Film shows Egypt's "Winter of Discontent" spark hope

Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:33am EDT
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By Shaimaa Fayed

CAIRO (Reuters) - As Egyptian director Ibrahim el-Batout stood among the crowds in Cairo's Tahrir Square on the eve of Hosni Mubarak's overthrow last year, his first instinct was to start filming.

A quick call to actor Amr Waked, an early supporter of last year's uprising, and actress Farah Youssef, and within a few hours the trio were shooting a scene in Tahrir in which a man searches for his girlfriend amid the throng.

The result is "Winter of Discontent", a film with a message of hope that marks a more upbeat departure for a director who spent almost two decades portraying the despair of war.

"In all I've witnessed, I've only seen broken human beings, I've only seen broken souls," el-Batout said. "On that day in Tahrir I saw people coming to life again and that's incredible."

"I looked into their eyes and thought 'you were dead 18 days ago. Now you are back again.' This I haven't seen anywhere else."

The film trails an activist, a journalist and a state security officer in 2009 and the way they converge two years later during Egypt's 18-day "Arab Spring" uprising against Mubarak and his widely hated state security apparatus.

In an interview with Reuters, el-Batout and Waked said the film was not about Egypt's political developments but an attempt to convey how something positive can emerge from human agony.

"It's a message of human resilience," says Waked.   Continued...

Actor Amr Waked arrives for the European premiere of "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" at the Odeon Kensington in London April 10, 2012. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor