The Square

The Square

Jehane Noujaim (2013)

15 Certificate


Our Score
Such is the immediacy afforded by camera phones and social media sites that events like the Arab Spring happen in real time in our own living rooms. The abundance of first-hand footage is a boon to documentarists. But events often move too quickly for cinema, and film-maker Jehane Noujaim's regular visits to Cairo's Tahrir Square continued to reshape her movie about the Egyptian Revolution even after she had finished editing. Consequently, this sometimes feels like a work in progress, as she follows various activists between the ousting of long-time president Hosni Mubarak by people power in February 2011 and the removal of his democratically elected successor, Mohamed Morsi, by the military in July 2013. Noujaim's eyewitnesses are eloquent and involved: actor Khalid Abdalla, musician Ramy Essam, streetwise worker Ahmed Hassan, film-maker Aida El Kashef, and human rights activist Ragia Omran. But, while the focus falls on Hassan and Abdalla, the most intriguing figure is father of four Magdy Ashour, who was tortured by the Mubarak regime for belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood, yet comes to question its tactics (if not its integrity) once it's in power. There are omissions (the abuse of women and Coptic Christians) and simplifications (the 2012 election campaign and the rapid disillusioning of the triumphant masses), but this is a cogent and courageous account of a complex and continuing situation.

Cast & Crew

Director Jehane Noujaim

Other Information

Language: Arabic +subtitlesColourTheatrical distributor: KaleidoscopeGuidance: Violence, swearing.Available on: DVDReleased on: 10 Jan 2014