By Gary Goldstein
January 10, 2013, 9:30 p.m.
That the Egyptian revolution of early 2011 was launched via Facebook is just one of the many extraordinary aspects of the whirlwind movement that effectively ended the 30-year rule of President Hosni Mubarak.
The long-simmering events that led to this astounding sea change plus the phases of the rebellion are laid out in absorbing, you-are-there fashion in the documentary "Uprising."
Writer-director Fredrik Stanton combines archival news clips, frontline footage and interviews with an articulate cross-section of the revolution's activists, participants and observers as he efficiently recounts this landmark chapter of the "Arab Spring."
A notable array of academics, analysts, journalists, former ambassadors and even a busy Egyptian actor ("Salmon Fishing in the Yemen's" Amr Waked) also offer cogent perspective. A talk with Ayman Nour, a 2005 Egyptian presidential candidate (he placed a distant second to Mubarak) and subsequent political prisoner, is particularly chilling.
But it's the film's kinetic street visuals that best illuminate the do-or-die nature of the protest as, after an essentially peaceful start, the freedom fighters had to defend themselves against the tear gas, bullets and beatings of domestic security forces.
Ultimately, more than 800 demonstrators died amid countless displays of bravery and commitment. "Uprising" is a vital and valuable tribute to these courageous men and women — and to love of country.
"Uprising." No MPAA rating; In English and Arabic with English subtitles. Running time: 1 hour, 24 minutes. At Laemmle's Playhouse 7, Pasadena.