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Netflix promotes Oscar nominated documentary 'The Square'

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The Square

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"The Square" is a Netflix produced documentary which opens at The Roxie on Jan 17 in San Francisco.

The cinema verité style documentary is about the Egyptian Revolution which overthrew the Mubarak dictatorship in 2011, and the continued struggle through the summer of 2013, where activists work to create what they call "a government of conscience" using cameras, social media, videos posted to YouTube.

The film is directed by the Egyptian American filmmaker Jehane Noujaim and it is her fifth feature length documentary.

"The Square" is nominated for best feature documentary at this year's Oscars. It won the audience award at the Sundance and Toronto film festivals last year.

Noujaim was occasionally in danger during the uprisings and had her camera and equipment confiscated. Together with several key activists she worked to make a brilliantly shot and edited document of the uprising. These include Khalid Abdalla, the British Egyptian actor and filmmaker, who starred in "The Kite Runner", "United 93" and "Green Zone". He was one of the first to enter Tahrir Square in 2011 and remained through the end until the downfall of Mubarak. Ahmed Hassan, a young protester, and part of the unofficial Square Security, was key to the defense of Tahrir Square in the days leading up to Mubarak’s resignation. Ramy Essam, a young protest singer who was unknown before the revolution is shown performing in Tahrir Square.

The film is made with HD video and the continuity of the images is excellent from the early protests though mass gatherings in the square and the contagious energy of a people who for 30 years have put up with a despot who would not leave. Mubarak's contradictions in his official statements of love of his people are shown through the violence of the police he instructed to attack. At times, Ahmed Hassan is fearful admitting that this is not a revolution but a war.

The social media aspect of his revolution was well documented in western media, but the documentary brilliantly shows this was an organized and grass roots liberation movement that is ongoing.

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