Latest activities of group Movies it Means to Vote in Ghana2012-01-13T11:36:43Z<p><img style="vertical-align: top;" src="/s3/cache%2F42%2F1d%2F421dd929666c56f78287a066f9451f9c.jpg" alt="African Election" width="580" height="388" /></p> <blockquote> <p>An African Election&nbsp;directed by Jarreth Merz</p> </blockquote> <p style="text-align: justify;">Ghana was the first sub-Saharan country to gain its independence,&nbsp;in 1957, and remains, despite its share of turmoil,&nbsp;the standard-bearer for political stability on the African continent.&nbsp;Why Ghana?&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">An implicit answer is provided by the documentary An African&nbsp;Election, which chronicles the essentially peaceful, if sometimes&nbsp;disruptive, transfer of power that occurred during the 2008 presidential&nbsp;race between leading candidates Nana Akufo-Addo,&nbsp;representing the incumbent NPP (New Patriotic Party) &ndash;his&nbsp;mantra is &ldquo;Are We Going Forward or Are We Going Back?&rdquo;&ndash; and&nbsp;John Atta Mills from the NDC (National Democratic Congress).&nbsp;Simply put, the answer is: Ghanaians ache for democracy. As&nbsp;one interviewee says, &ldquo;We love our mother Ghana so we want&nbsp;everybody to take part in this&nbsp;election.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The Swiss-born documentarian&nbsp;Jarreth Merz, who spent seven&nbsp;of his boyhood years in Ghana,&nbsp;initially intended for the film to&nbsp;cover his sentimental journey&nbsp;back to his roots after an absence&nbsp;of 28 years. (He has deep Ghanaian&nbsp;ties on his grandmother&rsquo;s&nbsp;side). Once in Ghana, however,&nbsp;the impending election took&nbsp;hold, and, good political journalist&nbsp;that he is, Merz recognized a larger story at work. With his&nbsp;brother Kevin acting as co-director and co-cameraman, Merz,&nbsp;who filmed for over three months and shot over 220 hours of&nbsp;film, moves right into the fray, travelling with both political&nbsp;camps, interviewing people in the streets, in the capital city of&nbsp;Accra, and in the outlying regions. He shows up at the polls,&nbsp;where the mix of jubilation (at the democratic process) and&nbsp;wariness (over the fear that that process will be subverted) is&nbsp;palpable.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Politics deeply infuses the lives of Ghanaians. A citizen tells&nbsp;Merz, &ldquo;Politics is part of the human life, even your day-to-life&nbsp;is politics.&rdquo; Perhaps only a people who have been deprived of&nbsp;political autonomy for so long could feel so strongly about this.&nbsp;The 2008 election was by no means clear-cut ideologically. The&nbsp;NPP is centrist and right-leaning and caters to the conservative&nbsp;middle class, while the NDC, which like the NPP was formed in&nbsp;1992, is a left-leaning social democratic party. Yet the appeal of&nbsp;both cuts across class and demographic lines. For the NDC, the&nbsp;election was particularly crucial since a second defeat in the&nbsp;presidential elections, following losses in 2000 and 2004, could&nbsp;effectively end the party. For this reason, looming even larger&nbsp;than Mills in the movie is Jerry Rawlings, the charismatic former&nbsp;NDC president from 1992 through 2000, who is still much&nbsp;beloved by many Ghanaians.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Merz films Rawlings exhorting&nbsp;the cause of his party while, not&nbsp;infrequently, masses of ecstatic&nbsp;Ghanaian admirers crowd into&nbsp;the camera frame. (His counterpart,&nbsp;far less charismatic but&nbsp;certainly statesmanlike, is the&nbsp;NPP&rsquo;s outgoing president John Kufour).