Revolutionary cinema screens footage of Abbassiya battle

Wael Eskandar, Thursday 28 Jul 2011

Tahrir Cinema screens footage of events that took place in Abbassiya on 22 and 23 July that left nearly 300 injured

Screen shot from footage centering on the events that took place in Abbaseya on 23 July

Close to a hundred people gathered in Tahrir Square to watch footage of the events that took place in Abbassiya on 22 and 23 July 2011. The films were screened on 27 July in Tahrir Cinema , the revolutionary cinema set up in Tahrir Square showing footage and documentaries pertinent to the revolution.

The footage shown was shot by Ahram Online’s Simon Hanna, Al-Masry Al-Youm’s Moustafa Bahgat as well as other bloggers and protesters like Moustafa El-Sheshtawy, Bassem Khalifa and Jonathan Rashad.

The films covered the events that took place when a march from Tahrir Square to the Ministry of Defence was pre-empted by military police at Al-Nour Mosque in Abbassiya. The videos were shot from the protesters’ perspective as they were pelted with rocks, glass and Molotov cocktails from various directions.

The footage captured men on rooftops throwing rocks at protesters as well as men in civilian clothes taking cover behind the military police and Central Security Forces. The filmmakers attended the screening, some of them commenting on their videos, adding context to the scenes and events that were being shown.

Some viewers witnessed the Abbassiya events and made their own comments as the footage rolled. Others asked why the army was giving shelter to armed men and why Central Security Forces were seen standing idly by men with swords.

Tahrir Cinema has been an attraction for the protesters in Tahrir, running most nights at 10:30pm until past midnight. The cinema is set up at the west entrance to Tahrir, close to Qasr El-Nil Bridge.

For many Egyptian filmmakers in the recent past, turnout for short nonfiction movies or documentaries has been disappointing, despite the use of innovative methods to attract viewers. It appears that efforts to revolutionise the genre weren’t necessary; you needed only to revolutionise the people.

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