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IF A TREE FALLS is a rare behind-the-curtain look at the Earth Liberation Front, the radical environmental group that the FBI calls America's 'number one domestic terrorist threat.' With unprecedented access and a nuanced point of view, the documentary tells the story of Daniel McGowan, an ELF member who faced life in prison for two multi-million dollar arsons against Oregon timber companies. The film employs McGowan's story to examine larger questions about environmentalism, activism, and terrorism. Written by
One mans terrorist is another mans freedom fighter is and old tired cliché but in this film that quote seems yet again to ring true.
This doc explains why a group of environmentalists started to radicalize when they felt that corporations, police and politicians no longer listen to them.
Their solution? Firebombing various facilities that according to them(later they found that some of their targets really didn't support harm to the environment, but actually the opposite)was posing a threat to the environment.
This solution was extreme, and got the FBIs attention who started investigating their attacks. Slowly but surely FBI was closing the net but biggest question remained, was this domestic terrorism?
And should it be viewed as domestic terrorism?
For a viewer, like me, who never been involved in radical political organizations this film poses a lot of interesting questions, such as how far are you willing to go for your ideals? And also how easy is it to push idealistic youngsters to commit worse crimes then just illegal demonstrations, vandalism etc?
It should be seen by anyone interested in why, how, people regardless of political views easily can be persuaded to commit crimes in order to get their agenda, message, across.
So if you liked docs like Neverland: The Rise and Fall of the Symbionese Liberation Army (2004), The Weather Underground (2002),One Day in September (1999)etc then you should see this one.
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