainty that characterised the last days of Hosni Mubarak's regime as Egypt was propelled headlong into the heady atmosphere and mass euphoria that changed the country forever. A fascinating, powerful and composed tribute to that time but I'd hoped that the camera would get into the streets and amongst the crowds that propelled this revolution which would have added greatly to this film.
Sadly the optimism of the Arab Spring has faded. President Mohammed Morsi was deposed by the army in July 2013, the assets of more than 500 members of the Muslim Brotherhood, including the former President have been seized and the Islamist Brotherhood was banned from all activities in September and declared a terrorist group in December after the suicide bombing of a police HQ in the Nile Delta. An interim government is in place but the army is in control and has declared that they'll 'fight the forces of terrorism and darkness.' Uncertainty and chaos translates into a vicious Sunni-Shi'ite divide and the probability of a resurgent Al-Qaeda is an everyday threat.
Released by NEW WAVE FILMS