This international independent series samples the best of international documentary.
Global Voices Previous Broadcasts
Recycle (Episode #715)
KQED World: Sun, Jan 29, 2017 -- 1:00 AM
Zarqa, Jordan's second largest city, is a rundown, industrial metropolis and birthplace of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the notorious mastermind of al Qaeda's terror operations in Iraq who was killed by American forces in 2005.
This documentary reveals the distinct yet intertwined stories of 3 native sons of Zarqa: al-Zarqawi; Abu Ammar, an ex-Mujahadin fighter who now supports his family of 11 by collecting cardboard to recycle; and filmmaker Mahmoud al Massad who, from behind the camera's lens, coolly unravels the knotted threads of poverty, humiliation, and strict religious doctrine that have made the city a continuing source for jihadist recruits.
The central story is Ammar's; his attempts to build a normal life in the impoverished town are thwarted at every turn. He cannot afford his rent; a scheme to sell used vehicles in Iraq fails when he is almost killed by extremists and American soldiers, and the book he is writing - a moderate interpretation of jihad - goes unfinished.
Inscrutable, undaunted, and ever-devout, Ammar labors alone at night in an abandoned storefront transcribing his personal interpretations of scripture from slips of paper stuffed in garbage bags onto an old desktop computer. But, when the war on terror strikes close to home, he is swept up and forced to deal with the reality that his life is falling apart. His surprising decision to try something completely different suggests that, when push comes to shove, desperate acts can emerge from the most ordinary of circumstances.
Last Train Home (Episode #718)
KQED World: Sat, Jan 28, 2017 -- 9:00 PM
Every spring, China's cities are plunged into chaos, all at once, as a tidal wave of humanity attempts to return home by train. It is the Chinese New Year. The wave is made up of millions of migrant factory workers. The homes they seek are in the rural villages where they left behind family to seek work in the booming coastal cities. It is an epic spectacle that tells us much about China, a country discarding traditional ways as it hurtles towards modernity and global economic dominance.
This visually striking debut film from Chinese Canadian director Lixin Fan draws us into the fractured lives of a single migrant family caught up in this desperate annual migration. 16 years ago, the Zhangs abandoned their young children to find work in the city, consoled by the hope that their wages would lift their children into a better life. But in a bitterly ironic twist, the Zhangs's hopes for the future are undone by their very absence.
Qin, the child they left behind, has grown into adolescence crippled by a sense of abandonment. In an act of teenage rebellion, she drops out of school. She too will become a migrant worker. The decision is a heartbreaking blow for her parents.
In classic cinema verite style, this film follows the Zhangs's attempts to change their daughter's course and repair their ruptured family. Intimate and candid, it paints a human portrait of the dramatic changes sweeping China. We identify with the Zhangs as they navigate through the stark and difficult choices of a society caught between old ways and new realities. Can they get ahead and still undo some of the damage that has been done to their family?
Here Comes Uncle Joe (Episode #714)
KQED World: Mon, Jan 16, 2017 -- 12:00 AM
He is not their uncle, and his name is not Joe. But to the old ladies of An-dong, a rural community in southeastern Korea, Uncle Joe is almost the only contact they have with the modern world. As the young leave these rural areas to acquire higher education and to find high salary jobs in the cities, there are no services or people to support old people. In this situation, Uncle Joe becomes the only man for the old.
However, his road taken isn't always happy. Because of their advanced years, Joe often encounters his old customer-friends' misery and death. Moreover, as he reflects on his life, he faces his inner conflict and shame. In this film, we see how Uncle Joe serves these communities with humor and attention, how love and friendship are infused in life, and how he overcomes his conflicts with his friends.
- KQED World: Mon, Jan 16, 2017 -- 8:00 AM