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Jan 28, 2014Director Jehane Noujaim delivers a riveting documentary with "The Square,"which manages to powerfully convey the chaos, complexity, and inherent dangers of a Revolutionary movement. The film boldly provides a perspective unattainable by journalists, and the activity recorded from 2011 to 2013 captures the passion and defiance of a movement first hand. The fight for a democratic Egypt is far from over, which is part of what makes the film so dynamic and riveting.
"The Square" is a documentary that traces the events of Egypt's Tahrir Square protests beginning in early 2011 when millions of people took to the streets to demand the removal of President/Dictator Hosni Mubarek, who held power for 30 years. However, when Mubarek is overthrown, the army steps in to temporarily take over the countries affairs, but does not follow through with their promises to its citizens.
After a free and fair election, the military fascist dictatorship is essentially replaced by a religious fascist dictatorship under President Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood. Once again, the protesters unite and return to the Square to face a violent military oppression. It's a harrowing narrative of people twice betrayed: once by the army and again by militant Islamists who insist on a constitution based on religion instead of secularism.
Noujaim tells the story primarily through focussing on three activists, all of whom are friends. A charismatic, young artist named Ahmed Hassan, a British accented actor-turned activist Khalid Abdalla ("United 93"and "The Kite Runner"), and a family man Magdy Ashour, who is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood who finds his loyalties to his friends tested. The film's storyline follows the revolutionaries through the euphoria of victory, followed with the uncertainties and dangers while under military rule that threatens the politics of democracy.
"The Square" documents the promise and hope of a better future at the beginning, but by the end, you are left with an overwhelming sense of opportunities lost. While a more detailed back story of political maneuvering would have provided welcome context, its implications for the future are extraordinary. The revolution is a work in progress, a rebellion against an oppressive regime, and a call to arms for true democratic ideals. Informative international media outlets are few, and international news rarely generates much interest in the US. Ever more so it's the courageous filmmakers recording history with handheld cameras that are filling the void.… Expand
Not only is it a searing on-the-ground, in-the-fray portrait of the heart of Egypt's ongoing revolution, but it is also a stirring tribute to the indomitable spirit of those who are risking, and in many cases giving, their lives to keep it alive.
Jan 16, 2014In the end, Ahmed claims a kind of victory, noting that open dissent and public protest has become embedded in the culture, even if Egyptians have not yet found a leader to unite them all. Something has begun, he says. Its real meaning is not yet clear.