&nbsp;Merz captures the tumult and also the comedy, often inadvertent,&nbsp;in this political circus that nevertheless has entirelyserious consequences for both Ghana and for all of Africa. He&nbsp;shows us a pro-Mills TV spot that has a mother counselling&nbsp;her young daughter to avoid a large cobra (presumably Akufo-&nbsp;Addo), in their midst. Overhanging the election is a larger development:&nbsp;the recent discovery of vast offshore oil reserves that&nbsp;Kufuour says will turn Ghana into an &lsquo;African tiger.&rsquo;&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Barack Obama&rsquo;s election to the U.S. presidency occurred during&nbsp;the run-up to the 2008 election, and both Ghanaian political&nbsp;parties, especially the NDC, attempt to draw on Obama&rsquo;s&nbsp;success and sloganeering. (The NDC proudly proclaims that&nbsp;&ldquo;Change has come.&rdquo;) However, when the results of the election&nbsp;are too close to call and a run-off is declared, viewers may be&nbsp;thinking less of Obama and more of George W. Bush vs. Al Gore.&nbsp;Both sides declare they have won. Charges of ballot fraud are&nbsp;rampant. Voters stand beside polling stations and loudly count&nbsp;out the ballots as they are tallied. So-called &lsquo;macho men&rsquo; appear&nbsp;intimidatingly at polling stations, some of them on motorcycles,&nbsp;a known conveyance for stolen ballot boxes.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">In the end, it is up to the constituency of a remote region called&nbsp;Tain to decide the election with their votes in favor of the NDC.&nbsp;Catastrophe, which seemed so imminent, is averted. (Compare&nbsp;this to the ongoing uncertainties about the Arab Spring). Watching&nbsp;this film, what stays with you are the chants of the people&nbsp;in the street crying out &ldquo;We want peace.&rdquo; Even more, you will&nbsp;remember what a citizen says about the lack of violence: &ldquo;We&nbsp;were able to talk to each other.&rdquo;</p> <p style="text-align: right;"><span style="color: #888888;">Peter Rainer</span></p> <p> <object width="560" height="315"> <embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="560" height="315" src=";hl=en_US"></embed> </object> </p>Wife and Husband2012-01-13T11:36:21Z<p><img style="vertical-align: top;" src="/s3/cache%2Fc3%2F6b%2Fc36b10b87cdfcfe9bb01b11c262993f1.jpg" alt="Jos&eacute; y Pilar" width="580" height="326" /></p> <blockquote> <p>Jos&eacute; y Pilar&nbsp;directed by Miguel Gon&ccedil;alves Mendes</p> </blockquote> <p style="text-align: justify;">The Portuguese novelist Jose&nbsp;Saramago, winner of the 1998&nbsp;Nobel Prize for Literature, had no&nbsp;family funds to study beyond the&nbsp;4th grade and only began writing seriously as he approached his&nbsp;60s. Miguel Goncalves documentary Jose and Pilar follows from&nbsp;2006 through 2008 the surprisingly hectic life of the famous octogenarian,&nbsp;who died in 2010, and his fifty-something wife Pilar&nbsp;del Rio, a former Spanish journalist whom he married in 1988.&nbsp;The hecticness appears to be entirely the work of Pilar, who&nbsp;functions not only as wife and Spanish translator of his books&nbsp;but also as full-time agent, nurse, party-planner, muse and&nbsp;manager. About her he says, &ldquo;I have ideas for books but she&nbsp;has ideas for life. I don&rsquo;t know which is more important.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Pilar has the guy on the road or in the air seemingly nonstop.&nbsp;No book tour, book signing, rally or writer&rsquo;s conference is alien&nbsp;to her. (In one particularly funny moment, we see a shot of both&nbsp;Saramago and Gabriel Garcia Marquez dozing off on a writers&rsquo;&nbsp;panel). One gets the impression that, were it not for Pilar, whom&nbsp;he clearly adores, Saramago would be quite content to putter&nbsp;about at home and, you know, write. He says in the film that he&nbsp;wishes he could be a tree with roots so deep in the earth no one&nbsp;could move him. If so, he married the wrong arborist.