Foreign Policy Blogs

Global Film Review

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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Please Vote for Me (2007)

Please Vote for Me (2007)

“To get rich is glorious.” That phrase, uttered by the late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, seems to fly in the face of conventional communist philosophy. So, too, does the democratic election of a third grade class monitor in Wuhan. This documentary shows how three children vie for votes in a cutthroat election. While novices to […]

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Cocalero (2007)

Cocalero (2007)

The story of how Bolivian President Evo Morales came to power is an intriguing one. Director Alejandro Landes follows Morales during the campaign that brought Morales to power in 2006, showing the candidate as a charming, ideologically fervent man. Morales is the leader of the party Movement for Socialism, the acronym in Spanish being MAS, […]

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War Photographer (2001)

War Photographer (2001)

“Too many cameras and not enough food, this is what we’ve seen.” That line from the Police song “Driven to Tears” sums it up nicely. This film is about photojournalist James Nachtwey and his work in the world’s hotspots from Nicaragua in the 1980s to Rwanda and Kosovo in the 1990s to South Africa, Ramallah, […]

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Nuclear Tipping Point (2010)

Nuclear Tipping Point (2010)

This documentary tackles an issue most dare not consider: what if nuclear material got into the hands of terrorists? Writer and director Ben Goddard does an excellent job of mixing new interviews with archive clips of everyone from John F. Kennedy to John McCain. Their common message? Eliminate nuclear weapons. The film revolves around the […]

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Nowhere in Africa (2001)

Nowhere in Africa (2001)

This film deserves the Oscar it received for best foreign language film. It is the story of a young Jewish family that flees Nazi Germany in the late 1930s to Kenya. Walter Redlich, who had been a lawyer in Germany, is left to manage a farm in a deserted region.  His wife, Jettel, and daughter, […]

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Ajami (2009)

Ajami (2009)

The making of this film is more interesting than the film itself. The makers solicited many non actors to star in this movie about the realities facing the people of Ajami, a neighborhood in Jaffa which is home to Jews, Muslims, and Christians. The film is very much like a documentary in part because of […]

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Born into Brothels (2003)

Born into Brothels (2003)

They live in the margins of society, the children of prostitutes in Calcutta, India. They are given time and space to discuss their lives with New York-based photographer Zana Briski. Briski, who co-directed the film with Ross Kauffman, started a photography class with several of these children. She gave them cameras and let them choose […]

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China's Lost Girls (2005)

China's Lost Girls (2005)

As of the filming of this special, as many as 40 million Chinese males were expected to be unable to find mates when they reach marrying age. That is one of the results of China’s so-called one baby rule. With one out of every five people on earth living in China, the government has instituted […]

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The Year of Living Dangerously (1982)

The Year of Living Dangerously (1982)

It’s 1965 in Indonesia. Sukarno heads an ever-increasingly unstable government. That is the backdrop for this story, the story of Australian journalist Guy Hamilton and his trial by fire in his first overseas assignment. He meets the diminutive Billy Kwan, a photographer who helps him secure sources for his stories. Through Kwan, Hamilton is introduced […]

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The Great Dictator (1940)

The Great Dictator (1940)

This film is phenomenal. Written, directed, and starring Charlie Chaplin, the movie satirizes Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler. He plays two roles: that of Adenoid Hynkel, the dictator of Tomainia (clearly Hitler), and a Jewish amnesiac barber who are dead ringers for each other. [kml_flashembed movie=”http://www.youtube.com/v/zroWIN-lS8E” width=”425″ height=”350″ wmode=”transparent” /] Chaplin uses humor to criticize […]

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Green Zone (2010)

Green Zone (2010)

This movie doesn’t live up to its promises. It is about a U.S. army officer in 2003 who is frustrated with bad intelligence regarding locations of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. It tries to be a topical thriller but never delivers. It is slow, disjointed, and somewhat tedious. Director Paul Greengrass hits the audience […]

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The Stoning of Soraya M. (2008)

The Stoning of Soraya M. (2008)

Part of what makes this movie sickening is that it is based on a true story. Set in 1986 Iran in a small village, the story revolves around a woman who refuses to grant her husband a divorce because it would leave her and her children penniless. Seeing no other way around it, the husband, […]

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S21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine (2004)

S21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine (2004)

“The unbearable past.” That is how survivor Vann Nath describes the time he was imprisoned, tortured, beaten, and almost starved to death in Khmer Rouge-controlled Cambodia in the late 1970s. Director Rithy Panh, who himself was held in a labor camp for four years, strips the story to its essence. [kml_flashembed movie=”http://www.youtube.com/v/8abZjVj0mu0″ width=”425″ height=”350″ wmode=”transparent” […]

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Amandla: A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony (2002)

Amandla: A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony (2002)

This documentary focuses on a lesser known yet equally important part of the apartheid history of South Africa: the music it engendered. Director Lee Hirsch chronicles the time of apartheid from its inception in 1948 to its demise in the 1990s. He does so in part by showing footage of riots and demonstrations but also […]

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