By Alex Schlotzer, EFA Board Member
Less than two weeks after its Australian release, CitizenFour today received the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. The film had previously won the British equivalent (BAFTA) as well as a long list of awards from film festivals and critics societies.
I was fortunate enough to catch the Melbourne preview screening earlier this month organised by EFA, Madman and civil liberties councils across Australia and supported by Greens Senator Scott Ludlam.
If you don’t know about Citizenfour let me give you a quick breakdown of this remarkable documentary (from the CitizenFour official website:
“CITIZENFOUR is a real life thriller, unfolding by the minute as Edward Snowden as he hands over classified documents providing evidence of mass indiscriminate and illegal invasions of privacy by the National Security Agency (NSA).”
The documentary is excellent in its use of raw footage. The director uses the very real emotions captured in that raw footage to tell the story. As an observer you’re given front row seats to the events as they unfold from Snowden’s hotel room in Hong Kong.
Rather than inserting herself too much into the documentary, Laura Poitras, becomes the ultimate story teller using raw footage with interesting ways of keeping the narrative moving. The use of music is powerful and seriously contributes to the sense of tension. Even though we already know what happens, it’s a documentary remember, you still feel the urge to call out ‘stay away from the windows and doors”.
You might have remembered reading all about the revelations at the time as stories were being reported in The Guardian and then across the world. This movie gives you an insider’s view of what happened and how.
And more importantly it is a powerful reminder of how governments around the world are capturing more and more of our data and telecommunications without our consent or a warrant. While Australia isn’t mentioned by name in Citizenfour, our governments have been cooperating in global surveillance through the Five Eyes program.
With the Abbott Government attempting to rush through mandatory, society-wide data retention laws, this movie couldn’t have been released at a better time.
You’ll be motivated to take action to make sure your federal Member of Parliament opposes the data retention laws; whether Labor or Liberal/National.
Watch the trailer; then go and you’ll see why Citizenfour is already movie of the year.
CitizenFour is currently showing in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart, Perth and Canberra (and New Zealand!). See a full list of cinemas.
For guidance on contacting your parliamentarians, see our Take Action page.
Support our Citizens, Not Suspects campaign for your chance to win a double pass to see CitizenFour!