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Winter of Discontent

El Sheita Elli Fat

Ibrahim El-Batout delivers a searing account of the root causes of the Egyptian revolution with this hard-hitting political thriller.

Even if a screening is sold out, tickets are often available 30 minutes before the start of the film at the box office at each venue.

Image gallery

  • Director Ibrahim El Batout
  • Producer Amr Waked, Ibrahim El Batout, Salah Al Hanafy
  • Screenwriter Ibrahim El Batout, Habi Seoud, Yasser Naim, Ahmed Amer
  • With Amr Waked, Farah Youssef, Salah Al Hanafy
  • Egypt 2012
  • 94 mins
  • UK Distribution New Wave Films

Few recent events have proved as gripping as last year’s Egyptian revolution. For 18 days in January and February, the exploits of millions of brave Egyptians seeking to overturn decades of dictatorial rule dominated news headlines and the world’s attention. The heady events in Tahrir Square didn’t, of course, begin out of the blue on January 25, a fact that director Ibrahim El Batout is keen to remind us of with his searing Winter of Discontent. The film lays bare the police state that was Egypt in the final years of the former President Hosni Mubarak’s reign, beginning a few years before the 2011 revolution to offer audiences a glimpse of the systematic torture and harassment that targeted any internal dissidence. Arguably the most dramatically satisfying and fully-realised cinematic account to date dealing with Egypt’s turbulent developments, dominated by a quietly powerful performance from Amr Waked as an opposition activist.
Ali Jaafar

Director statement

In Egypt’s history, there will always be a ‘before the 25th of January’ and an ‘after the 25th of January’. On that day, and the 17 days that followed, the impossible happened, and the unthinkable became real. After the killing void that had lasted for decades, everything started to make sense to me, and yet I became very confused. There was no time to think, or feel, so I stepped into my old routine: I needed to make a film. Only this time, I knew that the film I was going to shoot would have never been possible to make, ‘before the 25th of January’. We embarked on filming the first scene on the 10th of February. The very next day, former president Mubarak stepped down. The task of finishing this film became for us all a beacon of hope.
Ibrahim El Batout

Director biography

Born in Port-Said in 1963, he graduated in Physics from the American University in Cairo in 1985. His infatuation with the camera started at the Video Cairo Production House, where he worked as a sound engineer. He began to experiment with filmmaking, and worked for a year at in Britain at TV-AM. Since 1987, he’s worked as a documentary director, producer and cameraman for numerous international TV channels, capturing stories about human loss, suffering, and displacement. In 2004 he directed independently his first fiction feature, Ithaki, while his second, Eye of the Sun, won the Golden Bull at the 54th Taormina Film Festival in 2008 and played in that year’s LFF. In 2010 he was awarded Best Film at the Doha Tribeca Film Festival for his third feature, Hawi.

Filmography (selected)

1994 Female Circumcision in Ethiopia [doc]
1996 The Victim of a War That Ended [doc]
2000 A Day in the Life of an Ambulance Driver in Ramallah [doc]
2003 Mass Graves in Iraq [doc]
2004 Ithaki
2007 Ein Shams (Eye of the Sun)
2010 Hawi (The Juggler)
2012 El Sheita Elli Fat (Winter of Discontent)

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