WE ARE LEGION: THE STORY OF THE HACKTIVISTS
(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.