Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

"Citizenfour": Edward Snowden Tells Tales of Being Watched 

Tuesday, Oct 21 2014
Comments

Modern documentaries tend to gussy themselves up like a school filly with fancy new ribbons, trying to make the viewer feel like they're watching a tasty narrative film as opposed to eating their cinematic vegetables. Laura Poitras' Citizenfour has no such concerns; it's not adorned with graphics beyond tiny intertitles, occasional IM conversations, and the strangely beautiful gibberish of an encryption code, and for most of the running time the music is a single track from Nine Inch Nails' instrumental Ghosts album. This asceticism is not a bad thing, particularly since the subject is Edward Snowden, and the time period covered is when he famously blew the whistle on the NSA and became persona non grata in America. Citizenfour's centerpiece is Poitras and journalist Glenn Greenwald interviewing Snowden in June of 2013 in Hong Kong — the image you have in your head of Snowden? That's from Poitras' camera — and Poitras lets the footage breathe, particularly as Snowden explains just how thoroughly our government violates the world's privacy. He disappears for much of the second half to go into exile, but his presence remains, particularly as Poitras and Greenwald find their own lives being disrupted. And if Citizenfour ends abruptly, that's only because the real-life story is still far from over.

Tags:

About The Author

Sherilyn Connelly

Comments


Comments are closed.

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Slideshows

  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"