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">His writing regimen is simple: two pages per day &ndash;no more, no&nbsp;less. Early on, Goncalves shows us the master peering intently&nbsp;into his computer and then typing. We think he must be composing&nbsp;his new novel only to have the camera swivel around&nbsp;to show us that, in fact, Saramago is playing online solitaire.&nbsp;Saramago and Pilar decamped in 1992 to the Canary Islands&nbsp;when Portugal&rsquo;s conservative government censured his novel&nbsp;The Gospel According to Jesus Christ, and the sting of selfimposed&nbsp;exile is particularly felt by Pilar. Jose and Pilar attempts&nbsp;to portray Saramago as both an atheist-Communist firebrand&nbsp;and a crochety yet kindly senior citizen. He answers fan mail&nbsp;screened by Pilar. (One letter writer sends him a recipe for cod&nbsp;au gratin). He dutifully signs books for interminable lines of&nbsp;fans and even accedes, not altogether happily, to requests for&nbsp;a kiss on the cheek.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">But he is also given to issuing pronouncements that have the&nbsp;ring of finality. One of his more upbeat bon mots: &ldquo;To feel that&nbsp;the end of each day is an irreparable loss, that&rsquo;s probably what&nbsp;old age is all about.&rdquo; The best thing he can say about religion&nbsp;is, &ldquo;The history of mankind is the history of misunderstandings&nbsp;with God. He doesn&rsquo;t understand us, we don&rsquo;t understand&nbsp;him.&rdquo; More typical is this: &ldquo;Once sin had been invented, the guy&nbsp;who invented it had a fantastic weapon he could use to dominate&nbsp;the other people &ndash;and that&rsquo;s what the church did. It&rsquo;s just&nbsp;a fake, a tragic farce.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">One subject that doesn&rsquo;t rear its ugly head in Jose and Pilar&nbsp;is the controversy that erupted over Saramago&rsquo;s statement in &nbsp;2003, referring to the Israeli-Palestinian situation, that &ldquo;Jews&nbsp;no longer deserve sympathy for the suffering they went through&nbsp;during the Holocaust.&rdquo; The insertion of those sentiments would&nbsp;have considerably altered the homespun man-of-wisdom image&nbsp;Goncalves strives to maintain for Saramago. It also would have&nbsp;made for a more bracing and less sentimental movie.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #888888;">Peter Rainer</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"> <object width="560" height="315"> <embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="560" height="315" src=";hl=en_US"></embed> </object> </p>A Soldier’s Life2011-11-02T13:37:06Z<p><img style="vertical-align: top;" src="/s3/cache%2F96%2Fba%2F96baee993bc30cc4b8b678a4a0c5aae7.jpg" alt="Hell and Back Again" width="580" height="326" /></p> <blockquote> <p>Hell and Back Again.</p> <p>Directed by Danfung Dennis.</p> </blockquote> <p style="text-align: justify;">The harrowing images of war that&nbsp;have come back to us from Iraq and&nbsp;Afghanistan have been matched, in&nbsp;many U.S. documentaries, by equally&nbsp;upsetting images of soldiers, many of&nbsp;them injured, attempting to adjust to the&nbsp;new normalcy of the homefront.&nbsp;Hell and Back Again was directed by&nbsp;Danfung Dennis, a photojournalist who&nbsp;was embedded with the Marines from&nbsp;Echo Company in their 2009 incursion&nbsp;into southern Afghanistan. The film&rsquo;s&nbsp;focus is on 25-year-old Sgt. Nathan Harris,&nbsp;who returns home to North Carolina&nbsp;with a shattered hip and leg.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Harris is not exactly a model rehabilation&nbsp;patient. Large crowds unnerve&nbsp;him, he is all too willing to show off his&nbsp;wounds, and he has a disturbing fondness&nbsp;for using his pistol as a plaything.&nbsp;His steadfast wife Ashley is by his side,&nbsp;but a halcyon future for them is by no&nbsp;means guaranteed.