Documentary Review: The Square

In the documentary film The Square, director Jehane Noujaim  crafts the message regarding the relationship dynamics between the religious and political state of Egypt. The message was about the importance activism played throughout the unification, and then later divide between the resistance and the brotherhood–the compromises of both the physical and philosophical obstacles they faced while looking to achieve the same political goals.

The film’s followed the story of young activist Ahmed Hassan, his relationships with other organizers and activist and the resolution between them as a result of their own personal, political and religious conflicts. Activist Magdy Ashour remained interested in maintaining ties with the brotherhood as Hassan’s focus was on the efforts to sustain democracy and unification of the people without the stronghold of the brotherhood and later torment of the military during protest. Although no doubt both men loved Islam, Hassan preferred the spirituality and moral traditions of Islam as a means of peace and social justice. Ashour’s relationship with the Islamic state was tied to the safeguard of the brotherhood as he believed he owed them for the  safety and protection of his family after previously being jailed and tortured by Mubarak’s regime.

I learned a lot about the conflicts in Egypt and the way relationships between people had as a social-political effect on a movement. I had heard about the revolutions and the impact of the Arab Spring at the time through Egyptian friends, I was aware of the impact media had in telling these stories, as well as creating active global awareness — being aware that my own active awareness in sharing these stories had also contested to this social engagement and was itself an act of participation of the revolution as it was designed to be. 

Throughout the film I was fascinated by the artwork of Ammar Abo Bakr. The importance of art was and still is, used as a political weapon to education the community about their own political power. In this ArtSlant article they discuss the importance of graffiti art and its anarchic ability to communicate with the people. within a budding social-democratic system.

I believe this film has won so much recognition because It brought to light the effects of media and its ability to tell a the truth about a story, how that media is used to reach other people and influence change on a global scale. The documentary was also directed by a woman whom has both won and been nominated for several awards for this film alone.




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