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Citizenfour (2014)

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9/10: "Oh what joy, in the...
Monday, November 10, 2014

"Oh what joy, in the open air freely to breathe again!" Citizenfour begins in a tunnel with dim overhead tubing. The scene is disorienting for we don't know exactly where we are.A.O. Scott of the Times suggests that Laura Poitras' tightly edited documentary might presage a "dystopian allegory." It might also represent a birth canal through a new born will emerge.And then suddenly bright sunshine bursts into view. For, the exciting first scenes of Citizenfour promises the same exhilaration of freedom that Beethoven's opera Fidelio's "Prisoners Chorus" as prisoners emerge from the bowels of prison, into the light of day and gleefully sing "Oh what joy, in the open air freely to breathe again!" Monday, June 3, 2013 is the day the world of the National Security Council (and other intelligence agencies) secrecy metaphorically died as Edward Snowden let loose on the world the dirty little secrets that the US government, through the abuse...

10/10: Not Even Le Carré or...
Saturday, January 24, 2015

Not Even Le Carré or Ludlum Could have Imagined This Unbelievably Mesmerising Thrill Ride Once in a while a film comes along that is so unbelievably gripping and thought provoking that you can't help but be stunned by the knowledge and changed by the experience. Add in to that, a true story whereby the events unfold in real time and with accurate precognition, and you have yourself one hell of a documentary. Titled after the pseudonym used by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, CITIZENFOUR is that story and it's all that and more. So much more.Documented around the eight days political filmmaker Laura Poitras (MY COUNTRY, MY COUNTRY) spent filming Snowden's June 2013 interviews with journalists Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill, CITIZENFOUR is a front row seat to the NSA's cat-and-mouse hunt for Snowden after he divulges evidence of the NSA's covert global surveillance programs in his Hong Kong hotel.Poitras was already...

9/10: Watching history unfold before our...
Thursday, November 20, 2014

Watching history unfold before our eyes We all know that, in today's world, telling the truth may set you free, but it can also make you an inmate or a corpse. Activist folk singer Joan Baez, however, reminds us that, "Courage has to do with being afraid and doing what you have to do anyway." It is a fitting description of whistleblower Edward Snowden, whose story is told by the Oscar-nominated American filmmaker Laura Poitras (My Country, My Country) in her intimate and intense documentary Citizenfour. Snowden, a 29-year-old former NSA contractor and intelligence analyst, aware of the serious personal and legal consequences, nevertheless exposed the fact that the government, in the name of fighting terrorism, was spying on all American citizens and those of other countries, in every area of their lives, whether they were suspected of wrongdoing or not.According to Snowden, he was able to access anyone's records, bypassing codes, passwords and...

9/10: Snowden, the man who cried...
Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Snowden, the man who cried wolf? Hero or...something else?! Amidst the ho-hum rhythm of the big holiday blockbusters endlessly marching to the drumbeat of massive audiences (myself included)sits this year's most important movie, and I daresay of many, many years...that movie is "Citizenfour"(it being Edward Snowden's on-line alias).Though the analogy to George Orwell's bone-chilling novel, his piece de resistance on oppression and authoritarianism, "1984", has already been made ad nauseam, I would not exaggerate that after seeing this movie, you might just end up feeling as if you already inhabit the dreadful world soo vividly and painstakingly depicted by Orwell, miserable by miserable detail. I know I did once I walked out of the movie theatre. That was until my brain and sense of self was once again taken prisoner and atrophied by the banalities of daily life, which consume soo much of our personal existence these days. Mea...

10/10: After seeing "Citizenfour", you will...
Tuesday, December 9, 2014

After seeing "Citizenfour", you will have to remind yourself that this was not a work of fiction. Citizenfour Scores a 10If you never want to see a bad film in the theater again, I suggest you limit your viewing to documentaries. They are far better on average than fictional fare. Case in point: "Citizenfour." "Citizenfour" tells the story of Edward Snowden's leak of NSA documents. Those documents reveal how our government, with the cooperation of major telecom and internet companies, has been surveilling our electronic communications. Moreover, our government has been spying on electronic communications around the world. You might ask, "Haven't they been doing this for years?" Yes, they have, but that was mainly (not exclusively, unfortunately) when there was probably cause, a warrant, or a history of criminal activity of the target. They have now been looking at everyone's communications without cause, and this can have a chilling effect on private communications and thought, journalism...

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