&nbsp;Dennis, who overdoes the cutting&nbsp;back and forth between images of battlefield&nbsp;and homefront, keeps political bias&nbsp;to a minimum. But in selecting Harris as&nbsp;his subject, he implicitly asks whether&nbsp;the cause Harris fought for was worth&nbsp;his sacrifice. The film also upends the&nbsp;conquering hero myth all too prevalent&nbsp;in wartime culture.</p> <p style="text-align: right;"><span style="color: #999999;">&mdash;Peter Rainer</span></p> <p> <object style="height: 390px; width: 620px;" width="100" height="100"> <embed style="height: 390px; width: 620px;" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="100" height="100" src=";feature=player_detailpage"></embed> </object> </p>Psyche and Psychoanalysis: The Talking Cure2011-11-02T13:26:37Z<p><img style="vertical-align: top;" src="/s3/cache%2F1d%2F2c%2F1d2c68321bba27a14240b205b8d9f25a.jpg" alt="Psyche and Psychoanalysis The Talking Cure" width="580" height="392" /></p> <blockquote> <p>A Dangerous Method: The Story&nbsp;of Jung, Freud, and Sabina Spielrein</p> <p>directed by David Cronenberg</p> </blockquote> <p>David Cronenberg has developed a reputation over many&nbsp;years as a director specializing in the artfully gruesome.&nbsp;From The Brood and Dead Ringers to The Fly and Crash, he&nbsp;has luxuriated in movies about the rending of the flesh. So it&nbsp;comes as something of a surprise that his latest film, A Dangerous&nbsp;Method, about the early friendship between the young&nbsp;Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) and his mentor Sigmund Freud&nbsp;(Viggo Mortensen), is bloodless &ndash; in more ways than one. It&rsquo;s&nbsp;about the rending of the psyche, not the flesh.&nbsp;Screenwriter Christopher Hampton adapted his play The&nbsp;Talking Cure, which is itself adapted from John Kerr&rsquo;s non-fiction&nbsp;book, A Most Dangerous Method: The Story of Jung, Freud,&nbsp;and Sabina Spielrein. Spielrein, played in the film by Keira&nbsp;Knightley, was a Russian-Jewish woman originally under the&nbsp;care of Jung in 1904 at the Burgholzi mental hospital outside&nbsp;Zurich.</p> <p>Her seizures and hysteria were severe but Jung, using Freud&rsquo;s&nbsp;methods, was able to rehabilitate her. Their relationship, however,&nbsp;was not exactly standard: although married, Jung entered&nbsp;into an affair with Spielrein, who wanted to lose her viginity to&nbsp;him. Eventually feeling spurned by Jung, she became a patient&nbsp;of Freud&rsquo;s, ultimately becoming a prominent psychoanalyst in&nbsp;her own right.</p> <p>This material is rich but the treatment is stodgy. Too many&nbsp;scenes play out as talkfests in closed quarters and the talk is&nbsp;never quite as scintillating as intended. Knightley&rsquo;s performance,&nbsp;at least in her hysteria phase, is so overscaled that she&nbsp;seems in danger of turning herself inside out. Fassbender is&nbsp;creditable enough. Mortensen, rarely without a cigar, gives a&nbsp;sly rendition of Freud&rsquo;s low-key superciliousness. At one point,&nbsp;when the two men are about to arrive by ocean liner in New&nbsp;York to attend a conference, Freud chuckles: &ldquo;Do you think they&nbsp;know we&rsquo;re on our way, bringing them the&nbsp;plague?&rdquo;&nbsp;Dramatizing intellectual ideas is always&nbsp;a challenge, even when, as here, the ideas&nbsp;are so closely aligned with heavy-duty&nbsp;emotion. Perhaps this is why Cronenberg&nbsp;cast Fassbender and Mortensen, two&nbsp;actors who exude physicality. A Dangerous&nbsp;Method is far from a disgrace, but it rarelystirs the passions. It&rsquo;s a high-toned waxworksdisplay.