The Square (2013 film)

The Square (Al-Midan)
Directed by Jehane Noujaim
Produced by Karim Amer
Starring Khalid Abdalla
Ahmed Hassan
Dina Abdullah
Magdy Ashour
Sherif Boray
Aida Elkashef
Music by Jonas Colstrup
H. Scott Salinas
Cinematography Jehane Noujaim
Muhammad Hamdy
Ahmed Hassan
Cressida Trew
Edited by Christopher de la Torre
Mohammed el Manasterly
Karim Fanous
Pierre Haberer
Pedro Kos
Stefan Ronowicz
Shazeya Serag
Angie Wegdan
Distributed by GathrFilms
Participant Media
Release dates
  • January 18, 2013 (2013-01-18) (Sundance)
  • September 6, 2013 (2013-09-06) (TIFF)
  • October 25, 2013 (2013-10-25) (United States)
Running time
108 minutes[1]
Country Egypt
United States
Language Arabic
Budget $1.5 million[2]
Box office $124,244[3]

The Square is a 2013 Egyptian-American documentary film by Jehane Noujaim, which depicts the ongoing Egyptian Crisis until 2013, starting with the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 at Tahrir Square.[4] The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 86th Academy Awards.[5] It also won three Emmy Awards at the 66th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards, out of four for which it was nominated.


The Square premiered on January 17, 2013 at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award for World Cinema in the documentary category.[4] Due to the ongoing nature of the Egyptian Revolution, Noujaim updated the ending of the film over the summer of 2013.[4] The film was subsequently also named winner of the Kalba People's Choice Award in the documentary category at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.[6] The production is done in the native languages of its cast, and is presented with English subtitles.

The film was released on Netflix and in exclusive locations across the United States on January 17, 2014.[7] The final version was modified to take political developments into the final version, as released on Netflix.

Critical reception

The Square received universal acclaim, currently holding a 100% "fresh" rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes.[8] On Metacritic, the film has an 84/100 rating, indicating "universal acclaim".[9]

A.O. Scott from the New York Times wrote, "The Square, while it records the gruesome collision of utopian aspirations with cold political realities, is not a despairing film. It concludes on a note of resolve grounded in the acknowledgment that historical change can be a long, slow process."[10]

The Chicago Tribune described it as "A compelling inside look at the cascading series of revolutions and counterrevolutions that have shaken Egypt since the beginning of 2011."[11] The Washington Post described it as "elegantly shot and structured, but infused with rough, spontaneous energy; global in its consciousness but intimate in its approach; carefully pitched but emotionally wrenching; deeply troubling but ultimately exhilarating."[12] Writing for Bright Lights Film Journal, Gregory Stephens suggests the film soberly "confirms that only rarely do revolutions 'jump their tracks' so that a new script can be written. ... This disaffection, both spontaneous and stylized, makes good copy, and good theatre. On whether or not it can lead to a new script of how government 'of the people' serves the often conflicting interests of its citizens, the jury is still out."[13]


The Square received the Audience Award for World Cinema Documentary at the 2013 Sundance film festival[14] and the best feature award from the International Documentary Association.[15] It was nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the 2014 Academy Awards.[16] It also won three Emmys, for Outstanding Cinematography for Nonfiction Programming, Outstanding Directing for Nonfiction Programming and Outstanding Picture Editing for Nonfiction Programming.[17][18]


  • Khalid Abdalla
  • Dina Abdullah
  • Magdy Ashour
  • Sherif Boray
  • Aida Elkashef
  • Ramy Essam
  • Ahmed Hassan
  • Bothaina Kamel
  • Khaled Nagy
  • Ragia Omran
  • Salma Saied
  • Ahmed Saleh
  • Pierre Seyoufr
  • Ramy Shaath
  • Timo de Jong
  • Niels Verouden
  • Jesse Dijksma
  • Valesto
  • Willie J
  • TeamO
  • Murk
  • Zaid
  • Abdala
  • Brian Los
  • Hesse
  • Kjoenster
  • Sneert
  • Jaliun


  • Amir Abdalla — co-executive producer
  • Ibrahim Alhusseini — executive producer
  • Daniel Catullo — executive producer
  • Virginia Cromie — associate producer
  • Adam Del Deo — executive producer
  • Gavin Dougan — executive producer
  • Geralyn White Dreyfous — executive producer
  • Jodie Evans — executive producer
  • Stuart Farmer — co-executive producer
  • Maxyne Franklin — executive producer
  • Nicole Guillemet — co-executive producer
  • Muhammed Hamdy — co-producer
  • Alexandra Johnes — co-producer / executive producer
  • Sarah E. Johnson — executive producer
  • Yasmin Kamal — associate producer
  • Pedro Kos — co-producer
  • Clark Langon — co-executive producer
  • Mike Lerner — executive producer
  • Clare Munn — co-executive producer
  • Arif Naqvi — co-executive producer
  • Lisa Nishimura — executive producer
  • Khalil Noujaim — executive producer
  • Tarek Shoeb — co-executive producer
  • Lekha Singh — executive producer

See also


  1. "THE SQUARE (15)". Kaleidoscope Entertainment. British Board of Film Classification. December 20, 2013. Retrieved January 28, 2014.
  2. "The Square (2013) - Box office / business". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved January 28, 2014.
  3. The Square at Box Office Mojo Retrieved January 28, 2014
  4. 1 2 3 "Filmmaker Noujaim Talks Sundance Winner Egyptian Revolution Doc 'The Square,' Updates Ending in Cairo". IndieWire, July 12, 2013.
  5. "The Square - Documentary Feature". ABC. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
  6. "TIFF doc The Square wins People's Choice award". CBC News, September 15, 2013.
  7. "Netflix gets its first Oscars nod with 'The Square'". CNET.
  8. The Square at Rotten Tomatoes Retrieved January 28, 2014
  9. The Square at Metacritic Retrieved July 18, 2015
  10. Scott, A. O. (October 24, 2013). "Brave Optimism of Tahrir Square Meets Other Fierce Forces". The New York Times.
  11. Turan, Kenneth (February 11, 2011). "Documentary The Square, nominated for an Oscar, details life in an Egyptian crossroads". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
  12. Hornaday, Ann (January 16, 2014). "'The Square' movie review: An exhilarating portrait of Egyptian politics". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 6, 2014.
  13. Stephens, Gregory (May 7, 2014). "Recording the Rhythm of Change: A Rhetoric of Revolution in The Square". Bright Lights Film Journal. Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  14. "2013 Sundance Film Festival". Sundance Institute. Retrieved February 6, 2014.
  15. McNary, Dave (December 6, 2013). "'The Square' Takes Top Trophy at International Documentary Awards". Variety. Retrieved February 6, 2014.
  16. "Nominees for the 86th Oscars". Retrieved February 6, 2014.
  18. "Egyptian documentary The Square wins three Emmy awards". Ahram Online. August 18, 2014. Retrieved July 18, 2015.
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