Cinema Politica Mondays: Documentary film (T)error reveals FBI entrapment methods

Terror FBI

(T)error is a documentary that shows how the FBI keeps itself in business by using informers and infiltrators to create “terrorists” it can then arrest. Neat trick, huh? This has been going on for decades, but things were stepped uo considerably after 9/11. Montrealers, I suggest that you watch this film tonight, at 7, at Concordia University. Friends in other cities, I hope that you have a chance to see it, too.
There are many positive reviews of (Terror on the Internet, one is by Peter Debruge of Variety. It begins with this: “A vital expose of American law enforcement carried out with almost reckless zeal, Lyric R. Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe’s “(T)error” pushes the boundaries of documentary ethics, plunging itself into the middle of an active FBI sting operation while playing both sides in an attempt to understand — and by extension, to reveal — how the U.S. government identifies and apprehends terror suspects.”

Debruge’s review ends this way:  “The FBI may seem all-powerful and intimidating, but by focusing on an imperfect in-the-trenches personality like (informant Saeed) Torres, who does it for the money at great cost to his own conscience, the film stresses just how fallible the system is — and the urgent need to police it more closely.”

The headline on Alan Scherstuhl’s review for the Village Voice says that the films is “Absurd And Revealing.” Yessiree! He goes on to say: “The war on terror bumbles home in Lyric R. Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe’s amusing and dismaying portrait of incompetence and entrapment. Former Black Panther Saeed “Shariff” Torres has been pressed into service as an FBI informant, tasked with cozying up to American Muslims the Bureau finds suspicious — and then doing whatever he can to confirm his overseers’ assumptions. This time, the 63-year-old is dispatched to Pittsburgh to investigate Khalifa al-Akili, a convert Torres doesn’t believe is a threat: ‘That dude ain’t gonna bust a grape.’ ”

“Soon things go from sadly dumb to dizzyingly absurd, a surveillance-age roundelay. . . Inevitably, this tense comedy dips into tragedy, with our fearful intelligence agencies getting everything wrong and the filmmakers using their rare access to chart each mistake as it happens.”
(T)error will be shown at 7 p.m., Monday, Nov. 9, 2015, in Room H-110 of the Hall Building at Concordia University, 1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W. It’s a pay-what-you-can event, with suggested amounts ranging from $5 to $10.

(T)error was directed by David Felix Sutcliffe and Lyric R Cabral. Sutcliffe will answer questions afterwards, via Skype, or something like it. I already have several in mind!

For more information, visit the Cinema Politica Facebook page for the event.

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