The Square (15)

Film

Documentaries

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>5</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue Jan 7

That would be Tahrir Square. Perhaps you’ve heard of it: that large public space in Cairo where a mass of angry Egyptians staged a protest that toppled an oppressive regime? Documentarian Jehane Noujaim (Control Room) was lucky enough to be present in early 2011 as up to a million people flooded the downtown roundabout, and the country’s military forced President Hosni Mubarak to give up power. This highlight of the Arab Spring is framed primarily through the perspectives of three participants: Ahmed, an idealistic young man enlivened by the possibility of revolution; Magdy, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood; and Khalid, an actor (The Kite Runner) who’s long supported the pro-democracy cause. 

Many filmmakers would follow the emotional roller coaster these three go through leading up to that first sit-in victory and stop there. But Noujaim keeps returning to the square as it becomes the site of further protests, horrific violence and, eventually, the spot of another celebration when Mubarak’s fundamentalist replacement, Dr. Mohamed Morsi, is himself ousted. (She actually went back after the film’s premiere at Sundance in January and added footage of this summer’s game-changing events.) No one would questione the importance of this geographical meeting place, but the way Noujaim uses it as an anchor to examine the hopes, fears, highs and lows of those at the eye of the storm lifts this doc a step above your average fly-on-the-wall journalism. The Square offers more than just pictures of a revolution; it lets you into the mind-set of those fighting for their future, and that makes all the difference.

Follow David Fear on Twitter: @davidlfear

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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Fri Jan 10, 2014

Duration:

108 mins

Cast and crew

Director:

Jehane Noujaim

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5
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Paul Murphy

The best film I have seen on Egytpian revolution so far, by some way. A teriffic insight into its dynamic ebbs and flows, powerfully humanised seen through the eyes and minds of a few individuals in different positions. It's far more than the sum of raw verite footage - its narrative(s) stitched with fitting music into a more powerful and satisfying whole , It doesn't fall for the shallow argument of a 'Facebook revolution' yet incorporates camcorder & Youtube elements well. OK it missed a crucial element, the re was little on the powerful strikes eg at the Mahalla textile plant which strengthened the hand of those in Tahrir Square, maybe sharing Occupy's weakness. But that's not to detract from the film's many strengths. It's done well at its tiny number of theatrical screenings and deserve to spread far and wide on its simultaneous Netflix release. Uplifting and inspiring - I feel one of the films of the year from which we can learn a great deal.

Paul Murphy

The best film I have seen on Egytpian revolution so far, by some way. A teriffic insight into its dynamic ebbs and flows, powerfully humanised seen through the eyes and minds of a few individuals in different positions. It's far more than the sum of raw verite footage - its narrative(s) stitched with fitting music into a more powerful and satisfying whole , It doesn't fall for the shallow argument of a 'Facebook revolution' yet incorporates camcorder & Youtube elements well. OK it missed a crucial element, the re was little on the powerful strikes eg at the Mahalla textile plant which strengthened the hand of those in Tahrir Square, maybe sharing Occupy's weakness. But that's not to detract from the film's many strengths. It's done well at its tiny number of theatrical screenings and deserve to spread far and wide on its simultaneous Netflix release. Uplifting and inspiring - I feel one of the films of the year from which we can learn a great deal.