April 1, 2015

The whole world is outside this room


Citizenfour (Laura Poitras, 2014). “One day we will know everything.” The hotel room is a non-place, it could be anywhere in the world, and it is probably brighter than you pictured (did you think the curtains would be closed?). The whistleblower appears abruptly in the story and disappears just as abruptly. The narrator and director is never on camera. Sometimes they are just initials in messages, or off-screen voices. Journalist Glenn Greenwald is the most willing to put himself in the public eye, perhaps the most able to bear the weight. Over the course of those strange days in Hong Kong, the outside world slowly closes in, until it is right at the door.