</p> <p style="text-align: right;"><span style="color: #999999;">&mdash;Peter Rainer</span></p> <p> <object style="height: 390px; width: 620px;" width="100" height="100"> <embed style="height: 390px; width: 620px;" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="100" height="100" src=";feature=player_detailpage"></embed> </object> </p>Boxing Brothers2011-11-02T13:19:17Z<p><img style="vertical-align: top;" src="/s3/cache%2F2a%2Fe4%2F2ae4704bb764d715c56fcdd730b5caa2.jpg" alt="Klitschko Brothers" /></p> <blockquote> <p>Klitschko</p> <p>directed by Sebastian Dehnhardt</p> </blockquote> <p>Vitali Klitschko and his younger brother Wladimir are the&nbsp;first siblings to hold world champion boxing titles at the&nbsp;same time. Each around six foot six inches tall, nearly identical&nbsp;in looks and build, they are a fearsome, intimidating duo. Their&nbsp;detractors call them &ldquo;robots,&rdquo; but, as Sebastian Dehnhardt&rsquo;s fine&nbsp;documentary Klitschko demonstrates, they are anything but.&nbsp;</p> <p>Although their life stories don&rsquo;t have the heart-warming&nbsp;underdog aspects of a &ldquo;Rocky&rdquo; movie, the Ukrainian Klitschkos&nbsp;didn&rsquo;t exactly have it easy growing up. Their father, a military&nbsp;officer and a Communist, was a first responder to the Chernobyl&nbsp;disaster and eventually contracted cancer, although he&nbsp;survived. The family lived at the time in a two-room shack not&nbsp;far from the nuclear meltdown. In the movie, the boys revisit&nbsp;the house, now rotting and empty. Wladimir describes how he&nbsp;played with paper boats in radioactive puddles.&nbsp;</p> <p>Both boys had an avid early interest in boxing but Wladimir&nbsp;says Vitali was born a fighter while he had to become one. They&nbsp;worshipped western athletes and martial artists although such&nbsp;idolatry was off limits in Russia. Vitali eventually became kickbox&nbsp;champion of the Soviet Union. Traveling with his team, he&nbsp;visited the United States for the first time. He describes the experience&nbsp;as like landing on the moon. &ldquo;I went to a supermarket,&rdquo;&nbsp;he remembers, &ldquo;and there were a hundred kinds of cheese. I&nbsp;only knew of one kind of cheese &ndash; it was called &lsquo;cheese.&rsquo; &rdquo;&nbsp;Rising in the heavyweight ranks, the brothers attracted the&nbsp;attention of Don King, the notorious boxing promoter whose&nbsp;handling of such fighters as Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson&nbsp;was often accompanied by scandal and controversy. Wladimir&nbsp;recounts the meeting he and Vitali had with King, in King&rsquo;s&nbsp;palatial compound. Attempting to impress the boxers as a cultivated&nbsp;man, the promoter sat down at his piano to play a classical&nbsp;sonata. Very impressive &ndash; except the boys noticed that the&nbsp;piano was actually a player piano. The brothers didn&rsquo;t sign with&nbsp;King. &ldquo;He was a dishonest man,&rdquo; says Wladimir, smiling.&nbsp;</p> <p>Vitali supervised his younger brother&rsquo;s boxing career for&nbsp;many years. &ldquo;My parents told me to look after Wladimir when&nbsp;we were young,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;They&rsquo;ve never told me to stop.&rdquo; But&nbsp;after some severe setbacks in the ring, Wladimir replaced Vitali&rsquo;s&nbsp;team with his own and forbade his brother from visiting his&nbsp;training camp. He turned his career around. No one was happier&nbsp;than Vitali, who always cheers his brother on from the sidelines,&nbsp;and vice versa. Vitali explains that when a boxer fights&nbsp;either brother, it&rsquo;s as if he is fighting &ldquo;both of us.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> <p>Vitali had his own setbacks. It&rsquo;s difficult to watch footage from&nbsp;his championship fight with Lennox Lewis, where the cut above&nbsp;Vitali&rsquo;s eye went so deep that blood gushed and the fight had to&nbsp;be stopped. For a time Vitali stayed out of boxing, going into politics.&nbsp;But he too, like his brother, staged a successful comeback.