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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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 Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Beyond Category

Saxophonist Craig Handy has an exciting new band called 2nd Line Smith, which combines the organ-jazz repertoire of Jimmy Smith with the “second line” rhythms of New Orleans parade music. Craig Handy joins "Beyond Category" host Eric Felten at Washington’s Bohemian Caverns jazz club to talk about the music and perform with the band.