Laura Poitras

Citizenfour

The strange thing is, you know that shirt. You know those glasses and the light stumble and the cut of his hair. You know his face, and you might even know the back of his head, reflected back at you, thanks to an artfully placed hotel mirror. What you don’t know is Edward Snowden, a not entirely blameless mistake that Laura Poitras’ incendiary Citizenfour, an intimate and informative look at the man behind the revelation of some of America’s most unsettling privacy policies (and the subject of so much of its ire). Poitras’ film provides unparalleled (and mostly unfettered) access to Snowden, as the whistleblower himself turned to Poitras before leaving the U.S. and sharing his knowledge (gathered from a stint in the intelligence world) with the world. Documentarian Poitras is uniquely well-suited for the material, and it’s not surprising that someone as canny and clever as Snowden would reach out to her for both assistance and publicity (Poitras frequently reads out emails from Snowden during the film’s early sections, and his understanding of her work and what she can accomplish with it is obvious). Snowden even advises Poitras to wrangle some assistance, specifically naming journalist Glenn Greenwald as a likely accomplice (Greenwald effectively “stars” in the film alongside Snowden and Poitras). Citizenfour is the final entry in Poitras’ trilogy about post-9/11 America (she writes as much during the film’s opening credits) and Poitras’ own experiences with government surveillance and watch lists make her as much a subject of the film as Snowden himself. In some ways, though, we […]

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The USA (United States Artists) is an organization that exists to continually support the work of emerging and established artists here in the United States. Every year, they dole out a grant of $50,000 to artists in several categories, including film. This year’s list includes the brilliant Ramin Bahrani (Goodbye Solo), Natalia Almada (The Other Side), Almudena Carracedo (Made in LA), Cherien Dabis (Amreeka), Anne Lewis (Morristown: In the Air and Sun), Tina Mabry (Mississippi Damned), and Laura Poitras (The Oath). We’re anxious to see what these talents continue to offer. For an interview with Ramin Bahrani, click in this vicinity.

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