&nbsp;</p> <p>The obvious question, of course, is: Will the brothers ever&nbsp;fight each other and unify the various heavyweight titles in&nbsp;a single belt? Vanessa and Serena Williams, top tennis stars,&nbsp;regularly play each other. Boxing is different, though. Competition&nbsp;is one thing; inflicting violence is another. In any case, the brothers&rsquo; smiley mother, Nadeshda, who is interviewed frequently&nbsp;throughout the film, makes it clear that early on she&nbsp;extracted an unbreakable promise from her boys never to box&nbsp;each other. The only fighting they do is on the chessboard.&nbsp;</p> <p>At one point in the film, an ex-boxer wonders why the Klitschkos&nbsp;went into boxing at all. Boxing has traditionally been a way&nbsp;for poor, uneducated kids to work their way out of crime and&nbsp;poverty. But the brothers are highly educated and speak four&nbsp;languages. (They speak German to the film&rsquo;s German director&nbsp;and live part time in Germany). They seem to have taken up boxing&nbsp;because, given their physiques and their temperament, they&nbsp;had no other choice. For them, boxing is a form of self-vindication,&nbsp;a way of continually proving themselves. If Vitali and Wladimir&nbsp;are indeed &ldquo;robots,&rdquo; they are the most advanced models.</p> <p style="text-align: right;"><span style="color: #999999;">&mdash;Peter Rainer</span></p> <p> <object style="height: 390px; width: 620px;" width="100" height="100"> <embed style="height: 390px; width: 620px;" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="100" height="100" src=";feature=player_detailpage"></embed> </object> </p>The China Question2011-09-16T18:38:57Z<p style="text-align: left;">There is probably no more pertinent global question right now than the China question. Adding his voice to the chorus of queries is American director Brook Silva-Braga, whose documentary The China Question trots out an impressive roster of talking heads to grapple with the issue, including Harvard economist and historian Niall Ferguson, Orville Schell, director of the Asia Society&rsquo;s U.S.-China Center, Barry Naughton, author of The Chinese Economy, Wu Jianmin, former Chinese ambassador to the U.N., and Cui Zhiyuan, a leading member of China&rsquo;s New Left. Gaining rare Western access to the inner workings of Chinese factories, Silva-Braga lays out the implications, specifically for Americans, of China&rsquo;s economic ascendancy. Silva-Braga&rsquo;s mother declares early on that, for moral reasons, she will never buy any Chinese-made goods. This proves to be rather difficult, since, it seems, just about everything, including American flags and the popular American Girl doll, is made in China. In a larger sense, the film asks what it means for Americans, and by extension many other democratic countries, to contribute to China&rsquo;s rise, given its suppression of free speech and history of jailing dissidents. We are told that every day China sells a billion dollars of goods just to the United States, which is four times as much as the U.S. sells daily to China. Alan Tonelson, of the U.S. Business and Advisory Council, says that &ldquo;there is no doubt that the biggest and only beneficiaries from the current U.S. and China relationship have been the the big, focused, outsourcing multinational companies who have recognized that producing in a very low cost, very lightly regulated country like China for a pricey market like the U.S. is a great way to expand your margins and profits. It&rsquo;s a no-brainer.&rdquo; To make this system work, China needs to create 25 million new jobs every year just to keep pace. And to create jobs China must remain the world&rsquo;s work force, which means it must keep winning on price &ndash;which means low wages. Chinese factory workers, many of whom are migrants from the countryside, make on average $200 a month. That&rsquo;s still higher than the $50-60 a month they would likely make as farmers. Niall Ferguson sums up: &ldquo;I&rsquo;m constantly struck by how much thought the Chinese leadership gives to the United States. In Washington I see no such long-term thinking.