Arab Spring Documentary Uprising Reminds Us that the Struggle Continues


Like most of the documentaries that have emerged to recount and reflect on the revolutionary events of the Arab Spring, Uprising is sure to note, in its final moments, that the struggle for democracy continues. In his concise, accessible oral history of Egypt’s 2011 revolution, director Fredrik Stanton stitches together voices of the activists and organizers at the center of the events that led to the end of President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year reign; their stories tell of a determination matched only by surprise at the movement that took shape. Stanton offers some context before moving into a day-by-day chronology of a revolution so unexpected and chaotic that, as one protester observes, those at the center of it had little sense that they were making history. Heavy on smartphone and news footage, Uprising offers but a few slivers of new light on its subject, though it takes a hard look, through the general tone of afterglow, at the American government’s tacit and explicit support of the Mubarak regime. Egypt’s recent constitutional referendum is a reminder that though an uprising lends itself to neatly structured myth, and certainly to documentary, a revolution is a many-chaptered epic and a democracy, ideally, a story without end.