William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe

2009

Radical attorney William Kunstler is best remembered for having defended the Chicago Seven, but his daughters Emily and Sarah, who produced and directed this fascinating portrait, have dramatically different memories of him. Born in the 70s—when Kunstler was pushing 60 and starting a family with a second, younger wife—Emily and Sarah recall most vividly their father's even more controversial career as a criminal defense attorney in New York City, representing organized crime figures, alleged terrorists, and Yusef Salaam, charged in the infamous 1989 gang rape of a Central Park jogger. Amateur video and audio recordings of Kunstler being interviewed by his little girls in the 80s establish a touching intimacy that informs the admiring accounts of his more celebrated political cases (involving the 1968 Democratic Convention, the 1973 incident at Wounded Knee, and the Attica Prison riot). But the first-person approach pays off most handsomely near the end, as the directors try to come to terms with their father's later defense of less defensible clients. 86 min.

Film Credits

Official Site: www.disturbingtheuniverse.com

Director: Emily Kunstler and Sarah Kunstler

Producer: Emily Kunstler, Sarah Kunstler, Jesse Moss and Susan Korda

Cast: William Kunstler, Herman Badillo, Dennis Banks, Harry Belafonte, Clyde Bellecourt, Father Daniel Berrigan, Phil Donahue, Jimmy Breslin, Alan Dershowitz and Elizabeth Fink

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