Hammerman Ikon

Hammerman Ikon Film Guide

If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front
Director: Marshall Curry, Sam Cullman

A compelling documentary about the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), and how it developed from a bunch of hippies to a well organised group of environmental activists. In the 1990s, the group members felt that talking wasn't getting results, so they moved to direct action and began to burn down business properties. The story is told through Daniel McGowan, one of its key figures in the US, who waits for sentencing in the beginning of the film. McGowan knew the organisation had run its course when only their destructive arsons, and not their motives, made the headlines. The FBI labelled them as terrorists, but were they if no one got killed? Although the film attempts to offer a balanced view by giving the lumber industry their say, it would be nice to know more about the live(lihood)s the group destroyed in their attacks.