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The Square reveals ground-level realities of Tahrir

There is much we can't see from an aerial view of Tahrir (Jehane Noujaim)

There is much we can't see from an aerial view of Tahrir (Jehane Noujaim)

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Even those with a cursory understanding of the historic events unfolding in Egypt are likely familiar with Tahrir Square. The public gathering space in Cairo became symbolic of the revolution, as thousands of citizens pushed for the ouster of longtime president Hosni Mubarak.

But the strongman's ouster was far from the end of the story, as we now know.

Filmmaker Jehane Noujaim and film subject Khalid Abdalla join Jian to discuss the joys and difficulties of shooting The Square, a documentary which follows the activism that spread in the street and across social media from 2011 onward.

Noujaim not only provides a ground-level view of a gathering space often shot from an aerial view, but also zooms in to individual stories -- of rich and poor, secular and religious Egyptians -- that may otherwise be lost in panoramic photos of the crowd.

"Everybody on this crew got shot at, arrested at some point, or chased down the street ... but everyone would have been there anyway," said Noujaim. 

The film, which won an Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival before it was even completed, will screen at this year's Toronto International Film Festival. Film buffs there can visit the official TIFF site for showtimes and tickets.

Tahrir earlier this year


Thousands of Egyptians converged on Tahrir Square to mark the revolution's second anniversary on January 25, 2013. Our friends at CBC News put together a gallery of those images.
 

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