Frida Cinema Extends Run of Oscar Contender (Citizenfour) and Opens Another (Foxcatcher)

Edward Snowden in Laura Poitras' Citizenfour.
Edward Snowden in Laura Poitras' Citizenfour.

UPDATE, JAN. 14, 9:46 A.M.: In announcing the run of Citizenfour has been extended, the Frida Cinema only mentions "popular demand" as the motivation. So consider the Oscar nod for the Edward Snowden documentary Thursday a bonus.

Director Laura Poitras expresses elation at the Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary and disappointment that her category does not include the movie about film critic Roger Ebert Life Itself here. The other nominees are Finding Vivian Maier, Last Days in Vietnam, Salt of the Earth and Virunga. Meanwhile, the Frida announced it is opening a multiple Oscar contender tonight.

Steve Carell (with Channing Tatum) is a Best Actor Oscar nominee.
Steve Carell (with Channing Tatum) is a Best Actor Oscar nominee.
Sony Pictures Classics

Foxcatcher has been nominated for Best Director (Bennett Miller); Best Actor (Steve Carell); Best Supporting Actor (Mark Ruffalo); Best Screenplay (E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman); and Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling (Bill Corso and Dennis Liddiard). Their drama is based on the true events surrounding Du Pont heir John du Pont's efforts in hiring Olympic medalists and brothers Mark and Dave Schultz to train U.S. wrestling Olympians--and the notorious tragedy that unfolded years after.

Frida Cinema showtimes:

Upcoming Events

Friday January 16 - 7pm, 9:45pm Saturday, January 17 - 1:30pm, 4:15pm, 7pm, 9:45pm Sunday, January 18 - 1:30pm, 4:15pm, 7pm, 9:45pm Monday, January 19 - 7pm, 9:45pm Tuesday, January 20 - 7pm, 9:45pm Wednesday, January 21 - 7pm, 9:45pm Thursday, January 22 - 7pm, 9:45pm

Click here for tickets.
ORIGINAL POST, JAN. 9, 6:33 A.M.: If you don't know enough about Edward Snowden, don't blame the Frida Cinema in Santa Ana or PBS as they are unwittingly combining to present a triple bill on the former National Security Agency contractor.

Frida Cinema, the presenter of independent, challenging and otherwise unique films at the old Fiesta Twin on Fourth Street in downtown Santa Ana, at 7 tonight kicks off a week-long run of director Laura Poitras' documentary on Snowden, Citizenfour.

Poitras was researching post-9/11 monitoring programs conducted by the U.S. government in January 2013 when she started receiving anonymous encrypted e-mails from "CITIZENFOUR," who claimed to have evidence of illegal covert surveillance programs run by the NSA in collaboration with other intelligence agencies worldwide. Five months later, Poitras and reporters Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill flew to Hong Kong for the first of many meetings with Snowden, which not only produced print and cyber journalism that changed the world but interview footage for Citizenfour.

Since premiering two months ago at the New York Film Festival, Citizenfour has won 18 international awards, including Best Documentary laurels from the International Documentary Association, Los Angeles Film Critics Association and New York Film Critics Circle.

"Citizenfour plays like a thriller as it chronicles a complex and vitally important chapter in our history," reviewer Claudia Puig wrote in USA Today.

(In the interest of full disclosure, Voice Media's Alan Scherstuhl, whose review the Weekly ran, wrote "... in its totality, it's underwhelming as argument or cinema." His review: "Edward Snowden is Citizenfour in Laura Poitras' New Film"; also check out "Citizenfour's Laura Poitras Explains Why Edward Snowden Did It.")

BTW, I can't believe there's a bloody ad before the film's trailer:

Click here for Frida showtimes and tickets, which are $7-$10 (or free if you are a Frida Cinema Black Card member).

A Citizenfour double bill would include the 25-page transcript of a PBS Nova interview of Snowden with an accompanying four-minute video clip excerpt (so maybe that should be a triple bill?).
The interview is part of a larger ongoing investigation by Nova for a new documentary with the working title "CyberWar" that is slated to premiere on PBS some time this year.

The interview with Snowden was conducted June 30, 2014, in a Moscow hotel room by author/journalist James Bamford, who has written extensively on the NSA and whose previous Nova film was "Spy Factory."

"During the interview, Snowden sheds light on the surprising frequency with which cyber attacks occur, their potential for destruction, and what, exactly, he believes is at stake as governments and rogue elements rush to exploit weaknesses found on the Internet, one of the most complex systems ever built by humans," states PBS. "He also expresses his views, in no abstract terms, on what the United States is risking in the quest for dominance on the cyber battlefield."

As part of the promotion, PBS released some Snowden quotes from the unedited transcript, including:

"I think the public still isn't aware of the frequency with which these cyber-attacks, as they're being called in the press, are being used by governments around the world, not just the U.S. But it is important to highlight that we really started this trend in many ways when we launched the Stuxnet campaign against the Iranian nuclear program. It actually kicked off a response, sort of retaliatory action from Iran, where they realized they had been caught unprepared. They were far behind the technological curve as compared to the United States and most other countries. And this is happening across the world nowadays, where they realize that they're caught out. They're vulnerable. They have no capacity to retaliate to any sort of cyber campaign brought against them."

Check out the four-minute video and complete, unedited 25-page transcript of the Edward Snowden interview on the NOVA Next homepage: For the complete written transcript only:

NOVA Next is the Nova program's digital publication that was launched in 2012.

Email: Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!

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