Maddie Oatman

Maddie Oatman

Research Editor

Maddie worked as a travel guide in Argentina and a teacher at several educational nonprofits in San Francisco before joining Mother Jones. She’s also written for Outside, the Bay Citizen, and the Rumpus. A proud Boulder native, she makes time for mountain climbing, stargazing, and telemark skiing.

Get my RSS |

How the Artists of "The Square" Fueled Egypt's Revolution

| Sat Jan. 11, 2014 6:00 AM EST

Jehane Noujaim's The Square, which won an audience award at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and is on the shortlist for an Oscar this year, delivers a fierce and frenetic portrait of life on the Cairo streets during two years of Egypt's ongoing political unrest. Based on more than 1,600 hours of footage, the film tags along with several revolutionaries—among them Ahmed, a fiery grassroots activist, Magdy, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, and Khalid, a foreign-born actor—as they struggle against a suffocating regime and attempt to breathe new life into Egypt's governance.

The Square made headlines when it became Netflix's first major film acquisition—it will stream exclusively through the service starting January 17—and also because its only scheduled public screening in Egypt was canceled at the last minute. The country's censorship board still hasn't give Noujaim, whose past work includes Control Room and Rafea: Solar Mama, permission to screen the film in public.

The doc's narrative arc initially hinged on the deposition of Hosni Mubarak and subsequent election of Mohamed Morsi as president. But history is often messier than we would wish to tell it. In January 2013, as Noujaim scrambled to meet her Sundance deadlines, she learned that her main characters "were back in the streets again saying, 'Morsi is using the tools of democracy to create another dictatorship.'" The story wasn't over.

Advertise on MotherJones.com

Wed Sep. 24, 2014 12:24 PM EDT
Mon Sep. 1, 2014 5:00 AM EDT
Wed Mar. 19, 2014 5:00 AM EDT
Sat Oct. 12, 2013 5:00 AM EDT
Thu Sep. 19, 2013 1:27 PM EDT
Mon Jul. 1, 2013 4:46 AM EDT
Fri Jun. 14, 2013 2:39 PM EDT
Mon Apr. 22, 2013 4:30 AM EDT
Mon Feb. 18, 2013 6:11 AM EST
Fri Feb. 8, 2013 6:42 PM EST
Sun Dec. 23, 2012 6:11 AM EST
Wed Nov. 7, 2012 3:10 PM EST
Tue Nov. 6, 2012 6:52 PM EST
Mon Oct. 29, 2012 5:03 AM EDT
Wed Oct. 17, 2012 5:03 AM EDT
Wed Sep. 26, 2012 5:00 AM EDT
Mon Sep. 3, 2012 5:00 AM EDT
Tue Jun. 26, 2012 4:48 PM EDT
Tue May. 15, 2012 3:45 PM EDT
Tue Mar. 20, 2012 5:00 AM EDT
Mon Feb. 20, 2012 6:00 AM EST
Thu Feb. 2, 2012 5:10 AM EST
Mon Dec. 19, 2011 5:30 AM EST
Mon Dec. 5, 2011 6:00 AM EST
Wed Nov. 23, 2011 4:33 PM EST
Fri Oct. 28, 2011 5:48 PM EDT
Tue Jun. 28, 2011 7:49 PM EDT
Mon Jun. 20, 2011 5:20 AM EDT
Tue May. 24, 2011 12:00 PM EDT
Fri Dec. 26, 2014 6:15 AM EST