2013 Sundance Docs in Focus: THE SQUARE (AL MIDAN)

squareAnother Sundance alum is welcomed back for the World Cinema Documentary Competition: From Egypt/USA, Jehane Noujaim’s THE SQUARE (AL MIDAN), the continuing story of Egypt’s fight for democracy.

Sundance Program Description:

In February 2011, Egyptians—particularly young ones—showed the world the way people demanding change can drive an entire nation to transformation. The result was a profound movement toward democracy that is still evolving across the Arab world.

THE SQUARE, a new film by Jehane Noujaim (CONTROL ROOM; RAFEA: SOLAR MAMA), looks at the hard realities faced day-to-day by people working to build Egypt’s new democracy. Catapulting us into the action spread across 2011 and 2012, the film provides a kaleidoscopic, visceral experience of the struggle. Cairo’s Tahrir Square is the heart and soul of the film, which follows several young activists. Armed with values, determination, music, humor, an abundance of social media, and sheer obstinacy, they know that the thorny path to democracy only began with Hosni Mubarak’s fall. The life-and-death struggle between the people and the power of the state is still playing out.

Some Background:
A number of Noujaim’s past projects have been in Park City: As director and cinematographer, CONTROL ROOM (2004) and STARTUP.COM (2001); and as cinematographer, BORN RICH (2003) and ONLY THE STRONG SURVIVE (2002). She made headlines in November 2011 when she was arrested while filming around Tahrir Square. Serving as executive producers are BRITDOC’s Maxyne Franklin (in the same role for fellow competition title PUSSY RIOT – A PUNK PRAYER), Impact Partners’ Geralyn Dreyfous (Sundance alums including THE INVISIBLE WAR (2012), MISS REPRESENTATION (2011), CONNECTED (2011), SERGIO (2009), and BORN INTO BROTHELS (2004), as well as 2013 Documentary Premiere titles ANITA and THE CRASH REEL), and Mike Lerner (one of the directors of PUSSY RIOT).

Why You Should Watch:
With stark immediacy, Noujaim’s film captures the uneasiness and sense of instability in Egypt in the year since the revolution. There’s an urgency to her footage, revealing the complexity of the situation, and underscoring both that this story is far from over, and that there are no easy solutions to installing a democracy after generations of dictatorship.

More Info:
For more information, visit the film’s website and Facebook page. For Noujaim’s thoughts on the film, check out her Indiewire interview. For screening dates and times at Sundance, click the link in the first paragraph.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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