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Review: The Square 

Ken Korman on an Oscar-nominated documentary about the Arab Spring

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Yet another Oscar-nominated documentary making its New Orleans debut just before this year's awards, The Square takes us into the heart of the Arab Spring by immersing us in the protests at Cairo's Tahrir Square that toppled two corrupt government regimes between 2011 and 2013. The film is beautifully shot by Egyptian American filmmaker Jehane Noujaim and is notable for its unwavering sense of purpose. It allows three central characters to illuminate the Egyptian struggle for freedom: Ahmed Hassan, a charismatic and streetwise young leader of the protests; Kahlid Abdalla, the British Egyptian movie actor (The Kite Runner) who became the face of a revolution; and Magdy Ashour, a devout member of the Muslim Brotherhood who was a full participant in the protests, but whose conflicting loyalties expose the social complexities of modern Egypt. Eight people get an "edited by" credit for The Square, which mainly speaks to the mountain of footage used to assemble a tightly structured and fast-paced film. It may be just a snapshot of a unique time in history, but it's one that many will look to for inspiration in the years ahead.


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