Fresh Air’s critic at large John Powers discusses the documentary The Square by Egyptian filmmaker Jehane Noujaim. The Square takes audiences into the Egyptian revolution and its aftermath by following three protestors’ stories. The film will be streaming on Netflix starting Friday:
The Square is not a 360-degree portrait of recent Egyptian history. We don’t get to know the hardliners in the Muslim Brotherhood — and there are many of them — who would die, and are dying, to create an Islamic state.
Nor do we hear from the millions of ordinary people who are now sick of all the demos in Tahrir Square and want life to get back to normal. Noujaim is consciously partial — and clearly on the secularists’ side.
Yet the movie is no less gripping or revealing for that. As we’re plunged into scenes of both ecstasy and violence, it’s impossible not to be moved by the heroism of those who turned up in Tahrir Square realizing this just might get them killed. I’ve never done anything remotely so brave in pursuit of my own freedom.