The Square follows a variety of revolutionaries as they take to Cairo’s Tahrir Square from 2011 to 2013 to protest the rule of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, then the military, and finally the newly elected president Mohamed Morsi. Jehane Noujaim’s documentary charts the rebellious efforts of three friends: twentysomething Ahmed Hassan, who preaches social unity and freedom; Kite Runner actor Khalid Abdalla, who advocates reshaping the underlying government apparatus; and Magdy Ashour, whose allegiance to the Muslim Brotherhood is complicated by his support for rule of law.
Gaining its power from its proximity to the chaotic events in and around its central location, The Square evokes the vital role that such geographic centres play in bringing citizens together. Likewise, Noujaim’s handheld footage has a visceral intensity that captures the lethal brutality that its subjects, and millions of others, faced during these demonstrations.
The Square refuses to sugarcoat its material, conveying the anarchic and terrifying experience of being in the centre of Cairo over the course of these two turbulent years. What emerges is a blistering portrait of rebellion against social discord, marginalization and oppression, and a call to arms for true democratic ideals.
Winner, Audience Award for World Cinema Documentary, Sundance Film Festival
Winner, Audience Award, Toronto International Film Festival