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'The Square' examines the personal stories of Egypt's Arab Spring


Cinema

'The Square' examines the personal stories of Egypt's Arab Spring

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The Egyptian uprising and the unrest that followed have been covered by media all over the world.

Now, Egyptian-American film-maker Jehane Noujaim is showing a street-level view of the event seen through the lens of Cairo’s Tahrir Square. 'The Square' is the story of the triumphs, the frustrations and the heartbreak of ordinary Egyptians.

“This is a film about the very personal journey of three main characters as they go through the last two and a half years in Tahrir Square basically using the square as a tool to stand up against regimes and against dictatorship. Ultimately it’s about what it means to hold your leadership accountable time and time again – whether it’s Mubarak or the military or the Muslim Brotherhood,” explained Jehane Noujaim.

Tahrir Square was at the center of the 2011 uprising that brought down President Hosni Mubarak. It has remained at the heart of protests ever since, from the vote that led to the election of Muslim Brotherhood-backed President Mohammad Morsi to his ouster by the military in July.

The film focuses on the changes unfolding in Egypt seen through the eyes of characters from different backgrounds.

“The film is a deeply human story following characters from different walks of life: Ahmed, who grew up in the slums of Cairo, who studied to be a journalist, but felt like he had no opportunity to change his life or his future. Khalid (Abdalla), who has been on the worldwide screen in films like ‘The Kite Runner’, who comes from a long line of political activists and was incredibly articulate about what was happening during very confusing times. Magdi, who was with the Muslim Brotherhood for 25 years and begins to question his beliefs,” said Noujaim.

‘The Square’ has picked up several awards on the festival circuit, including one at the Dubai International Film Festival in December. But the film still has trouble playing in the Middle East – it was due to be shown at a festival in Cairo in December, but the screening was canceled at the last minute.

Its January release coincides with the fourth anniversary of the protests that sparked the revolution.

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