An attempted military coup unleashed violence in Turkey, killing 90 people and injuring 1000. But it crumbled when crowds took to the streets in an answer to President Recep Tayyib Erdogan’s call.
Coups - military or otherwise - and revolutions, are synonymous with democracy. The Arab Spring not only triggered a wave of renewed political anger and dissent, it also created new interest in films about crowds taking matters into their own hands and protesting tyranny.
We’ve compiled a list of 5 films about revolutions - and about the people who inspire them, the ones who lead the charge, and inevitably, the ones who perish. These aren’t necessarily the best films, but are an eclectic mix of biopic, thriller, romance, non-fiction and even dystopia.
Director Steven Soderbergh’s two-part epic (4 hours, 17 minutes) on the life of the most famous revolutionary of them all, Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara is a sprawling, yet intimate take on the life of a man we think we know so well. Benicio Del Toro’s is perhaps the most accurate portrayal of the man since Gael Garcia Bernal’s performance in The Motorcycle Diaries.
The Square (2013)
Jehane Noujaim’s Oscar-nominated documentary is the most visceral depiction of a revolt ever put on screen. It depicts the Tahrir Square uprising by putting the viewer on the ground, in the crowd, surrounded by gunfire and screams. Through 4 subjects, it shows 4 different perspectives to the same protest. It’s available for streaming on Netflix.
Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom (2015)
Winter on Fire is a close cousin to The Square. This time, the same cries and screams are at the Euromaidan protests in Ukraine. It’s a similar film that takes on a similar issue, and shows how, despite cultural differences, the importance of protesting oppression is universal.
The Dreamers (2003)
Bernardo Bertolucci’s film is set against the backdrop of the 1968 Paris student riots, a time of cultural, social and philosophical enlightenment. It follows three young students - two of them siblings - in a deeply disturbing love triangle with an American exchange student as they discuss life, love and philosophy.
V for Vendetta (2006)
V for Vendetta is based on legendary writer Alan Moore’s (Watchmen) graphic novel of the same name. It’s set in a dystopian neo-fascist future and follows the vigilante activities of V, the man who has made the Guy Fawkes mask an international symbol for revolt.
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