Storyville

Storyville: If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front

Radio Times
Review by:
Jack Seale

Marshall Curry’s Oscar-nominated documentary reveals the inner politics and motives of the Earth Liberation Front, an American activist group dubbed “eco-terrorists” after they burnt down a series of environmentally unfriendly businesses’ HQs. Founded on interviews with ELF member Daniel McGowan, filmed as he awaited his 2007 trial, it’s a fascinating and, ultimately, thrilling and moving tale of idealists turning to crime and almost outfoxing the authorities, but then imploding as remorse ate them away.

The film deftly paints in shades of grey: the ELF’s strict policy of not harming people is contrasted with the police’s brutal handling even of innocuous demonstrations, and the point is made that, if ever a cause might make you condone tactics as extreme as the ELF’s, looming environmental catastrophe could be it.

About this programme

Documentary about the radical environmental movement, which mounted a campaign of arson attacks against businesses the members accused of causing ecological harm, including timber companies, slaughterhouses and car dealerships. The film tells the story of how one member was recruited and arrested in 2005. Featuring interviews with activists and law enforcement officials.

Cast and crew

Crew

Director
Marshall Curry
Director
Sam Cullman
Categories
Documentary