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Bloor Cinema Release: The Square

January 17, 2014

By John Corrado

The Square PosterDirected by Jehane Noujaim, The Square opens with a title card that reads “the film you are about to see was filmed over the last two years of revolution in Egypt.”  This is followed by the words “the story continues to unfold.”  After picking up the People’s Choice Award for Best Documentary at TIFF, and receiving an Oscar nomination yesterday morning, the film opens today at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema in Toronto.

Starting just days before the resignation of corrupt president Hosni Mubarek, the film candidly follows a group of young protesters in Tahrir Square who are helping lead the Egyptian Revolution.  But the downfall of Mubarek left them with a whole new set of political problems, from the brutality of the army that held tightly to their regime and the manipulation of the Muslim Brotherhood that helped dictate the results of the next election.

While watching The Square, it’s clear that these courageous revolutionaries aren’t going anywhere, and many of them are willing to give up their lives for the sake of bringing freedom to their country.  The activists were given cameras to document and record the abuse they received at the hands of the military, providing astonishing proof of the power that filmmaking has to help bring change and justice where there is none.  The result is a film that’s harrowing to watch unfold and filled with disturbing images, including a group of Christian protesters who are crushed with a tank just because of their religion.

Although often challenging viewing, The Square is a brave and important documentary that provides a multilayered look at the politics behind the ongoing Egyptian Revolution.  This has been an exceptional year for documentaries, and The Square is especially worth seeing before the Oscars on March 2nd.

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