Square, The: Docu about Egyptian Turmoil

The Square, the documentary by Egyptian-American filmmaker Jehane Noujaim, tells the story of the Egyptian Revolution behind the headlines.

It follows a group of Egyptian activists for over two years as they battle various leaders, and risk their lives to build a new society based on different foundations.

World-premiering at the Sundance Film Fest, where it received the Audience, The Square plays at the N.Y. Film Fest and will open theatrically at New York’s Film Forum on October 25.

The Square captures the immediacy and intensity of the revolution from its nexus, Cairo’s Tahrir Square, beginning with the 2011 overthrow of Hosni Mubarak, continuing through military rule, and ending with the ousting of Mohamed Morsi in the summer of 2013.

The film could not have been timelier, and it’s really up to date. Among other merits, it provides a visceral portrait of the events from the perspective of several political activists, including one member of the Muslim Brotherhood and a young liberal, Khalid Abdalla (who had appeared in the American-made film, The Kite Runner).

Equipped with cameras, and relying on videos posted to YouTube, the revolutionaries, determined to liberate their nation, offer a first-hand view of a major struggle, fought with new weapons such as social media.

At Sundance, The Square was shown as a work-in-progress, but given the rapidly unfolding events in Egypt, director Noujaim and her crew returned to Cairo, shot much more footage, and prepared this newly revised, up-to-the-minute version.

The conscientious filmmaker would probably add new footage in a future edition of the documentary, as the story is still developing, but regardless, her film offers an impassioned and significant insider’s view.