The Square

  • Oscar Nominated Documentary ‘The Square’ Takes on Political Life of Its Own

    The Square enters Oscar weekend as a lead contender in the Best Documentary category. I wrote at length about it here in October—the film is a wrenching chronicle of the tumult that preceded and followed Egypt’s 2011 revolution, narrated through a clutch of charismatic protesters.

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  • ‘The Square’ Circumvents Egyptian Censors With YouTube Release

    The Square,” Egyptian American helmer Jehane Noujaim’s account of the 2011 Tahrir Square revolution, is being made available exclusively to Egyptian viewers for free via YouTube..."

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  • ‘The Square’ sheds light on Egypt’s religious and political divisions

    When Noujaim took the film to Sundance, some of the screenings were in downtown Salt Lake City and attended by Mormons and ex-Mormons. They, as well as evangelicals, came up to the filmmakers after showings and said that, despite initially thinking they had the least in common with Ashour, it was he whom they related to the most. They identified with his deep faith, his trust in the fledgling government, and his ultimate disillusionment. Those feelings transcended culture and creed.

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  • "This is why The Square is so important - not because it tells us what happened and what didn't happen, or who is and isn't right, but because it listens to people. It opens a discussion, and it challenges us to consider what does and doesn't work, wherever we are."

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  • When Will the Women of the Documentary World Get Their Due?

    "When this year’s Academy Award nominees for Best Documentary were announced, there was murmuring that it was unfortunate, even unfair, that only one of the nominees, Jehane Noujaim, was a woman. My favorite film of the year, Stories We Tell, directed by Sarah Polley, didn’t make the list. And neither did another seeming front-runner directed by a woman, Blackfish, helmed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite. Since then, Noujaim, who directed the incredible The Square, has been touted as the only female nominee, the implication being that Academy members should vote for her for that reason."

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  • Jehane Noujaim was honored as Best Documentary Director for The Square.

    Noujaim was clearly moved by the win. "This film is the most deeply personal film I ever made; watching my country change. lt redefined my understanding of what was possible. On the inside, if I learned anything, you have to believe in what’s absolutely impossible. For those in (Egypt) who are still fighting on the ground, they still believe what is possible..."

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  • ‘The Square’ movie review: An exhilarating portrait of Egyptian politics

    "In this vibrant, lyrical, graphic, sobering and finally soaring testament to aesthetic and political expression, Noujaim consistently provides light where once there was heat."

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  • Egypt Documentary ‘The Square’ Could Put Netflix in Winner’s Circle at Oscars

    "It’s been an unpredictable, but intensely rewarding year for Egyptian-American filmmaker Jehane Noujaim. This morning, “The Square,” her verite portrait of the ongoing Egyptian Revolution and several of its most passionate activists, was nominated for best documentary feature at the 2014 Oscars."

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  • Weekend Streaming Recommendations: The Square, Tall as the Baobab Tree, Blackfish

    "Recently nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary, Jehane Noujaim’s The Square is about the Egyptian mass protests staged in Cairo’s Tahrir Square that have rattled the country over the past few years, and it’s also one of the most thrilling, culturally significant, awe-inspiring films in recent memory."

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  • 'The Square' review: A look at revolution in Egypt

    " "The Square" is a powerful documentary about the would-be revolution that began in 2011 with protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square. Much of the movie's force comes from personalizing the events that led to Hosni Mubarak stepping down after 30 years in power."

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  • "After seeing this film, I was taken by the courage it took for Jehane to so personally depict what she calls “the civil rights movement of our time.” I grabbed some time with her by phone to learn more about her direction and vision for this thought-provoking  film…"

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  • Jehane Noujaim on Filming History as It Happens

    "What’s happened to the film here and internationally, in terms of the press that has been written about it, the tweets of support that have gone out from audience members, being shortlisted for the Oscar, that is all so crucially important, because it is putting the film on an international stage, so that authorities in Egypt are starting to get phone calls and questions about why the rest of the world is allowed to see this film about a crucially important chapter in Egyptian history and it’s not being shown to the Egyptian people."

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  • Banned at Home and Noticed by Oscars

    ‘Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer’ and ‘The Square,’ Shortlisted

    “The Square,” set around the protests in Tahrir Square in Cairo, may also involve a continuing narrative. The film was retooled often between 2011 and 2013, as the director, Jehane Noujaim, struggled to keep up with the historic uprising in her native Egypt. The final cut won several awards on the festival circuit, including one at the Dubai International Film Festival in December, but still has trouble playing in the Middle East.

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  • Tom Roston’s Top 10 Documentaries of 2013

    (The Square is #4 on the list!)

    "With a cast of revolutionaries with the depths and arcs of Jim Sheridan characters and cinematography as if from a Martin Scorsese film, this is a riveting, poignant film. The epic sadness of watching the (so-far?) failed attempt to achieve true democracy is only tempered by the inspiring realization that The Square gives them the voice that they otherwise would not have".

