CitizenFour @ Luna feat. Scott Ludlam and Friends
There was an obvious elephant in the room;
for a generation whose identity and everyday routine is now intrinsically immersed in technology, a force that we can no longer live without, the consequences and dangers of big brother style surveillance are now a reality. And this concern is not just shared by everyday citizens but is now at the fore front of political agendas around the world, as pointed out by the Q&A panelists, with Greens Senator Scott Ludlam ferociously attacking the data retention laws being pushed by the Abbott Government.
And after viewing Citizenfour, why would anyone want to support laws that turn our most valued asset of privacy into accessible data. Though one may feel the surrealism of concepts such as mass surveillance, feeling protected and safe from the fictional hands of interception, this documentary deals us with a huge blow through its insight into the reality and modern day 1984 and in doing so leaving us violated and haunted at what power and world’s governments are capable of.
Even I could not fathom how engrossed and underprepared I was before watching CitizenFour and how well Laura Poitras captures Snowden, in what felt like a very intimate and close to home encounter. Even though we’ve all heard and seen Snowden, one can’t help but feel edgy when he’s sitting on the screen in his trademark white tshirt and rimless glasses, looking terrified for what he’s seen and experienced and what we world class citizens are blissfully unaware of.
The documentary is remarkable in its execution and journalistic integrity;
providing the audience a real insight into the issues of surveillance, privacy and power whilst successfully summing up the debates and information that we have been bombarded with since the leaks began. The added elements bring this home, whether it be the palpable nervousness of Snowden on screen or the eerily intimate hotel scenes. And just like any good film, the moments of humour make this documentary even more relatable - Snowden taking his hotel room’s sheets to cover himself in order to avoid ‘visual surveillance’ is one I was quite fond of.
The audience, blissfully so, is already wary of government surveillance and data retention but the crafty execution and cinematography definitely plants seeds of paranoia into anyone who watches Citizenfour. However, I couldn’t help but feel this was never the motive of Laura or Snowden, but moreso to show the world the potential of the Internet, the dangers of abuse and that now is the time that we should tread more carefully with our digital selves.