Foreign Policy Blogs

Global Film Review

Arna’s Children (2004)

Arna’s Children (2004)

It is almost impossible to watch this documentary and not be moved to tears.
It is a story about a Jewish woman, Arna Mer-Khamis, who created a children’s home and art center in the Palestinian refugee camp of Jenin.
Even in her advanced age, Arna was a firebrand who railed against the …

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Ararat (2002)

Ararat (2002)

By Sean Patrick Murphy
This movie is terrible.
It tries desperately to convey the horror of the Armenian genocide by the Ottoman Turks in 1915 yet it misses the mark by a country mile.
The audience is supposed to be engaged by the characters and the intersecting story lines and yet the acting …

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Restrepo (2010)

Restrepo (2010)

“It’s like Platoon in the mountains.”
That was a response by one viewer of this documentary. It’s a valid observation.
Restrepo tells the story of the 2nd Platoon of Battle Company in the 173rd Airborne Combat Team on its deployment in Afghanistan in 2007 and 2008. The title refers to the platoon …

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The Oath (2010)

The Oath (2010)

Now that Osama bin Laden is dead, a new chapter is beginning for al Qaeda.
Two former members of the group, Abu Jandal and Salim Hamdam, are the focus of this documentary.
Jandal, a self-professed jihadist, is a taxi driver in Sana’a, Yemen. He was one of bin Laden’s bodyguards in the …

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Director of "Restrepo" killed in Libya

Director of "Restrepo" killed in Libya

The following is an excerpt from an Associated Press article by Ben Hubbard:
“Oscar-nominated film director Tim Hetherington was killed Wednesday in the besieged city of Misrata while covering battles between rebels and Libyan government forces.
“British-born Hetherington, co-director of the documentary Restrepo about U.S. soldiers on an outpost …

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Talibanistan (2010)

Talibanistan (2010)

Hearts and minds.
That’s what narrator Peter Coyote says coalition forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan need to win over in this National Geographic offering.
Talibanistan is the nickname given to the treacherous mountainous area straddling Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is called that because of the Taliban forces entrenched there.
This hour long documentary …

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The Fall of Fujimori (2006)

The Fall of Fujimori (2006)

Alberto Fujimori is a complicated person.
He single-handedly rooted out terrorism while president of Peru (1990-2000) and brought the country back from the economic abyss.
However, he appears to have sold his soul to achieve his victories.
Currently serving in a Peruvian prison for a variety of crimes, not the least of which …

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The Wind that Shakes the Barley (2006)

The Wind that Shakes the Barley (2006)

This film has drawn the ire of many a critic.
Which is understandable given its content.
The movie takes place in Ireland in 1920. Damien O’Donovan (played remarkably by Cillian Murphy) decides to join his brother Teddy in fighting the British instead of studying medicine in London.
The violence with which the British …

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Triumph of the Will (1935)

Triumph of the Will (1935)

“Being sorry isn’t nearly enough, but I can’t tear myself apart or destroy myself. It’s so terrible. I’ve suffered anyway for over half a century and it will never end, until I die. It’s such an incredible burden, that to say ‘sorry’… it’s inadequate, it expresses too little.”
That is a …

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The Panama Deception (1992)

The Panama Deception (1992)

The makers of this film have an axe to grind.
That being said, they make a lot of sense.
What The Panama Deception shows is how Manuel Noriega (referred to in the United States press as “Panamanian strongman”) went from ally to enemy in a few short years.
Once the first Bush presidency …

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A Prophet (2009)

A Prophet (2009)

By Sean Patrick Murphy
This film follows the rise of an Arab sentenced to six years in a French prison.
At 19, Malik El Djebena is a lone wolf.
That is until he is ensnared in a plot to kill someone on behalf of the powerful Corsicans in the prison. Literally, it’s kill …

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South of the Border (2009)

South of the Border (2009)

By Sean Patrick Murphy
Is Simon Bolivar’s dream becoming a reality?
There are some who see South America’s increasingly leftist and nationalistic regionalism as evidence of just that.
Bolivar, the Great Liberator, envisioned a continent united, not one of competing countries whose borders were drawn up by empires hundreds of years ago.
From the …

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Mugabe and the White African (2010)

Mugabe and the White African (2010)

By Sean Patrick Murphy
This excellent and moving documentary reveals the plight of Zimbabwean white farmers under the rule of President Robert Mugabe.
It centers on 75 year-old Michael Campbell, who has lived in Zimbabwe since 1974. He is the victim of invasions of his property, intimidation, and brutal violence for not …

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The Forgotten War (2010)

The Forgotten War (2010)

Why Afghanistan is called the graveyard of empires is made crystal clear in this short documentary.
Journalist Paul Johnson made this film last year by traveling to Kandahar, one of Afghanistan’s deadliest regions that breeds young Taliban converts.
He shows the aftermath of roadside bombs in part by turning the camera on …

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The Saltmen of Tibet (1997)

The Saltmen of Tibet (1997)

Journey to the rooftop of the world and be bored out of your skull.
This documentary is about as interesting as watching paint dry but feels like it takes even longer.
It should be a fascinating look into an ancient culture virtually untouched by the modern world.
Instead it tortures the viewer with …

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