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GUERRILLA: THE TAKING
OF PATTY HEARST
USA: Magnolia Pictures
UK: Tartan Films
Cast: Michael Bortin, Tim Findley, Dr Marcus Foster, Dan Grove, Bill Harris, Emily Harris, Catherine Hearst, Patricia Hearst, Randolph Hearst, Ludlow Kramer, John Lester, Russ Little, Myrna Opsahl, Kathy Soliah, Steven Weed,
Director: Robert Stone
USA & UK: 89 mins
UK Certificate: 12A contains one use of strong language
USA Release Date: 26 November 2004 (Limited Release - Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco)
UK Release Date: 3 June 2005
GUERRILLA: THE TAKING OF PATTY HEARST is an unprecedented account of the Symbionese Liberation Army, arguably the most notorious and flamboyant domestic terrorist group in American history.
Dedicated to the rights of black prisoners and the working class, the SLA set forth in 1973 to incite the violent overthrow of the U.S. government, brilliantly manipulating the mass media to advance their message. Their audacious kidnapping of teenage newspaper heiress Patty Hearst inspired what might be described as the first true media "frenzy," one that only exploded further when Patty transformed into "Tania" and joined the ranks of the SLA. Every detail of their descent into the surreal outer limits of political extremism was played out in public, a spectacle foreshadowing some of the worst excesses of modern TV journalism. Thirty years later, the SLA's extraordinary two-year crime spree resonates as a parable of political ideology run amok, the role of the media in America, and the romantic fantasies of modern political terrorism.
For GUERRILLA, filmmaker Robert Stone literally went underground, where he spent four years creating a film that delivers both eye-popping archival footage of SLA founder Russ Little, whose incarceration inspired the Hearst kidnapping. The footage is indeed rare and breathtaking, but Little has never given an on-camera interview, making GUERRILLA an important historical document, as well as gripping entertainment. Stone's film does not sympathize with or glorify the SLA. Instead, GUERRILLA gives us a thorough, clear-eyed account of the first terrorist group to hold not just one heiress, but the entire nation hostage, and its subsequent, disastrous self-destruction.