All that is Banned is Desired: ‘Rebel Documentaries’ and the Representation of Egyptian Revolutionaries

Related to the increasing attention to socalled Egyptian revolutionary graffiti, one can also observe the appearance of "Rebel-Documentaries", focusing on a similar group of protagonists: young, mostly male (graffiti) artists and revolutionaries. In this article, I will take a closer look...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Middle East - Topics & Arguments
Main Author: Eickhof, Ilka
Format: Journal Articles
Language:English
Published: Philipps-Universität Marburg 2016
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Summary:Related to the increasing attention to socalled Egyptian revolutionary graffiti, one can also observe the appearance of "Rebel-Documentaries", focusing on a similar group of protagonists: young, mostly male (graffiti) artists and revolutionaries. In this article, I will take a closer look at a selection of these documentaries and their inherent power structures that frame the representational mechanics with a focus on the western notion of "the revolutionary rebel". The case examples are: <em>Abdo–Coming of Age in a Revolution</em> (Jakob Gross, 2015); <em>Art War</em> (Marco Wilms, 2014); <em>Al Midan–The Square</em> (Jehane Noujaim, 2013); and <em>The Noise of Cairo–Art, Cairo and Revolution</em> (Heiko Lange, 2012). All four focus on the role and the supposedly "free, rebellious spirit" of the young generation in Egypt. Although taking different perspectives, the films sketch out a snap shot of a generation that is caught in an ongoing violent revolutionary process by (re)presenting a specific rebellious Egyptian identity. In discussing the works, I will look at different intertwined representational effects that are related to the composition, realization and commercialization of the films. Finally, the article raises questions about the self-positionality of the protagonists as well as to the localization of the films, and the existence of embedded power structures and symbolic capital complicit with neoliberal and other pressures.
DOI:https://doi.org/10.17192/meta.2016.6.3801