This international independent series samples the best of international documentary.
Last Train Home (#718) Duration: 1:26:46 STEREO (Secondary audio: none)
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?
Recycle (#715) Duration: 1:26:46 STEREO (Secondary audio: none)
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.
Casablanca Calling (#716) Duration: 56:46 STEREO (Secondary audio: none)
In Morocco, women are being employed as religious leaders - called Morchidat - for the first time, offering advice and guidance in mosques, schools, prisons, and orphanages around the country. The Islam they teach is based on tolerance, compassion and equality.
This documentary follows 3 exceptional women: Karima is witty, mischievous, and outgoing; Bouchra is powerhouse of energy working in the North; Hannane is a poetic soul - warm, wise, and compassionate, who wants to change people's perceptions of the true teachings of Islam - including non-Muslims' conception of religious guides as "scary men with beards."
In the mosques, the Morchidat offer advice on everything from marital relationships, to bringing up children, work, money, and neighborhood disputes. They mentor teenagers in schools and fight against early marriage. They go into orphanages to offer comfort and guidance to children whose parents can't afford to keep them. And they visit prisons to counsel the most vulnerable prisoners, and mediate between the inmates and their estranged families.
- KQED World: Sun, Jun 21, 2015 -- 11:00pm Remind me
- KQED World: Mon, Jun 22, 2015 -- 7:00am Remind me
- KQED World: Mon, Jun 22, 2015 -- 1:00pm Remind me
- KQED World: Tue, Jun 23, 2015 -- 2:00am Remind me
- KQED World: Tue, Jun 23, 2015 -- 8:00am Remind me
- KQED World: Wed, Jun 24, 2015 -- 7:00am Remind me
- KQED World: Wed, Jun 24, 2015 -- 1:00pm Remind me
Acrobat (#509) Duration: 53:00 STEREO
Fabrice Champion, a renowned trapeze artist, hit another acrobat in mid-air during a show and was paralyzed. Following years of rehabilitation therapy, he returned to the circus as director and teacher.
Tales of the Waria (#504) Duration: 57:24 STEREO
At a time when transgender communities around the world are largely ignored or misrepresented in the media, this documentary intimately explores how one such community confronts issues of love, family, and faith. Traveling to Indonesia, the world's most populated Muslim country, it trains its lens on the warias, biological men who identify as women and are a surprisingly visible presence in a culture normally associated with strict gender divides. Interweaving the stories of several warias who make extraordinary sacrifices for love, this film creates a moving and unexpected portrait of a community that dares to live differently from the norm, despite what consequences may await them.
My Perestroika (#708) Duration: 1:22:52 STEREO (Secondary audio: none)
This film follows 5 ordinary Russians living in extraordinary times - from their sheltered Soviet childhood, to the collapse of the Soviet Union during their teenage years, to the constantly shifting political landscape of post-Soviet Russia. Together, these childhood classmates paint a complex picture of the dreams and disillusionment of those raised behind the Iron Curtain.
The Oath (#706) Duration: 1:22:57 STEREO (Secondary audio: none)
The story of Abu Jandal, Osama bin Laden's former bodyguard, and Salim Hamdan, a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay Prison and the first man to face the controversial military tribunals. Filmed in Yemen and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, this program is a family drama about two men whose fateful encounter in 1996 set them on a journey that would lead to Osama bin Laden, 9/11, Guantanamo Bay Prison, and the US Supreme Court. The film begins as Salim Hamdan is set to face war crime charges at Guantanamo, and Abu Jandal is a free man and drives a taxi in Yemen.
We enter the story in a taxicab in Yemen. Here we meet Abu Jandal, the film's central protagonist, as he transports passengers through the chaotic streets of Yemen's capital city, Sana'a. Salim Hamdan is the film's "ghost" protagonist. He was arrested in Afghanistan shortly after 9/11 and taken to Guantanamo. His 7-year captivity at Guantanamo is narrated through his prison letters.