Last call for Doxa documentaries (Strong Sibel plug from Vancouver Sun)
Thank you Vancouver Sun, for doing so much to promote this film
Yvonne Zacharias, Vancouver Sun
Published: Saturday, May 31, 2008
There's still time to catch a flick or two at the Doxa Documentary Film Festival before it ends Sunday. Here are our picks.
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Filmmakers from two European countries have turned the lens on U.S. malfeasance, shining a light on some its darker corners. Both films track a hero who struggles valiantly to bring a little justice to this world:
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The United States portrays itself as the land of freedom, but the film Kill The Messenger by Mathieu Verboud and Jean-Robert Viallet casts serious doubt on that notion. The film from France documents the cold, crass efforts by the powers-that-be in the U.S. to bring down Sibel Edmonds, an American of Iranian and Turkish origin who was hired by the FBI as a translator in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 tragedy. She spent months translating high-security clearance documents.
One day, she reported the possible infiltration of her unit by Turkish spies to her supervisors. That act turned her life upside down. She was interrogated, fired and subjected to a relentless campaign of intimidation.
The attractive, articulate Edmonds makes a great heroine in the film. She brings her case to Congress, the 9/11 Commission, the media, the Supreme Court, facing down the FBI, then attorney-general John Ashcroft, Vice-President Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice.
In a similar vein, The Dictator Hunter by Klaartje Quirjins of The Netherlands focuses on hero Reed Brody, a lawyer with Human Rights Watch.
The film documents Brody's efforts to bring to justice Hissène Habré, the former dictator of Chad who is charged with killing thousands of citizens in the 1980s. Habré has taken refuge in Senegal.
Brody uses evidence from Chadian citizen Souleymane Guengueng who is determined to bring Habré to justice. Guengueng has convinced many of his countrymen of the value of this cause.
In the 1980s, the U.S. government supported Habré and financed the dreaded secret service, the DDS. In a remarkable twist of coincidence, Brody stumbles upon the abandoned archives of the DDS in Chad, finding proof of this U.S. support.
Kill The Messenger (9 p.m.) and The Dictator Hunter (7 p.m.) air Saturday, May 31, at at Pacific Cinematheque.
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In October 1972, a rugby team from Uruguay boarded a plane for a game they would never play.
Their plane crashed in the Andes.
Sixteen of the original 45 passengers managed to stay alive on a frozen glacier. Their story shocked the world. The lurid tale of how they stayed alive through cannibalism swept the headlines.
In Stranded: I've Come From A Plane that Crashed on the Mountains, filmmaker Gonzalo Arijon, who was born in Uruguay and has lived in France since 1979, goes back with the survivors and their children to revisit the crash site known as the Valley of Tears. They relive the experience.
The film contains exceptionally crafted re-enactments. Recovered photos and footage illuminate the interviews.
Stranded: I've Come From a Plane that Crashed on the Mountains closes the Doxa film festival. It airs at 7 p.m. Sunday, June 1, at the Empire Granville 7 Theatre.