Early June of 2013 Edward Jospeh “Ed” Snowden leaked confidential information from National Security Agency (NSA). For this act of information disclosure Snowden was called a whistleblower, a hero, a dissident, a patriot and even a traitor. Six months before the official leak Snowden was actively contacting with Laura Poitras who is an American documentary film director and producer. Laura Poitras knew the whistleblower as a “senior government employee” as well as Citizenfour and was communicating with the unknown person through encrypted e-mails as he was preparing the director for the shocking information leak that had no precedence. Later on the government employee asked Laura Poitras to help him spread the confidential information around the world.
Laura Poitras directed a two hour long movie that tells a story of Edward Snowden, how he managed to leak information to the public and how he lived in various countries including Hong Kong and Russia. The movie is named Citizenfour expressing the anonymity that Edward Snowden had to maintain while organizing the leakage of the information that later on shocked the world. Laura Poitras, using the experience she has obtained while working with Edward Snowden, made a great job of making an impactful movie that clearly reflects Snowden’s personality and motivations to the public.
Citizenfour starts with a scene of going through a very dark traffic tunnel that symbolizes the channel that connected Poitras and the mysterious senior government employee. The first sentences said in the movie are those from the letters that Snowden has written to Laura Poitras. The letter is read by the director herself perfectly reflecting the emotions that she was overwhelmed with when she read the letters for the first time herself. The letter that is read in the beginning of the movie is not the only one as more letters are read through out the movie. These letters take a huge part in creating an atmosphere that is both intriguing and educating at the same time making two hours the movie lasts just fly by without a notice. Snowden’s letters alone could be considered part of history as they contain a crucial information about the plans to instigate the biggest information leak from NSA or any other official organization up to this day.
You should be expecting to find a controversial information watching this movie. Laura Poitras decided to edit the movie in Berlin in case US official would decide to seize the source material of the movie since it might cause an uproar in the society when they are introduced to the methods NSA is using to spy people.
The information you are introduced while watching the movie should raise awareness of your personal information security and make you consider what measures you can take to protect your identity from the organizations that are interested in knowing every detail of your personal life. In our opinion one of the most practical and reliable way to strengthen your own privacy is to use a VPN.
Citizenfour is set to open in theaters on October 24 and we recommend everyone to not miss an opportunity to watch the story of a man risking everything he has to inform others about the severity of disregard that government and other official organizations have towards a simple unaware citizen’s privacy and rights.