Marouan Omara

CROP (2013)

Duration: 47 min.
World Premiere: International Film Festival Rotterdam

Everyone deserves their own image, that’s the gist of an old Egyptian pop song. In reality, there used to be only one official image along the Nile for a long time: that of a strong and powerful Egypt, embodied by its rulers. The majority of the population had no place in it. The young revolution was a revolution of images, too: the people conquered the right to be represented by their digital cameras and mobile phones and reached the world. But how representative are those new images, one wonders in view of the more than the uncertain current situation. This film takes a step back to look at the structures of the old power. Tableau-like shots on an insider’s tour of the apparatus of power: the oldest and most important national daily, Al-Ahram, in which official Egypt reproduced itself since Nasser’s day. Starting with the conference rooms under the roof down to the basement garages where the papers are bundled for delivery, we meet a multitude of employees doing their various jobs, while a narrator’s voice, an intersubjective surrogate of interviews with photojournalists, recites a first- hand account, as it were, of Egyptian media history. The strict division between the visual and audio levels makes us look more closely and raises questions: for whom will this apparatus work in the future?