Laura Poitras' Bafta and Oscar-winning documentary CITIZENFOUR is now available on DVD. Also available today is THE 9/11 TRILOGY, collating Poitras' previous films MY COUNTRY, MY COUNTRY and THE OATH with CITIZENFOUR as well as exclusive extra material.
In January 2013, filmmaker Laura Poitras was several years into the making of a film about abuses of national security in post-9/11 America when she started receiving encrypted emails from someone identifying himself as “CITIZENFOUR,” who was ready to blow the whistle on the massive covert surveillance programs run by the NSA and other intelligence agencies. In June 2013, she and reporter Glenn Greenwald flew to Hong Kong for the first of many meetings with the man who turned out to be Edward Snowden. She brought her camera with her. The film that resulted from this series of tense encounters is absolutely unique in the history of cinema: a 100% real-life thriller unfolding minute by minute before our eyes.
My Country, My Country
Working alone in Iraq over eight months, director/cinematographer Laura Poitras creates an extraordinarily intimate portrait of Iraqis living under U.S. occupation. Her principal focus is Dr. Riyadh, an Iraqi medical doctor, father of six and Sunni political candidate. An outspoken critic of the occupation, he is equally passionate about the need to establish democracy in Iraq, arguing that Sunni participation in the January 2005 elections is essential. Yet all around him, Dr. Riyadh sees only chaos, as his waiting room fills each day with patients suffering the physical and mental effects of ever-increasing violence. Dramatically interwoven into the personal journey of Dr. Riyadh is the landscape of the US military occupation, with Australian private security contractors, American journalists and the UN officials who orchestrate the elections. Unfolding like a narrative drama, MY COUNTRY, MY COUNTRY follows the agonizing predicament and gradual descent of one man caught in the tragic contradictions of the U.S. occupation of Iraq and its project to spread democracy in the Middle East.
The Oath tells the story of Abu Jandal, Osama bin Ladens former bodyguard, and Salim Hamdan, a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay Prison and the first man to face the controversial military tribunals. Filmed in Yemen and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, THE OATH is a family drama about two men whose fateful encounter in 1996 set them on a journey that would lead to Osama bin Laden, 9/11, Guantanamo Bay Prison, and the U.S. Supreme Court. The film begins as Salim Hamdan is set to face war crime charges at Guantanamo, and Abu Jandal is a free man and drives a taxi in Yemen.
We enter the story in a taxicab in Yemen. Here we meet Abu Jandal, the films central protagonist, as he transports passengers through the chaotic streets of Yemens capital city, Sanaa. Salim Hamdan is the films ghost protagonist. He was arrested in Afghanistan shortly after 9/11 and taken to Guantanamo. His seven-year captivity at Guantanamo is narrated through his prison letters.