News / Arts & Entertainment

Oscar-Nominated Film 'The Square' Examines Egypt Uprising, Aftermath

Oscar-Nominated Film Examines Egyptian Uprisingi
X
January 24, 2014 6:33 PM
The Egyptian uprising that began on January 25, 2011 and unseated President Hosni Mubarak, a decades-long autocrat, is three years old. Many people have written about it, and filmmakers have chronicled it. Now comes an unusual documentary, "The Square," which takes an intimate view of the events and has been nominated for an Oscar, the first Egyptian film to receive this honor.
Jane FriedmanPenelope Poulou
The Egyptian uprising that unseated President Hosni Mubarak, a decades-long autocrat, is three years old.

An unusual documentary, The Square, takes an intimate view of the events and has been nominated for an Oscar, the first Egyptian film to receive this honor.

The uprising began in January 2011 with a burst of optimism. Thousands of Egyptians of all stripes converged on a central square, demanding the departure of the military-backed ruler.

After 18 days, the unbelievable happened; Mubarak stepped down.

The Square focuses on several characters who guide us through the joy in Tahrir Square and the rollercoaster that followed Mubarak's departure.

Most, like Ahmed, are secular young people who launched the revolution. But there’s also Magdy, a Muslim Brother who joined early on, and Egyptian actor Khalid Abdalla, from the intellectual upper class.

“What we hoped to do, as being one of the only camera teams that stayed in the square from the 18 days all the way through three years, following these characters, was really to try and take audiences on a visceral, emotional experience, giving people a slice of what it was like to live through Tahrir,” said Karim Amer, the film's producer.

An Egyptian general tells the protesters they will be protected. But the army turns on them. The deadliest clashes of 2011 occur in November. Some 40 people are killed.

"It was a war in the square. Not a revolution," Ahmed says in the film. "It was not a revolution."

All while the military is planning parliamentary elections.
 
“I have fear for a future of this country which includes the military and a military that wants to be above the rule of law, above the constitution," says Abdalla, the activist actor, in the documentary.
 
But the military prevails. By June 2012, Mohamed Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood leader, is elected president and is working with the military, until anti-Morsi protesters fill Tahrir Square again. In July 2013, the army removes Morsi, returning Egypt to military control.

"I think we’re in a dark moment right now but as you see in the film, you cannot measure this revolution by the moment you’re in," said Amer, the film's producer. "This uprising, this revolution, whatever word you want to use, it’s a wave."

The film has not been released in Egypt. But an Oscar would put it in the spotlight.

"For Egyptians, it would be historic," Amer said. "The Oscar would make this film unstoppable in Egypt and the Middle East. It would be a historic event."   
 
Meantime, Netflix is streaming the film for subscribers in the Americas and Europe.  Amer says The Square has a message for all people whose governments are oppressive.

"It’s people being more active and participating in the process, and holding their governments accountable," Amer said. "It’s holding the power structures accountable...and if you talk to Ahmed, he’ll tell you that kind of consciousness, for it  to succeed, it’s not just an Egypt thing. It’s a global thing."

So even if Egypt's revolution is in a dark moment, at least this story will see the light.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Soul Lounge

"Soul Lounge" host Shawna Renee catches up with soul singer and songwriter Russell Taylor to hear what he’s been up to since winning the VH1 "You Oughta Know" title in 2013. She also convinces him to share a few songs from his album "War of Hearts."