Stage and Screen: The Square somewhat abandoned by us

in Movies

by Stewart Tunnicliff

Tahir Square photo Mosa'ab Elshamy
Tahir Square photo Mosa’ab Elshamy

Been awhile since I have been left horrified and speechless by a documentary.
Knowing the subject of the Egyptian revolution would be hard hitting, I walked
onto a field for the open air showing of and into the turmoil of The Square, a
punchy documentary that left me reeling from aesthetic and narrative
roundhouses.

As Mohammad from Giza in Eqypt iterated in the Q and A after, and as the
documentary proved, the totality of the media reporting was woefully inadequate.
It was almost like the conflict went on too long to garner continued coverage.
The Egyptians were abandoned by the global press as much as the military
abandoned the protestors in this just over an hour and a half personal and
educational docu. The American Eqyptian film director Jahane Noujaim wove
personal narratives from the many sides involved in the conflict in Tahir Square
through striking scenes and stark background facts.

The stories that struck a cord with me the most were Ahmed Hassan and Magdy
Ashour.

Ahmed, a young vocal advocate for the rights of the people, became
increasingly frustrated by the apathy surrounding him, the hypocrisy of the
military, and the divisions caused by the ideologies and shifting stances of the
interested parties. Likewise Magdy was frustrated by the Muslim Brotherhood and
their dealings with the protestors and the military. I still cannot get the
image of Ahmed taking a glancing shot from live rounds used on
the protestors by a military denouncing their usage out of my head. And I am still revolted and rocking from the shock, although not surprised, that American produced nerve gas was used in the hospitals that patched up the injured. Lots of promises were broken and lines crossed in this conflict. There is a roughness to the footage, often shot with hand held cameras. However, as a piece of reportage it is polished enough to have won many accolades, including from the  Sundance and Toronto film festivals.

It is a documentary that at once informs and educates even the most
comprehensively informed of us. For any internationals I would highly recommend
watching the docu, and to any locals to head down to Richard Wagner Hain and
check out the ongoing films being shown by GlobalLE.

As previously mentioned, the event had a Q and A session led by Mohammad Okasha who works with refugees in Leipzig. He told us a little of his story and more about
what followed on from the documentary, as well as answering queries from the
audience. And let’s not forget, despite the dirth of coverage by the media this
conflict still goes on.

Coming from a theatre and performance background, and being a celluloid aficionado, it only seemed right that Stewart aka theLingoGuy pursued this through his other passion of writing. He is also very excited by the theatre and documentary scene developing locally, particularly English Theatre Leipzig, DOK and GlobalLE. However, he keeps an eye on the ground breaking stuff in the Fringe, Slam poetry, Battle Rap and the many fusion genre TV series and films. As you can see, you can expect a diverse palette of stage and screen choices, as well as other passions that he will paint from with his words.

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