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

Multimedia Obama, Modi Break Nuclear Deal Deadlock

Impasse over liability issues had been stalling bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation; deal reached at start of US president's three-day visit to India More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

 

Singer Leyla McCalla takes up not only the guitar, but the banjo and cello to perform songs from her new disc, “A Tribute to Langston Hughes,” music that mixes the Creole rhythms of Haiti with the French Quarter flavor of New Orleans on this edition of "The Hamilton Live."