&rdquo;</p> <p style="text-align: right;"><span style="color: #808080;">&mdash;Peter Rainer</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="color: #d12e34;"><a rel="nofollow" href=""><br /></a></span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><img style="float: left; margin-right: 25px;" title="The China Question" src="/s3/photos%2F2011%2F09%2F28942f5f698c48bb.png" alt="The China Question" width="172" height="267" /><span style="color: #4d7db1;">Available on DVD</span><br /><span style="color: #4d7db1;">from Earthchild Productions:</span><br /><span style="color: #4d7db1;"></span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="color: #ff0000;"><a rel="nofollow" href="">Watch Preview</a></span></p> <p style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="color: #4d7db1;"><br /></span></p>Sex Trafficking: A Movie, a Book, a Global Issue2011-07-11T12:12:07Z<p><img title="The Whistleblower" src="/s3/cache%2F16%2Fa9%2F16a99a8bc3d12c9ec0a417d26b3ff817.jpg" alt="The Whistleblower" width="580" height="391" />Kathryn Bolkovac was a good cop. Back in her hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska, the athletic Ms. Bolkovac once wrestled a fleeing criminal to the ground and disarmed him. Kathryn Bolkovac was just as thorough about her paperwork, documenting and recording ever scrap of relevant information. A good police officer, she says, is one who can build a case. When she decided to take a job in 1999 with the private security contractor DynCorp International, Kathryn Bolkovac brought both her zeal and her diligence to her new job on the International Police Task Force in Bosnia. But when she was assigned to investigate the trafficking of girls and women, Bolkovac soon discovered that she was going to have to wrestle with a lot more than one fleeing criminal. Not only was she up against organized crime in Bosnia and the Eastern European mafia that was supplying that market with trafficked women, she would also have to contend with hostility from DynCorp colleagues and even members of the UN policing mission. Kathryn Bolkovac&rsquo;s investigation was soon annoying a lot of people.&nbsp;</p> <p>To read the report, order a copy of the&nbsp;<a rel="nofollow" href=""></a><a rel="nofollow" href="">magazine</a></p> <p>To read the interview with Kathryn Bolkovac, order a copy of the&nbsp;<a rel="nofollow" href="">magazine</a></p> <p>To read the film review, order a copy of the&nbsp;<a rel="nofollow" href="">magazine</a></p> <p>To read the interview with Madeleine Rees, order a copy of the&nbsp;<a rel="nofollow" href=""></a><a rel="nofollow" href="">magazine</a></p>A Remarkable Women in Light2011-03-17T17:34:53Z<blockquote> <p>Documentary tracing the life and&nbsp;career of iconic Muslim leader of&nbsp;Pakistan&rsquo;s post-Soviet generation.</p> </blockquote> <p><span style="color: #888888;">Bhutto directed by Duan Baughman&nbsp;and Johnny O&rsquo;Hara</span></p> <p><span style="color: #888888;"><img style="float: left; padding: 0px 40px 40px 0px;" title="Benazir Bhutto" src="/s3/photos%2F2011%2F03%2F1c23fb90a876543b.png" alt="Benazir Bhutto" width="259" height="434" /></span></p> <p><span>O</span>n Dec. 27<span>th</span>, 2007, Benazir Bhutto,&nbsp;the first woman in history to lead&nbsp;a Muslim nation, was assassinated at&nbsp;a Pakistan People&rsquo;s Party (PPP) rally in&nbsp;Rawalpindi. The documentary Bhutto&nbsp;chronicles the decades-long events leading&nbsp;up to that still unsolved killing and&nbsp;its immediate aftermath. It&rsquo;s a tangled&nbsp;tale, with much that remains murky, but&nbsp;the co-directors Duane Baughman and&nbsp;Johnny O&rsquo; Hara have done a fairly good&nbsp;job of elucidating the issues, or at least&nbsp;clarifying the confusions.