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American Anarchist

Charlie Siskel
USA 2016 / 80’
A German Youth Brexitannia

William Powell, the author of The Anarchist Cookbook,called his work years later the misguided product of [his] adolescent anger. Written by a 19-year-old rebel and published in 1971, the book contained instructions on how to build a bomb, blow up a bridge, decapitate someone using piano wire, tap a phone, and make a Molotov cocktail or LSD at home. At the heart of Siskel's documentary is a moving confession by this former anarchist, who, in revising his own life and beliefs, sometimes gets into a violent confrontation with the director. Powell accepts responsibility and then rejects it when Siskel cites a series of tragic events: the Columbine and Denver school shootings, the bombing in Oklahoma City, and attacks on the London subway, at a cinema in Aurora, and at the Boston Marathon-the perpetrators made use of The Anarchist Cookbook. Can we condemn the author for the actions of his readers? Siskel's fascinating documentary raises a number of questions that will now never be answered, as Powell died soon after the completion of shooting for the film.

Małgorzata Sadowska

Charlie Siskel

Charlie Siskel is an American director and screenwriter. He co-directed (along with John Maloof) the acclaimed, Oscar-nominated documentary Looking for Vivian Maier, which introduced the world to the extraordinary archives of the American nanny who spent her free time photographing the streets of Chicago. Today, Maier is considered one of the most outstanding artists of the 20th century. Siskel has also worked with Michael Moore, co-producing his Bowling for Columbine (about the school shooting in Columbine, 2002), as well as the documentary series The Awful Truth (1999-2000).


2013 Szukając Vivian Maier / Finding Vivian Maier/Finding Vivian Maier

2016 Amerykański anarchista / American Anarchist/American Anarchist

Cast & Crew

director Charlie Siskel
screenplay Charlie Siskel
cinematography Nina Bernfeld
editing Chris McKinley
music T. Griffin
cast William Powell
producer Charlie Siskel, Michael Sherman, Chris McKinley, Abigail Deser, Matthew Perniciaro
production Bow and Arrow Entertainment, Patna Pictures
sales Film Collaborative
language English
colouration colour