This is a post by JBFC Website and Membership Assistant Nicole Testa
Director Laura Poitras was working on a documentary about surveillance –the third film in a trilogy about post 9/11 America. The first film, My Country, My Country focuses on the US occupation of Iraq, while the second film The Oath follows two men involved with Al-Qaeda in different ways. At the time, Poitras was known by many for seeking the truth and digging deep – and one person in particular wanted her on his side for his own search for knowledge.
Two years into making her film on surveillance and intelligence, Poitras was contacted by an anonymous source identifying himself only as “Citizenfour.” Citizenfour needed her help to expose just how out of control U.S surveillance was getting, and how personal privacy was diminishing at an alarming rate. She bit – and a new movie was born.
Citizenfour follows Edward Snowden through the first few days of his revelations unfolding from Hong Kong, to his eventual asylum in Russia. What happens in between these two points feels like a masterfully orchestrated crime film – until one remembers that this is real life. Poitras takes us through the days of frenzy following Snowden’s exposing the extent of media surveillance – the cameras, the drones, the spying. Contrasting with this frenzy is Snowden himself. He is calm, logical. He accepts the personal responsibility that this reveal affords him, and seems mainly concerned that the truth is exposed, but with personal freedoms intact.
Citizenfour is not the glorified story of a hero. It’s a beautiful, startling portrait of life in modern society, a portrait of a man who decided to take action – and now we are the ones looking in on him.
Citizenfour opens Friday, October 31 at the Burns for one week only. Tickets are available now.