A documentary about radical lawyer Willliam Kunstler, William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe makes its local premiere tonight at 7 at the Cleveland Musuem of Art. It screens again at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 14. Here's our review of the film.
William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe
(U.S., 2009) Emily and Sarah Kunstler directed this documentary about their father, the “radical lawyer” famous for defending the “Chicago Seven” and consequently serving hard time for contempt of court (a conviction that was eventually overturned). Kunstler, who led a quiet life in Westchester County before entering the public spotlight, initially worked on house closings and defending people hurt in car accidents. But he quickly grew tired of being a traditional lawyer and eventually joined the ACLU, taking on one controversial trial after another and becoming a celebrity of sorts. Kunstler was in the midst of several major political conflicts including the Attica prison riots and the Wounded Knee standoff, both of which are chronicled in this film. Using footage of old news clips and home movies, the film puts his career in perspective, and as much as it pays tribute to Kunstler, it also provides an excellent lesson in U.S. political history. ***