Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Extra Credit Jill Reed

“The Square” is a personal, emotional, and extremely ambitious documentation of the Egyptian people between 2011-2013, when crowds of protestors gathered in Taheir Square. The movie chronicles the personal path of three characters, young revolutionary Ahmed Hassan, his friend Magdy Ashour a devout member of the Muslim Brotherhood, and actor Khalid Abdallah, who returned to Egypt from London at the beginning of the revolution. The Square is the gathering place throughout the entire film where protesters demand first the removal of President Hosni Mubarak, and his successor Mohamed Morsi.

           The movie, “The Square” covers the most significant parts of the uprising with a personal and intimate look at the struggles a group of young activists have and how their stories intertwine. Young Ahmed is extremely charismatic, and the viewers are naturally drawn to his charming smile throughout the film. Magdy is the older gentleman of the group, and is extremely passionate. You feel the family pain when his daughter states “our father can still not get health insurance,” and then the camera cuts to the littlest Ashour son who clearly needs eye surgery. Khalid Abdallah is an actor who comes from two generations of political revolutionaries, he stays in a small apartment near The Square where filmmaker Aida El Kashef and others may sleep and seek refuge from The Square,

            “The Square” tells the story of the uprising of the Egyptian people against it’s corrupted government. The film played a large part in depicting the emotional revolution, but I also felt the movie was a bit “stripped down” to make it more accessible to its audience. Framing and editing should also be considered when watching the movie, filmmakers have the power to manipulate their story one way or another, shaping their truth if they see fit. The process of shaping and bending a film depends on the editing but you hope the process is about the truth, especially on a historical documentary, like this one.

            While watching “The Square” I could not help but compare the movie to the recent events that have taken place right here in the United States. “Fight the powers that be, we have been given no justice,” the crowd shouts across the nation in the Michael Brown, grand jury decision. Bridges have been blocked, highways also blocked and cars set on fire, as protesters struggle with dealing with a very complicated and challenging problem right here in our own country, “racial profiling”.

            According to an article written by David Boaz in USA Today, the violent death of Mohamed Bouazizi in Tunisia, who was just a simple street vendor selling fruits and vegetables from his cart mimics that of Eric Garner. Bouzizi wanted to buy a trust but was harasses daily by “government inspectors” making his life miserable. They shook him down from bribes, took his wares and humiliated him until he finally took his own life. Eric Garner too was a street vendor selling his untaxed cigarettes. Because New York has the country’s highest cigarette taxes for a pack of cigarettes made street vendors sell them on the black market. Eric Garner was a part of this small business world; he sold individual cigarettes on the streets of New York City. He had a long record of arrests; several people on the street had over heard him that day “stop messing with me.” “I am tired of it.” Then, “I cant breath.” An officer of the police department killed him.

            Eric Garner’s death as well as Mohamed Bouaziz’z death has set off waves of protests in the Arab country of Tunisia, and here in the United States. Does the [public have the right to police the police? When the public is viewing the news events that are taking place around the country, are theses events the “social truth?” Or have they been edited to serve the purpose of the storyteller. This could be a very dangerous tool “the camera” if not used truthfully.

            Today, Egyptian demonstrators protest across the country the courts decision to drop all criminal charges against Hosni Mubarak, the president who was removed from power in 2011. On Saturday 2014, the Egyptian court system dropped all charges in “The Square.” The struggle seems to continue for the country and its people.

Works Cited

        Boaz, David. "Eric Garner Could Spark American Spring: Column." USA Today. Gannett, 08 Dec. 2014. Web. 09 Dec. 2014.

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