Lights, camera, revolution: the birth of Libyan cinema after Gaddafi's fall

Libya had no film-making culture under Gaddafi: just a handful of cinemas and a propaganda machine. Days after a film sparked violence there, Steve Rose meets the new wave

While the people of Benghazi were ejecting the Islamist militias from their city last Saturday, another smaller but equally remarkable event was taking place 400 miles away in Tripoli. In the former French embassy, in the old part of the city, some 70 people were attending the first public screening of Libyan-made films since last year's revolution (and possibly a long time before that). There were just six short documentaries, around five minutes each. In the final film, Granny's Flags, a Tripoli grandmother recounted how, during the revolution, women had to bake bread before the electricity ran out, and how she'd been kept busy sewing makeshift versions of Libya's reinstated national flag. "We are happy that Muammar died … He used to smother us,
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