WE ARE LE­GION: THE STORY OF THE HACK­TIVISTS

NOW Magazine - Hot Docs - - Hot Docs Film Fest Guide -

(Brian Knap­pen­berger, USA). 93 min­utes. Subti­tled. Rat­ing: Brian Knap­pen­berger’s film about tech- savvy ac­tivist or­ga­ni­za­tions like Anony­mous, Wik­iLeaks, and LulzSec is a nim­ble, multi-faceted look at the for­ma­tion of lead­er­less global protest move­ments in the last decade or so.

En­abled by the web’s con­nec­tiv­ity and pro­tected, mostly, by its anonymity, the hack­tivists are a fluid and ef­fec­tive force – though, as Knap­pen­berger points out, their in­evitably self- right­eous world view means they keep splin­ter­ing apart as some mem­bers seize upon a new cause in which oth­ers aren’t in­ter­ested.

Knap­pen­berger sees hack­tivism as pos­i­tive – restor­ing the net to a con­vuls­ing Egypt dur­ing the Arab Spring, for ex­am­ple – but doesn’t shy away from the per­sonal cost of arm­chair ac­tion, as when a Ne­braska man finds him­self fac­ing fed­eral prison time for help­ing take down the Church of Scientology’s web­site over a week­end in 2008.

Speak­ing of Scientology, this film will also be a great help to any­one won­der­ing why all those peo­ple in Guy Fawkes masks keep lin­ing up in front of the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s of­fices on Yonge Street. May 1, 6:15 pm, Bloor Hot Docs Cin­ema; May 3, 3 pm, TIFF Bell Light­box 1; May 5, 7 pm, TIFF Bell Light­box 1.

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