Location: Redstone Theater
With director Laura Poitras and cinematographer Kirsten Johnson in conversation
Dir. Laura Poitras, 2010, 90 mins. 35mm. Laura Poitras’s gripping documentary thriller tells the knotty intertwined stories of Abu Jandal, a Yemeni taxi driver who was once Osama bin Laden’s bodyguard, and his brother-in-law Salim Hamdan, a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay Prison and the first man to face the controversial military commissions. The charismatic Jandal makes for a fascinating and enervating documentary subject—he’s both protagonist and antagonist, enlightening and untrustworthy. Meanwhile the unseen Hamdan’s seven-year captivity is narrated through his prison letters, and his undeserved predicament stands in stark contrast with Jandal’s reluctance to completely disavow his jihadism. Nonfiction film at its rigorous, unpredictable best, The Oath alights on everything from Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, 9/11, Guantanamo, the F.B.I. and the U.S. Supreme Court. Nominated for four Cinema Eye Honors awards, and winner of Best Director for Poitras.
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