Saturday, July 13, 2024

Cannes: Julian Assange Film — Lady Gaga interviewed him secretly, iTunes was Warned by Wikileaks they are a backdoor


Cannes got headlines this morning. As Laura Poitras unveiled her Julian Assange doc called “Risk.” Featured is Lady Gaga interviewing Assange with a small camera for personal use. Big revelation: that Wikileaks warned Apple that iTunes could be used as a backdoor for spies to infiltrate computers and phones. Also that Assange staff includes a junior Snowden name Jacob Appelbaum of California who has self exiled.

Poitras, as with “CitizenFour,” her film about Edward Snowden, continues to be a cutting edge political filmmaker with unusual access. In “Risk” we see the backstage of Wikileaks and it’s fascinating. Assange has a staff of committed followers who are devoted to him including Sarah Harrison, who may also be his girlfriend. She’s entranced by him. They all are. He is very much his own cult leader.

“Risk” has many other revelations including footage of Assange’s escape in disguise from British Court to the Ecuador embassy in London. ┬áHe was aided by his mother, who helped turn him into a dark haired biker.

“Risk” is a short film– under 90 minutes– but it’s the prequel to “Citizen Four,” as the Snowden story starts to unfold while Poitras is busy filming Assange. The two films together cannot be underestimated as important documents of how all the whistleblowing and hacking unraveled governments. What surprises me is the zealousness of everyone involved– they don’t seem to understand fully what will — and what did– happen to them as a consequence of their actions.

More to come shortly on Poitras, who is a remarkable filmmaker, and this cast of characters…

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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