directed by Laura Poitras, USA 2016, 87'
Oscar winner (for Citizenfour) Laura Poitras’s most personal film, a portrait of the man behind WikiLeaks, Julian Assange. Filmed over six years, the true subject appears to be the increasingly ambivalent relationship between the artist and her subject. The director’s unprecedented access to the man who changed the face of global journalism—we even see Assange in disguise before seeking refuge at the Ecuadorian Embassy—resulted in a documentary so sincere that it even drew protests from its main protagonist. “I thought I could ignore the contradictions. I thought they were not part of the story. I was so wrong. They are becoming the story,” says Poitras. A fascinating story about power and truth, betrayal and sacrifice, played out in a tense, paranoid atmosphere, as a world in which secrets are stolen away from governments is also a world of absolute surveillance, which both Assange and Poitras know all too well. In 2015, as a result of a lawsuit, the US government was forced to reveal more than a thousand pages of material that its intelligence services had collected about the director.