Part of the series The Contenders 2014

Citizenfour with Elizabeth Losh

  • This is a past program

In early 2103, Oscar-nominated filmmaker and erstwhile Homeland Security watchlist designee, Laura Poitras was working on the third in a what was to be a trilogy on the ramifications of post-9/11 wars and policies when she received encrypted emails from an anonymous source identified only as "citizen four". What followed proved to be an unveiling of covert surveillance on a previously unimaginable scale, and a massive news story. The central protagonist was an American freelancer for the NSA named Edward Snowdon. Poitras first exposed his face to the world, through a short video statement released in tandem with initial articles by journalist Glenn Greenwald.  What was not exposed at that time was just how incredibly articulate and charismatic a figure Snowden is, nor the full scale of the real-life thriller that the release of the documents created. There is more tension in the eight days spent in a small hotel room in Hong Kong than in the sweeping arcs of most political thrillers in contemporary cinema today.  Essential viewing for anyone concerned with the implications of a "security-society" as well as lovers of great documentary filmmaking.

A Q&A with Elizabeth Losh, Director of the Culture, Art & Technology program at UCSD, follows the screening.


$15 General Admission 
$10 Members with valid discount code 

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The Contenders

Selected from major studio releases and top film festivals by curators in MoMA's Department of Film, selections shown in The Contenders represent the best of mainstream movies, independents, foreign-language films, documentaries, and art-house sensations. Now in its seventh year, the series highlights films that are contenders for lasting historical significance, often with special appearances by directors and actors. 

This film program is organized by Rajendra Roy, the Celeste Bartos Chief Curator of Film, and Sean Egan, Producer, Film Exhibitions and Projects, The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

The Hammer Museum’s presentation is made possible by Tiffany & Co. and The Billy and Audrey L. Wilder Foundation.

Media sponsorship is provided by The Hollywood Reporter.