Recalibrating the Traumatized Egyptian Identityafter the 2011 Revolution: Film as Resistance
Seven years have passed since the 25 January 2011 revolution, and Egyptians are still reeling under its nightmarish aftermath. Despite the fact that the uprising has provided the country with the briefest moments of euphoric hope in its contemporary history, Egyptians now suffer from the trauma of being exposed to violence and of losing all sense of worthiness. However, the revolution’s negative impact on the socio-political conditions has inspired Egyptian filmmakers to create a new cinematic culture of resistance in which unresolved traumas can be approached and fractured identities healed. While avoiding direct engagement with the suppressive political status-quo, contemporary films address trauma as an unassimilated personal experience that needs to be renegotiated and embraced. Going beyond the conventional reintegrative and reinterpretative coping mechanisms, more recent Egyptian films are interested in redirecting their gaze backward and inward, searching for the society’s ingrained traumas so as to subvert their toxic effect. Films such as Ali the Goat and Ibrahim (2016), Dry Hot Summers (2016), and Sheikh Jackson (2017) are prominent examples of how integrating the country’s deep-rooted traumas into a wholesome narrative of convergence can be considered the ultimate act of resistance.
Keywords - Arab Spring, Egypt, 2011 Revolution, Trauma, Film, Identity, Resistance.