William Kunstler: Disturbing The Universe (DVD)

I grew up well after the civil rights movement, so my knowledge of history from that era is a little shaky. It is thus great to see that an individual as important as William Kunstler is able to be immortalized in celluloid with the April release of Disturbing The Universe. For those, like myself, that were fuzzy about why exactly William Kunstler was important, the facts are laid out from the get go. Kunstler was a major cog in the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), and gained the most notoriety for taking up the case of the Chicago Seven.

More than that, Kunstler attempted to procure justice for various oppressed groups in the United States, where it be representing the AIM (American Indian Movement), those in charge of the Attica prison riot, or even Weather Underground members. “Disturbing The Universe”, directed by daughters Emily and Sarah, illuminate certain facets of their father’s life that would normally be ignored by those without such an indepth view. This documentary provides viewers with information about all era of Kunstler’s life, using firsthand documents as well as interesting interviews with those ey represented or otherwise touched. While the heavyweights of the scene are given some mic time (Bobby Seale, Jimmy Breslin), Emily and Sarah are careful to include interviews with those individuals that saw Kunstler in a much different life.

This means that a jury member from one of the trials ey worked is present, providing commentary from the “average” American that further establishes Kunstler as someone that worked on many levels to ensure justice was served. This film should be required material for any modern American history class or for those groups that look to change the system from within. The most important lesson that one can take from this DVD is that the system can be changed given enough grit and determination, both of which were qualities that William Kunstler had in spades.

Rating: 8.5/10

William Kunstler: Disturbing The Universe / 2010 Arthouse Films / 85 Minutes / http://www.newvideo.com

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