We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

Watching ½ Revolution, you learn that “fuck” and “motherfucker” might be the two favorite words of Egyptian protesters. Not that they’re inappropriate in a film set against the violently repressive early days of the 2011 protests that would eventually end the dictatorship of Hosni Mubarek. ½ Revolution follows a group of friends living in Cairo, but we see more of their fear and uncertainty than hope for the future of Egypt. Through firsthand accounts and handheld footage, we experience the chaos and fleeting moments of optimism of the revolution’s first weeks. Like the moment it captures, ½ Revolution is dizzying, which makes connecting with its characters difficult, at least until the stirring final scenes. Harder to forget is the sound of gas canisters flying overhead, and the sense of danger that looms over everyone’s heads.