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Qaddafi’s Female Bodyguards (2012)

Qaddafi’s Female Bodyguards (2012)

This short (59 min.) film was shot in 2003, well before the revolution that resulted in Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s ouster and death in 2011. While an interesting topic, it will most likely be relegated to a small footnote in Libya’s history. From the time he took power in 1969, Colonel Qaddafi surrounded himself with […]

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Charlie Wilson’s War (2007)

Charlie Wilson’s War (2007)

While not a movie that makes you say “Wow!” Charlie Wilson’s War is a solid film. Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Philip Seymour Hoffman are excellent in their roles. The story revolves around Hanks as Wilson, a United States congressman who likes to party. Wilson appears to be the most unlikely candidate to help people in the developing world which is why this movie is so surprising. Roberts […]

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Bombies (2001)

Bombies (2001)

  During the Vietnam War, the United States dropped as many as 2 million tons of cluster bombs on Laos. It was called a secret air war but was, of course, no secret to the Laotians. Thousands of people have been killed and wounded by the bombs, which continue to litter the countryside. What director […]

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The Singing Revolution (2006)

The Singing Revolution (2006)

You don’t hear much about Estonia, which is in part why this documentary is so extraordinary. It illustrates how thousands of Estonians gathered to sing patriotic songs in defiance of Soviet rule. It provides a brief history of the country, which was a small playing piece during the second world war. Singing has long been […]

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Battle for Dien Bien Phu (1986)

Battle for Dien Bien Phu (1986)

Hell in a Very Small Place. That was the name of a book by Bernard Fall about the siege of Dien Bien Phu. The 1954 battle was a turning point in Indochina, where the French made a last ditch effort to maintain control in Vietnam. It also is the point where the United States began […]

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Frontline: The Hugo Chavez Show (2008)

Frontline: The Hugo Chavez Show (2008)

As many as 15 million Venezuelans watch “Aló, Presidente” every week. That is almost half of the entire country. In that show, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez talks extemporaneously about whatever he wants. The show runs for as long as he wants it to. Much of the Frontline episode revolves around “Aló, Presidente.” It shows how […]

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Kony/Kony II (2012)

Kony/Kony II (2012)

On April 20 there will be a global effort to make the world aware of Joseph Kony. Kony is the leader of a central African rebel group known as the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). For more than 20 years his group has abducted children to fight on his behalf, made sexual slaves of others, and […]

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Leaving Fear Behind (2008)

Leaving Fear Behind (2008)

Tibetan filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen has been languishing in prison because he made a short documentary about how Tibetans felt about the summer Olympics coming to Beijing in 2008. He and his assistant were arrested on charges of inciting separatism shortly after the film was finished in 2008 and were given a six-year sentence. His wife, […]

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A Film Unfinished (2010)

A Film Unfinished (2010)

Four reels of film were discovered in Germany decades after World War II was ended. The film had no credits and no soundtrack. This rough cut showed scenes from the Warsaw ghetto in May 1942. The makers of this movie interviewed the cameraman who took the footage. They also showed survivors of the ghetto the […]

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My Lai (2010)

My Lai (2010)

Some are making a connection between the recent mass murder in Afghanistan and the My Lai incident in 1968. They are wrong to do so. The more recent event, in which Staff Sgt. Robert Bales allegedly killed 17 civilians (many women and children) in Afghanistan, looks like the actions of a lone person who snapped. […]

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Revolution in Cairo/The Brothers (2011)

Revolution in Cairo/The Brothers (2011)

These two short pieces are Frontline mini-documentaries about the situation in Cairo during the Arab Spring, where youth movements used social media to coordinate demonstrations against the government of then-President Hosni Mubarak. The April 6 Youth Movement started in 2008 when it fought for textile workers who were on strike. It’s leaders, all around 30 […]

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When China Met Africa (2011)

When China Met Africa (2011)

The documentary When China Met Africa sheds light on the relatively new relationships China is creating in Africa. It focuses on three key characters: a Chinese entrepreneur who starts a farm in Zambia, a manager for a multinational Chinese company, and Zambia’s trade minister. China now invests more in Africa than the World Bank. Funding […]

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Balseros (2002)

Balseros (2002)

This documentary reeks of desperation. It spends the first third showing the lives of Cubans in the early to mid-1990s, when the fall of the Soviet Union made for hard times in the communist country. Balseros (2002) Trailer As many as 50,000 balseros (literally, “raft people”) took their chances in flimsy rafts to reach the […]

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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 occupation by Israelis. […]

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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 is mediocre […]

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About the Author

Sean Patrick Murphy
Sean Patrick Murphy

Sean Patrick Murphy is a graduate of Bennington College, where he majored in politics and Latin American literature. He has worked for Current History magazine, Physicians for Human Rights, and Citizens for Global Solutions (formerly the World Federalist Association). He lives outside Philadelphia.

Areas of Focus:
Cinematography; Independent Films; Documentary;

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