I am continually surprised by the blasé attitude of many young people to the notion of online privacy, and their willingness to give up personal information with little regard to the possible risks to their own security. The chilling documentary Citizen Four about the wide spread surveillance programs of the American and British governments exposed by Edward Snowden should give them pause for thought. To quote Jacob Appelbaum, a young encryption software developer and journalist, who appears in the film lamenting the ambivalence of his generation: 'What used to be called liberty and freedom we now call privacy and we say, in the same breath, that privacy is dead. When we lose privacy, we lose agency, we lose liberty itself. We no longer feel free to express what we think... The myth of the passive surveillance machine is nonsense'. This remarkable film, shot in real time as Snowden revealed before the cameras the extent of the NSA surveillance, is a shocking indictment of political and corporate maleficence. No area of modern digital communication, it seems, is beyond reach. It is ironic that Snowden found asylum in Russia, a country in which the government and the free market enjoy unlimited power and further testament to his courage that he has, in recent weeks, exposed covert surveillance programs operating within Putin’s Russia. This Orwellian nightmare has come about, in part, due to our willing compliance to relinquish personal freedom in exchange for the convenience of modern technology. Snowden’s revelations have forced us to recognise the potential for misuse of this technology, both by governments and corporations, and the need for new strategies to manage the risks involved.
The Knick: Season 1 ($45.95)
This medical drama, directed by Steven Soderbergh, is set in the early 20th century at the Knickerbocker Hospital in New York. The 'Knick' is facing a major upheaval due to poor finances and an exodus of wealthy patients. The one remaining star is the drug addicted Dr Thackery (played by Golden Globe winner, Clive Owen) who along with the hospital staff of surgeons, nurses and other personnel must struggle to keep both themselves and the hospital going. Thackery's new colleague, assistant chief surgeon Dr Algernon Edwards (André Holland), struggles to earn the respect of those around him due to his race.
Wild Tales: Dir. Damián Szifrón ($32.95 Region 2)
A portmanteau film that crosses six stories, focusing on patience and what pushes people over the edge. Set in Argentina, each story stands alone: Pasternak takes place on a plane; The Rats in a restaurant; The Strongest sees road rage run rampant; in Little Bomb follows Ricardo Darin is ground down by petty bureaucracy; A father tries to persuade an employee to take the rap for his son's crime in The Deal; Till Death Do Us Part (pictured on the cover), takes place at a wedding. Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award
White God: Dir. Kornél Mundruczó ($32.95 Region 2)
Set in Budapest. When the teenaged Lilli (Zsofia Psotta) is forced to spend time with her estranged father, he is less than that she has brought her dog Hagen. When he abandons Hagen to the streets Lilli goes on an increasingly desperate search for her lost friend. At the same time the film follows Hagen's life as a stray—avoiding the dog wardens, only to be captured and forced into the terrible world of dog fighting.
The Eichmann Show: Dir. Paul Andrew Williams
The behind-the-scenes true life story of ground-breaking producer Milton Fruchtman and blacklisted TV director Leo Hurwitz (Martin Freeman & Anthony LaPaglia), who, overcoming enormous obstacles, set out to capture the testimony of one of the war's most notorious Nazis, Adolf Eichmann. Filmed at the trial in Jerusalem in 1961, the production became the world's first ever global TV documentary series, where, for the first time, the horror of the camps was heard directly from the mouths of its victims. It was edited daily and broadcast in Germany, America, Israel and 34 other countries. ($32.95, Region 2)