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  • Peter Knegt predicts The Square as one of the 5 Oscar nominees for Best Documentary Feature

    "Best Documentary Feature Predicted Nominees (in alphabetical order): The Act of Killing, Blackfish, The Square, Stories We Tell, Twenty Feet From Stardom"

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  • Jehane named one of the 60 rule-breakers of 2013!

    "The movers and shaker-uppers on THR's third annual year-end list -- including David Bowie, Netflix's Ted Sarandos and "Gravity's" Alfonso and Jonas Cuaron -- prove once again that unconventional wisdom may be the smartest play."

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  • "The IDA's top prize, best documentary feature, went to Egyptian-American director Jehane Noujaim'sThe Square, a visually stylish and emotionally powerful on-the-ground record of the political revolutions that have unfolded in Cairo's TahrirSquare over the last few years, as seen through the eyes of activists on all sides of the debate. Having previously won audience awards at the Sundance and Toronto film fests, it received a standing ovation from the audience after it was announced as the winner."

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  • "The Academy’s list includes four of the five films competing at this Friday’s Intl. Documentary Assn. ceremony: “The Act of Killing,” “Blackfish,” “The Square” and “Stories We Tell.”

    The Acad’s documentary branch determined the shortlist in a preliminary round of voting. Documentary Branch members will now select the five nominees. Nominations will be announced Jan. 16,  in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater. Oscars will be presented March 2."

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  • "The members of the Academy's documentary branch have been asked to consider the merits of 151 doc features this year -- an impossible task -- and by Friday they must vote to determine which 15 of them will make the "short-list" from which the five best documentary feature Oscar nominees will eventually be chosen. The short-list will then be announced on Dec. 2"

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  • "Some already have started racking up prizes. Jehane Noujaim's The Square, which captures the revolutionary fever in Egypt's Tahrir Square, won the world documentary prize at this year's Sundance Film Festival, a People's Choice Award in Toronto and recently was acquired by Netflix, on the prowl for a promising Oscar contender."

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  • 'The Square' is the rare, up-to-the-moment documentary

    "The Square' had opened at Sundance and won a top prize. But events in Egypt were fluid. So the filmmakers went back to Cairo and gave the film a big edit."

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  • "OSCAR WORTHY … A remarkable portrait of Egypt’s false dawns and worthy of its Oscar buzz." "The Square thrusts you right into the heart of the daily struggle they lived."

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  • “No news report could render the hope and the desperation of the people who risked their lives in Tahrir Square so fully, or so thrillingly.”

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  • "Stunning! [A story] that has not yet been told with such rousing and heartbreaking clarity. Feels like a revelation."

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  • "The historically essential document they’ve created here pulses with an immediacy that will leave you simultaneously enlightened and stunned."

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  • "A powerful, sobering portrait not just of the last two years of the Tahrir Square protest movement, but of the painful wisdom that comes when ideals, and occasionally bodies, are crushed."

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  • The best documentary of the year may also have been the most dangerous to make. … Watching The Square, you can’t help but wonder how Noujaim and her crew did it.

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  • “Two words uttered in the dark—‘What happened?’—open The Square, Jehane Noujaim's powerful, exacting depiction of Egypt's struggle for meaningful change.”

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  • "In Jehane Noujaim's documentary The Square, the Egyptian revolution is finally explained in a clear, wonderfully intimate and non-condescending way…a documentary we can all go back to again and again to better understand, empathize and identify with our Egyptian brothers and sisters."

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  • "The Square is inner-world-shaking."

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  • "As thrilling and urgent as a film can be, this documentary crackles with the velocity of history as it happens."

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  • "[THE SQUARE] puts you in the center of the action to the extent that the protesters' passion is so contagious, it seems to leap off the screen and into your heart."

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  • “A crucial, immersive, and exhilarating tale of the fight against oppression.”

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  • "the emotional and visual power of a dramatic feature, and a surefire Oscar contender"

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  • "Let's cut right to the chase — Jehane Noujaim's epic, astonishing documentary The Square is easily one of the most complex, most nuanced, and frankly most important documentaries made about the ongoing political developments in Egypt. Heck, I'll go further, it's one of the finer historical documentaries I think that's ever been made, period.

    This is a film that will move you, will challenge you, and will make you think in entirely new ways. The Square is, quite simply, a modern masterpiece."

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  • "In an industry where words like "brave" are freely tossed around, "The Square" soberly redefines the term. The movie also, it should be said, bolsters the claim that, as international media bureaus are shrinking, local documentarians with handheld cameras are filling the void."

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  • "Fulfilling the highest calling of documentary films, Jehane Noujaim’s The Square captures the immediacy and intensity of the Egyptian revolution from the inside as it’s happening. A daring and provocative piece of work"

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  • "With the immediacy of a flash grenade, “The Square” captures a historical moment by inhabiting a political organism — the ongoing Egyptian Revolution, filmed for two years in and around Tahrir Square in a fashion that captures the passion and defiance of a movement from the inside."

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