22 April 2015
10:00am, 2:30pm, 5:00pm, 7:15pm
This Oscar award winning documentary is about the former NSA intelligence analyst and whistle-blower Edward Snowden, shown speaking out personally for the first time about all the staggering things governments are doing to privacy.
Laura Poitras’s film shows extensive interviews with Edward Snowden, conducted in his hotel room in Hong Kong when he first revealed his information to reporter Glenn Greenwald: Snowden contacted him under the handle Citizenfour.
Greenwald wrote about it for Salon, in his book No Place to Hide and for The Guardian. Snowden risked his neck, revealing that despite official statements to the contrary, the US and the UK were widely using their ability to eavesdrop upon every phone call, every email, every internet search, every keystroke. The pre-emptive mining of data has gone beyond suspicion of terrorist activity. As Snowden says: “We are building the biggest weapon for oppression in the history of mankind,” and a martial law for intercepting telecommunication is being created by stealth. This is despite the bland denials of every official up to and including President Obama, whose supercilious claim to have been investigating the issue before the Snowden revelations is brutally exposed by this film.
Snowden himself seems notably calm and reasonable. Where Julian Assange is mercurial, Snowden is geeky and imperturbable, with a laid-back voice that sounds like that of Seth Rogen. Pressure that would have caused anyone else to crack seems to have no real effect on Snowden, and he appears unemotional even as he reveals how he had to leave his partner, Lindsay Mills, in the dark. (She is now living with him in Russia, where he is in exile, a country whose own record on civil liberties provide a scalding irony.)
There are moments of white-knuckle paranoia. The interview is interrupted by a continuous alarm bell; Snowden calls down to reception, who tell him it’s a routine fire drill. Snowden is satisfied by the explanation, but disconnects the phone in case it is bugged. When he types key passwords into his laptop he covers his head and arms in a bizarre shroud, like an old-fashioned photographer, so he can’t be filmed. This is what he calls his “magic mantle of power”. It looks absurd, but it isn’t; Snowden seems as if he both knows what he is doing and appreciates the absurdity of it all.
Meanwhile, governmental forces are ranging against him – and against ordinary citizens making a stand against surveillance.
Directed by Laura Poitros
Running time 114 minutes
“A compelling, real-life thriller that takes us inside the mind of a whistle blower”. Matthew Toomey, ABC Radio Brisbane
“Laura Poitras's Oscar-nominated documentary Citizenfour is proof that you can make an espionage thriller without car chases, bikini babes or martinis”. Stephen Romei, The Australian
The message of the movie is as clear as Siberian ice: Whether you're a Tea Partier, an Occupier or just an ordinary Joe, you might be the next citizen who's stranded in limbo” . Joe Williams, St Louis Post Dispatch
Highlights from the Alliance Française French Film Festival are being screened at Nambour Arthouse Cinema from 1st to 3rd May. Gemma Bovery is the opening night feature film on 1st May at 7:30pm, followed by Elle L'adore and Mommy on Saturday and The New Girlfriend on Sunday. Full details can be found on http://www.scvenuesandevents.com.au/
Don't forget our Special Screening of Foxcatcher on Monday 27 April at 6:30pm only.
The Metropolitan Opera continues with Les Contes D'Hoffman on 11th and 12th April, followed by Iolanta & Duke Bluebeard on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd May.
The Exhibition on Screen series continues with Vincent Van Gogh on 18th and 19th April.
2015 - 1st and 22nd April, 6th and 20th May; 3rd and 17th June.