PBS – Nassers Republic The Making of Modern Egypt (2016)

PBS – Nassers Republic: The Making of Modern Egypt (2016)
English | Size: 1.37 GB
Category: Documentary

Nasser’s Republic–Remembering the ordinary man who led Egypt to independence. What would Egypt be without Gamal Abdel Nasser? An intriguing overview of Egypt’s political history in the modern age, Nasser’s Republic examines the transformative influence of Egypt’s twentieth century titan Gamal Abdel Nasser (1918-1970) on the Arab world. Nasser will be remembered with the fundamental irreversible innovations he introduced to his country, such as the nationalization of the Suez Canal, the construction of major dams, and the implementing of significant social rules. On the back side of the coin, though, he is blamed, even many years after his death, for taking poor foreign policy decisions and being incapable to build democracy.
“Nasser’s Republic: The Making of Modern Egypt” is the first film for an American audience about Gamal Abdel Nasser, one of the Arab world’s most transformative leaders. In 1952, as a unknown young Egyptian colonel, Nasser led a coup that became a revolution. Over the next 18 years he challenged Western hegemony abroad, confronted Islamism at home, and faced deep divisions among the Arabs, emerging as a titanic figure, champion of Arab progress and African liberation. The giant leap that made him famous among the masses was the gaining of control over the Suez Canal. By this act and following the building of the High Dam, he won the hearts of the working-class people. From here he started shaping the first ever form of Arab socialism. Nasser was the initiator of numerous programs for literacy, land reform, industrialization, workers’ rights, women suffrage, building middle and low-income housing.
He fought against unemployment, poverty, and illiteracy, but what he could not offer was democracy; instead, he established the region’s first and much emulated military authoritarian regime. A man of enormous charisma and ambition, Nasser became caught in the coils of his own power, dying at 52 with many dreams unrealized. This film presents the contradictions and questions that surround the legacy of this charismatic political figure, whose influence over the modern era, including the Arab Spring, remains at the heart of Egypt’s struggles.
Fifteen years after completing her film “Umm Kulthum, A Voice Like Egypt”, director Michal Goldman returned to a very different Egypt to begin work on Nasser’s Republic, filmed between 2011 and 2015. During this period of turmoil, Egyptians argued passionately about their history as a way to see what course to follow in the future. It is their voices–peasants and professors, secularists and Islamists–that drive this film. The film uses rare archival material, new expert interviews and narration by actress Hiam Abbas to create an invaluable resource for historians, students and scholars.
Director Michal Goldman entered the world of filmmaking through the editing rooms of pioneering American documentary filmmakers like the Maysles Brothers. She next worked on Hollywood feature films, including “The Exorcist,” before committing herself to independent, non-commercially driven documentaries. Her connection to Egypt goes back to the 1990s when she lived and worked in Cairo for several years while making her film “Umm Kulthum, A Voice Like Egypt” about Arab music’s greatest diva.

A Film by Michal Goldman ; Mermaid House LLC/Icarus Films Production for American Public Television

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