Thursday, July 10, 2014

Jason goes to Docfest--Day 8

More catching up. This is from June 12th. Almost a month behind on my blogging. Sigh...

But hey, it turns out to work perfectly, since THE INTERNET'S OWN BOY: THE STORY OF AARON SWARTZ is currently playing at the Roxie. And it's a pretty great movie. You may remember Aaron Swartz. If you followed the news you knew him as a hacker who was indicted on several federal hacking charges in 2011 and 2012. Most memorably "stealing" a huge archive of academic literature and sharing it for free online. He became a darling of the "information wants to be free" set, and was vilified by others. And then he died--apparent suicide in his Brooklyn apartment. Well, the movie goes behind the headlines and learns about the young child computer prodigy, his skills, his passions, and his priorities. Especially his passion for civil liberties and freedom, and his view of the Internet as a place where those freedoms could finally flourish in the way he wanted. Perhaps he was naive about that, but there's always something a little admirable about 20-something naive idealism. And this movie is a celebration of that, and an elegy for the Swartz.

Then we went from a 20-something suicide victim to a really depressing film. THE ENGINEER follows the life and work of Israel Ticas, the only forensic criminologist working in El Salvador. In a country wrecked by gang violence that kills hundreds of teenagers, Israel is determined to find all the unmarked graves, discover what he can by examining the bodies, and hopefully bringing the killers to justice. It's a gruesome job, and it destroys his personal life. And the film gives a clear, open-eyed look at exactly how gruesome it is. This is not a pleasant film, and it's not for those who can't stomach the view of several real corpses. But it's an important film about an important man doing an important job.

Total Running Time: 197 minutes
My Total Minutes: 366,290

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