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s fitting that Benazir Bhutto should&nbsp;be the centerpiece of a major movie, since&nbsp;during her lifetime she had the glamorized&nbsp;aura of a movie star. Like a number&nbsp;of other high-profile figures in the political&nbsp;arena &ndash;most conspicuously the UN&nbsp;diplomat Sergio Vieira de Mello, who&nbsp;was killed by a truck bomb in Baghdad&nbsp;in 2003 and was the subject last year of a&nbsp;powerful documentary, Sergio&ndash; Benazir&nbsp;Bhutto was both historically significant&nbsp;and personally charismatic.</p> <p>This is also true of her extended family&nbsp;clan, which has often been referred to&nbsp;as the &ldquo;Pakistani Kennedys.&rdquo; The Kennedy&nbsp;reference is double-edged: it summons&nbsp;up not only a vast political legacy&nbsp;but family tragedy as well.</p> <p>Before the film&rsquo;s opening credits have&nbsp;even finished, we are already hit with a&nbsp;rapid-fire history of Pakistan dating from&nbsp;the 1947 partition onward. Zulfikar Ali&nbsp;Bhutto, Benazir&rsquo;s father, the first democratically&nbsp;elected president of Pakistan,&nbsp;occupies much of the film&rsquo;s beginning&nbsp;section. His execution in 1979 under the&nbsp;regime of Gen. Mohammed Zia-ul-Haq,&nbsp;who staged a military coup two years&nbsp;before, sets the stage for Benazir&rsquo;s ascension&nbsp;as her father&rsquo;s hand-picked favorite&nbsp;to succeed him. She speaks repeatedly in&nbsp;the movie, through audio and video footage,&nbsp;of how her father&rsquo;s death vigil prepared&nbsp;her for a political career.</p> <p>Benazir, who was educated at Harvard&nbsp;and Oxford, goes into self-imposed&nbsp;exile in the West in 1984 after years of&nbsp;house arrest. Returning to Pakistan a&nbsp;year later to face down General Zia, she&nbsp;becomes, at 35, prime minister in 1988.&nbsp;(Two years later she gives birth while in&nbsp;office, another first for a female world&nbsp;leader).</p> <p>Twenty months after her election&nbsp;she is dismissed on corruption charges.&nbsp;In 1993, at a time when the PPP captured&nbsp;most of the parliamentary seats,&nbsp;she returns in triumph for a second term&nbsp;as prime minister. Within three years&nbsp;she is ousted once again on charges of&nbsp;corruption. At the time of the Rawalpindi&nbsp;rally she was moting yet another political&nbsp;comeback.</p> <p>All of this dizzying back and forth&nbsp;is punctuated by persistent violence,&nbsp;including the killing of two of Benazir&rsquo;s&nbsp;brothers. In an interview, Fatima, the&nbsp;daughter of one of the brothers, blames&nbsp;Benazir&rsquo;s husband Alif Zardari, now&nbsp;president of Pakistan, with having engineered&nbsp;her father&rsquo;s murder.</p> <p>What are we to make of such&nbsp;charges? Although the film directors&nbsp;make a pretense of even-handedness,&nbsp;the overall tone of Bhutto is somewhat&nbsp;hero-worshippy. (One of the film&rsquo;s producers,&nbsp;Mark Siegel, was a close friend of&nbsp;Benazir and co-authored her final book&nbsp;Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy, and&nbsp;the West.) The corruption charges that&nbsp;dogged Benazir&rsquo;s trail are never deeply&nbsp;delved into, despite the fact that reporters&nbsp;such as the New York Times&rsquo;s John&nbsp;F. Burns, who wrote extensively on the&nbsp;matter, are interviewed on camera.</p> <p>What emerges from the film, nonetheless,&nbsp;is a portrait of a remarkable&nbsp;woman who, despite the charges leveled&nbsp;against her, both real and trumped-up,&nbsp;instituted social reforms in Pakistan&nbsp;against great odds. That she became a&nbsp;martyr was surely not her intention and&nbsp;yet, given the entwined history of her&nbsp;family and her country, her martydom&nbsp;seems in retrospect inevitable.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: right;"><span style="white-space: pre;">&ndash; Peter Rainer</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" title="Benazir Bhutto" src="/s3/photos%2F2011%2F03%2Fbdecd9725a44e5e5.png" alt="Benazir Bhutto" width="550" height="441" /></p> <p><span style="color: #808080;">Photo by Lichfield/Getty Images</span></p>