If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front

5 Feb

if_a_tree_falls
If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front | 2011 |
Directors: Marshall Curry & Sam Cullman | Site | IMDB

his_4_5_star_rating
Nominated for an Academy Award for best documentary, If a Tree Falls, is the story of “Eco Terrorist” Daniel McGowen and the creation and destruction of the Earth Liberation Front. Through first hand interviews Daniel tells his story of being an average college kid turned activist to being arrested and labeled an eco terrorist. Very reminiscent of The Weather Underground, this film walks you through the creation of the Earth Liberation Front and through each act of arson and property destruction. Documentaries ride a very thin line of being exceptional, moving and causing awareness. If a Tree Falls manages to effortlessly fall on the right side of this problem. This film is able to bring you to understand both sides of the equation sympathetically. You are left feeling sorry for the businesses that suffered the wrath of the Earth Liberation Front while watching video after video of police and local law enforcement attacking and beating peaceful protestors. The E.L.F.’s issues were important and deserved to be publicly debated; but were swat down at every turn. The hypocrisy of each side has its points shown as well. A great sub-story to this film is the government’s destructive overuse and qualification of terrorism. It has become the government’s golden ticket for ridding the U.S. of anything it deems unlawful or having a strong opposing view. Daniel’s story will move you and rightfully hit you in the pit of your stomach. What do you do when the thing you love is being destroyed?

hers_four_star_rating
This documentary gives you a rare behind the scenes look at the extreme environmental group the Earth Liberation Front. Its focus is on Daniel McGowan, a former member of the E.L.F. McGowen tells the story of what he is going through while possibly facing over two life sentences in prison. I thought this documentary was great because it really opens up the argument on what is considered terrorism and what a person would do to protect something they love and believe in. The Environmental Liberation Front set over ten fires in the American northwest. No deaths ever occurred. They made sure that nobody would be hurt. For all intents and purposes they were only trying to be heard. Due to the fact several other local environmental groups were getting pepper sprayed, beaten and arrested during their non-violent protests. The FBI gave the E.L.F. the label of “Eco-Terrorists” and tricked the members into confessing. Thus bringing the group down and arresting its members roughly 5 years after it had been dismantled. This documentary was well done and gave great insight into a group who was wrongly labeled as terrorists.

If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front Trailer

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