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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 outpost, named after […]

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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 late 1990s. [kml_flashembed […]

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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 in Afghanistan, was killed inside the […]

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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 shows firsthand […]

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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 are human […]

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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 Black and […]

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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 1993 quote from director […]

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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 had no […]

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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 or be […]

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Fail Safe (1964) and Dr. Strangelove (1964)

Fail Safe (1964) and Dr. Strangelove (1964)

By Sean Patrick Murphy One would think Dr. Strangelove was released after Fail Safe because it is an excellent parody. But it wasn’t: Dr. Strangelove came out earlier than Fail Safe in 1964. This was at the height of the cold war, with the Cuban missile crisis not too far from peoples’ minds. Stanley Kubrick’s […]

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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 very […]

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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 agreeing to leave […]

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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 civilians. The lack […]

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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 scenes like […]

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The Boys of Baraka (2005)

The Boys of Baraka (2005)

As many as 76 percent of all black boys in Baltimore fail to finish high school. That prompted a school in Kenya to accept a group of these at-risk boys, all around 12 years old, and teach them not only academics but also how to respect themselves and others. [kml_flashembed movie=”http://www.youtube.com/v/C2ol5SHchLo” width=”425″ height=”350″ wmode=”transparent” /] […]

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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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