- Rated: Not Rated
- Run Time: 1 hours, 26 minutes
- Video: Black & White / Color
- Released: April 27, 2010
- Originally Released: 2009
- Label: New Video Group
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Note: Additional interviews and speeches by William Kunstler
- William Kunstler's performance at caroline's comedy club
- Kunstler home movies
- Courtroom audio and archival footage on the Chicago 8 trial, wounded knee, and attica
- Interview with the filmmakers
- Theatrical trailer
- Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo - English
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Sarah Kunstler &
Director of Photography:
Gregory Joey Johnson,
Margaret Ratner Kunstler,
Rev. Vernon C. Mason,
M. Wesley Swearingen,
Madonna Thunderhawk &
New York Times - 11/13/2009
"A refresher course on the history of American left-wing politics in the 1960s and '70s as well as an affectionate personal biography of Kunstler..."
A.V. Club - 11/12/2009
"Emily and Sarah Kunstler's decision to be the voices for their documentary WILLIAM KUNSTLER: DISTURBING THE UNIVERSE makes sense, because the dramatic arc of the film has partly to do with how they reconciled their father's legacy."
Washington Post - 11/20/2009
"[A] fascinating portrait that's part conventional documentary and part highly personal memoir..."
Los Angeles Times - 11/20/2009
"[A]bsorbing....The film provides a rich and entertaining snapshot of America's Vietnam-era zeitgeist and of our nation's sometimes flawed legal system."
Box Office - 11/22/2009
3 stars out of 5 -- "A good percentage of the masses will amass to soak-up this quintessential freedom fighter at his best and most defenseless."
Entertainment Weekly - 12/11/2009
"[A] vivid documentary....[His daughters] don't shy away from their father's showboating ego, or his eagerness to take on any client..." -- Grade: B+
During the second half of the 20th century, William Kunstler was one of the most admired attorneys in America -- and one of the most hated. Kunstler was a man who thrived on controversial cases; in the 1960s, he specialized in defending clients who ran afoul of the law on civil rights and free speech issues, and he spoke on behalf of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Lenny Bruce, members of the Black Panther Party, Native American activists, and prisoner's rights groups. Kunstler found himself in the national media spotlight in 1969 when he defended "the Chicago Eight," activists who were accused of organizing riots during the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention; his flamboyant style in the courtroom fascinated the press, and some believe he soon became as interested in getting his name in the papers and his face on television as he was in the law. In his later years, Kunstler developed a reputation as a man who would defend clients no one else would touch, including drug dealers, accused rapists, organized crime figures, and suspected terrorists, though he remained a passionate advocate of the American legal system. Kunstler's daughters, Emily and Sarah, began asking their famous dad questions about his career and his ideals as children armed with a home movie camera, and they've used some of that footage -- along with vintage newsreels and interviews with Kunstler's friends, foes, and clients -- as the basis for the film WILLIAM KUNSTLER: DISTURBING THE UNIVERSE, a biographical portrait of the man and his legacy. WILLIAM KUNSTLER: DISTURBING THE UNIVERSE received its world premiere at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.
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