”This rather simple documentary engages viewers to challenge how we perceive images and who is or is not included in the frame of Egyptian state media and, subsequently, society. ” EGYPT INDPENDENT
CROP is an absorbing account of the Egyptian revolution of 2011 – one that includes no images of the popular uprising itself. Filmed entirely within the offices of Al-Ahram, the country’s largest state-run newspaper, the film is a series of carefully composed shots that expose the institution’s functioning and the former regime’s strict control over information. We are listening to the story of an older photojournalist, that missed out on the revolution due to a hospital stay.
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 with 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 uncertain current situation. This film takes a step back to look behind the structures of the old power. It reveals with tableau-like shots the apparatus of power, 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 photo journalists, 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? With their formal mastery and perceptive framing, Johanna Domke and Marouan Omara inspire us to think about the power of images.
”Crop is three works in one, a story in audio format about the censorship of images in Egypt, a silent video installation to see in an art gallery that conveys self-censorship, and a film bringing both together.” Alice Hackman for Euromed Audiovisual