Winter 2015 Documentary series
Wednesday, February 18, 2015 at 7:00pm
Directed by Laura Poitras
Starring Jacob Appelbaum, Glenn Greenwald, and Edward Snowden
Rated PG ·
USA / Germany
German, Portuguese, and English
Citizenfour is a real life thriller, unfolding by the minute, giving audiences unprecedented access to filmmaker Laura Poitras and journalist Glenn Greenwald’s encounters with Edward Snowden in Hong Kong, as he hands over classified documents providing evidence of mass indiscriminate and illegal invasions of privacy by the National Security Agency (NSA).
Poitras had already been working on a film about surveillance for two years when Snowden contacted her, using the name “Citizenfour,” in January 2013. He reached out to her because he knew she had long been a target of government surveillance, stopped at airports numerous times, and had refused to be intimidated. When Snowden revealed he was a high-level analyst driven to expose the massive surveillance of Americans by the NSA, Poitras persuaded him to let her film.
Citizenfour places you in the room with Poitras, Greenwald, and Snowden as they attempt to manage the media storm raging outside, forced to make quick decisions that will impact their lives and all of those around them. It not only shows you the dangers of governmental surveillance—it makes you feel them. After seeing the film, you will never think the same way about your phone, email, credit card, web browser, or profile, ever again.
Citizenfour is the final part of a trilogy of films about post-9/11 America, including My Country, My Country, which was nominated for an Academy Award in 2007, and The Oath.
“Citzenfour is prosaic in its presentation and profoundly chilling in its details, and if you think Snowden is a traitor, you should probably see it. If you think he’s a hero, you should probably see it. If you haven’t made up your mind—well, you get the idea.” (Ty Burr, Boston Globe)
“This is a movie primarily concerned with numbers and the way that information is fed, processed, and acted upon. But it plays like the greatest paranoid thriller since All the President’s Men.” (Drew Taylor, The Playlist)
“Though superlatives can mischaracterize any movie’s qualities, it is not an overstatement, I think, to call Citizenfour, Laura Poitras’ film about Edward Snowden, the movie of the century (to date).” (Godfrey Cheshire, RogerEbert.com)