William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe | Chicago Reader

William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe

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.



  • Emily Kunstler
  • Sarah Kunstler


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


  • Emily Kunstler
  • Sarah Kunstler
  • Jesse Moss
  • Susan Korda

What others are saying

  • Add a review


    Select a star to rate.