there a right to hack enshrined somewhere in the Second Amendment? One Nobel
Prize nominee believes it should be, as a matter of self-defense in the digital
age. Only the free flow of information can undermine a dictator’s sinister plausible
deniability. When it comes to exposing the truth, she will walk the walk as
well as talk the talk in Cyrus Saidi & Gautam Pinto’s Little Brother (trailer here), a Moving Picture Institute (MPI) supported
film, which has recently been released on iTunes.
country in question is not specifically identified as Iran, but its dictator
bears a passing resemblance to Ahmadinejad and the film is dedicated to
dissident Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi (a classy touch), so you do the math. In
a sense, Little Brother is like a
strictly serious forerunner of The Interview, in which Jane Vidal, an expatriate activist for freedom in all
spheres of life, announces her attention to return to her homeland to challenge
the dictator to a debate. This will not be Lincoln-Douglas or even Buckley vs.
the statist Vidal. Instead, the dictator will do what dictators do, but Jane
Vidal expects no less.
Little Brother does not let the
creeping American leviathan state off the hook either. In fact, she will call
out its dubious surveillance policies during the same extended interview in
which she announces her challenge to the dictator. Although the film is not
based on Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother,
it shares a thematic kinship. However, one gets a sense Saidi and Pinto are far
more outraged by Iran’s restrictions on freedom of thought and expression than
the American Patriot Act, which means they have a sense of perspective.
also have a really good cast. Natalie Brown handles some pretty heavy dialogue
in Vidal’s interview segment, without sounding like a Randian superhero, but is
even more compelling in the grimly inevitable third act. The ever-reliable Stephen
McHattie and his radio voice are also perfectly suited to the subtly hostile
television interviewer. However, Saidi & Pinto’s real ace in the hole is
Nevad Negahban. As he did when playing the cruel husband in The Stoning of Soraya M., Negahban portrays
the dictator with a cunning fierceness that is scary because it is scrupulously
believable and never cartoonishly over-the-top.
Perfect for Rand Paul voters, Little Brother is a provocative film
that cuts across the political spectrum. Fans of dystopian science fiction will
also appreciate its intense performances and the polished cyber-punky look
crafted by cinematographer Rion Gonzales and the production design team.
Recommended for discerning genre and short film viewers, the MPI-supported Little Brother is now available on
Labels: Dystopian Cinema, Moving Picture Institute, Short Films, Stephen McHattie