THE SQUARE (2013)

BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
FEBRUARY 23, 2014

If there is one thing I learned about myself while watching “The Square,” it is that I am completely out of touch with the worldwide news. Taking a candid look at the Egyptian population fighting their government for freedom, this political struggle has been transpiring since 2011 and I had no idea it was happening. Originally led by a dictator, the Egyptian citizens resorted to non-violent, peaceful sit-ins centered in a town square to which the film garners its name. These sit-ins gained them enough publicity to get the dictator out of power. But with one evil gone, another took its place, as the military forces took over the government and offered none of the changes that it had promised to the people. With the peace broken with propaganda and violent outbreaks of military and civilian thugs, the idea of an election was proposed, offering little choice, however, in the form of two evils, one choice being a former member of the overthrown government and one being a religious society called the Brotherhood that sold the activists out when they reached a deal with the military. Winning the election, the Brotherhood became even worse than the previous dictator, completely changing the constitution so that there were no longer checks and balances.

“The Square” follows several different activists working in the same coalition as they try to extract change from their countries leaders in a peaceful way to no avail. These real-life people are all so interesting in their ways, one would imagine them being characters in a film about these events. The causalities brought on by violence towards the peaceful sit-ins and the fact that this documentary ends to no resolve is devastating. In this day and age, it’s baffling that certain countries still do not have freedoms that we take for granted in America. “The Square” is well-produced and is one of the first documentaries to be exclusively produced by Netflix, who has shown their brilliance with television series and now takes a crack at worldwide news documentaries. In seeing this film, one is given a firsthand look at the struggles of another country, something rarely offered on the actual nightly news. Now, with some actual knowledge of the occurrences in Egypt, I can continue following the story as it happens. One thing I can assure you is, this will not be the last documentary on this topic.

RELEASE DATE
October 25, 2013

DIRECTOR
Jehane Noujaim

STUDIO
Participant Media

NOT RATED

DOCUMENTARY
NEWS

108 minutes

CINEMATOGRAPHER
Jehane Noujaim
Muhammad Hamdy
Ahmed Hassan
Cressida Trew

COMPOSER
Jonas Colstrup
H. Scott Salinas

EDITOR
Christopher de la Torre
Mohammed el Manasterly
Karim Fanous
Pierre Haberer
Pedro Kos
Stefan Ronowicz
Shazeya Serag
Angie Wegdan

CAST
Ahmed Hassan
Khalid Abdalla
Magdy Ashour
Ramy Essam
Buthayna Kamel
Aida Elkashef
Ragia Omran

PRODUCED BY
Karim Amer

BUDGET
$1.5 million

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