“We could not photograph other presidents crossing their legs in front of our president. That was considered disrespectful to him. We either had to cover their legs with a plant or with the corner of a table, or we could replace the legs with a different pair in the lab.”
Shot entirely on location inside Egypt’s oldest and most important national daily, Al-Ahram, Crop is an unconventional account of the Egyptian revolution, which does not include any images of the popular uprising itself. Instead, by taking us on an insider’s tour around Al-Ahram’s offices, the film invites wider reflection upon the ways in which structures for political power are intimately connected to specific strategies of managing the visible. Tahrir Square was both a popular uprising and a revolution in visual representation: the country shifted from strict control of the Egyptian state media to a new visual regime introduced by people’s own visual production and distribution of images through social media. But those new images of a heroic nation on its way to freedom were no less constructed than those of the past: inundated by images of massive flags and youthful revolutionaries with faces painted in red, white and black, the Egyptian nation had to face a new, idealized image of itself - this time one circulated in the international arena.