Movies, Documentary


No Comments 22 February 2015


Let me make a very strong statement:  As a citizen in a democratic country you have the civic duty to see Citizenfour. We need to have a extensive debate how far we want to allow governments collect data on everything we do in the name of helping to prevent some terrorist attack.

There is a tradeoff between privacy and security. Where this balance should be needs to be publically debated and decided instead of spy organizations making this decisions on our behalf. Take automobiles. There is no absolute security. Every year thousands of people die while operating cars and we accept this because the benefits of having automobiles is so great. We would never entertainment the idea that we would give up all car driving in society simple to prevent all fatal automobile accidents. So should we give up all the benefits of personal privacy and personal freedom to prevent that some people dying in a terrorist attack.  I have seen a lot of documentaries over the years.  I do remember ever feeling that there was so much at stake for every one of us as I felt watching Citizenfour. The film traces the days when Ed Snowden decided to become a whistleblower and tell the public about the massive programs by the NSA to collect data on all Americans.  It is gripping even thought the film largely takes place in a hotel room in Honk Kong. It has all the drama of a great spy movie even very little is done. Snowden tells Guardian journalists what the NSA is doing and provides them with the evidence. The film’s goal is to tell the side of Edward Snowden. It does not try to let the government articulate why are going after him so vehemently. You have to decide whether you think Snowden is a criminal or a true patriot who is sacrificing himself for our freedom. I am looking forward to the biography of Obama’s year in the Whitehouse because I think it will be very interesting to hear why he did not stop NSA programs that were outside the scope of the law. I hope it wins an Oscar tonight so more people will go and watch this great film.

Update from Guardian: The film won the Oscar for best documentary

The team were joined onstage by Snowden’s girlfriend, Lindsay Mills. In response to the news, Snowden himself wrote:

“When Laura Poitras asked me if she could film our encounters, I was extremely reluctant. I’m grateful that I allowed her to persuade me. The result is a brave and brilliant film that deserves the honour and recognition it has received. My hope is that this award will encourage more people to see the film and be inspired by its message that ordinary citizens, working together, can change the world.”

Guardian defence correspondent (and Citizenfour star) Ewen MacAskill said:

“Congratulations to Laura Poitras. When she filmed Snowden, Glenn Greenwald and myself in Hong Kong, it never occurred to me she had something as ambitious as CitizenFour in mind.

I did not even give much thought to why she was filming: just assumed she wanted a record of events for some undisclosed reason, maybe a low-budget film to be used by privacy campaigners. It came as a surprise when I finally saw it, the sheer professionalism of it, and I had no doubt from that point she would win an Oscar.

Good news for Laura. Good news too for Snowden: he can treat the Oscar as one of his biggest endorsements yet.”



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