|FRONTLINE/World: Episode #102|
PBS AIRDATE: Thursday, October 31, at 9 p.m., 60 minutes
It's Halloween and Dracula is rising from the grave. In Romania, the vampire's legendary home, the government dreams that marketing Dracula to Westerners will attract tourist dollars. On the other side of the globe, far off in the Cambodian jungle, leaders of the notorious Khmer Rouge army are running brothels, nightclubs, and casinos—and hoping they will never be put on trial for war crimes.
FRONTLINE/World, PBS's new series of "stories from a small planet," returns Thursday, October 31, at 9 P.M. (check local listings) with a report from Romania by writer Andrei Codrescu, a story from Cambodia, and a third segment to be announced.
"In this edition of FRONTLINE/World, we go on a journey of myth and memory," says Series Editor Stephen Talbot. "We explore the Dracula revival in a country still recovering from 40 years of totalitarian rule, and we travel deep into the heart of a country that doesn't know whether to bury or confront its violent past."
The latest installment of FRONTLINE/World features the following segments:
"Pol Pot's Shadow"More than twenty years after Cambodia's communist Khmer Rouge regime was driven from power, its notorious leader, the late Pol Pot, continues to cast a long shadow over the nation. Nearly two million people died under the Khmer Rouge's rule from 1975-1979, yet no one has ever been brought to trial for the genocide, which ranks as one of the worst of the 20th century. Instead, many of the Khmer Rouge's surviving leaders can now be found living and working alongside the very people they once tortured and imprisoned.
In "Pol Pot's Shadow," FRONTLINE/World ventures far off the beaten path in Cambodia to track down the highest-ranking Khmer Rouge official known to have survived: Nuon Chea, the elusive "Brother Number Two." In his first U.S. television interview, the communist leader some have called "Pol Pot's shadow" displays little remorse or regret for the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge regime.
"We did some things wrong, but we also did some things right," Nuon Chea says. "Just because you did something wrong doesn't mean you're a bad person."
FRONTLINE/World reporter Amanda Pike travels to parts of Cambodia where the Khmer Rouge openly honor the late Pol Pot. Pike witnesses Khmer Rouge followers praying at Pol Pot's grave for health, guidanceand winning lottery numbers. She meets Pol Pot's cook and his bodyguard, and even discovers his teenage daughter, who is seen attending an English-language classan offense that would have been punishable by death under Pol Pot's regime.
FRONTLINE/World also tracks down other former Khmer Rouge communists who are livingand in some cases, thriving financially—in the semi-autonomous Pailin region, a gem-rich area of the country that the Khmer Rouge have been allowed to govern.
"You don't see other parts of the world which have just experienced war and atrocity allow rebel forces to have such power and such a tremendous amount of cash," says Prince Sisowath Sirirath, Cambodia's Minister of Defense.
Yet even as the United Nations grapples with the issue of holding Khmer Rouge leaders accountable for their atrocities, Sisowath admits that some fear a war crimes tribunal might spur the Khmer Rouge to take up arms once again. "People remember well," he says. "The Khmer Rouge strike fear among many of us."
"The Return of Dracula"After four decades of totalitarian rule and international isolation, Romania has spent the past thirteen years trying to shake off its communist past and embrace Western ideas and traditions. In "The Return of Dracula," Codrescu returns to his native land to find a country that has been only partly successful.
"Today's Romania is roiling in contradictions," says Codrescu, whose journey across Romania introduces viewers to everyone from right-wing, nationalist politicians to dissident poets and local hip-hop artists. "Amid the economic growth and opportunity offered by the new capitalist system, poverty and nostalgia for the old socialist order still persist."
FRONTLINE/World reveals a new Romaniaone populated by enthusiastic entrepreneurs like Nicolae Marinescu, who parlayed a $500 loan into a mini-empire that includes training young Romanian women to be exotic dancers in countries like Italy and Japan. Throughout the nation, references to Dracula abound: from the historic Bran Castlepromoted to tourists as Dracula's castle even though the real Dracula never lived thereto "Club Dracula," a Bucharest tourist-trap restaurant. Now, the government hopes to cash in on an even greater scale with its proposed Dracula theme park.
Notes Codrescu: "The marketing of the vampire myth to Western tourists is really a metaphor for everything that's right—and wrong—with the new Romania."
Following the broadcast, access the FRONTLINE/World Web site at pbs.org/frontlineworld for compelling interactive features, including original reports from young journalists from around the globe, news articles and features from foreign media, interviews, streaming video, interactive quizzes, and much more.
Stephen Talbot is series editor for FRONTLINE/World. KQED executive-in-charge for FRONTLINE/World is Sue Ellen McCann. WGBH executive-in-charge for FRONTLINE/World is Sharon Tiller.
FRONTLINE/World is co-produced by KQED San Francisco and WGBH Boston and is broadcast nationwide on PBS.
Major funding for FRONTLINE/World is provided by PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Additional funding is provided by ABB, Ltd., and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
FRONTLINE/World is closed-captioned for deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers.
The executive producer for FRONTLINE/World is David Fanning.