A PROMISE TO THE DEAD
"... my first September 11th had been in 1973, when terror was also inflicted on the innocent, when death also rained down from the sky, sending me into exile, making me into the man I have now become..." -Ariel Dorfman
On September 11, 1973, Chile's military attacked its government. As the coup took hold, the democratically elected president Salvador Allende called government members to the presidential palace to stand against their attackers, facing certain death. Ariel Dorfman was Allende's cultural advisor, and should have been called too; he later discovered his name had been struck from the list so he could live to tell what happened that day. Three decades later, Dorfman is an internationally respected writer and human rights activist, winner of the Sir Laurence Olivier Award for the play Death and the Maiden
. Filmmaker Peter Raymont travels to Chile with Dorfman in late 2006, at the time when Augusto Pinochet, Allende's overthrower and Dorfman's long-time nemesis, is dying. Raymont follows Dorfman through emotional reunions with his friends and fellow resistors, to personal landmarks that are powerful both emotionally and historically. During the journey they explore exile, memory and the search for justice. Directed by Peter Raymont, Canada, 2006, 92 mins. In English and Spanish with English subtitles.
Salon.com: Dorfman article
New York Times
Fri., June 12 at 7 & 9 pm
Thurs., June 18 at 7 pm
THE SARI SOLDIERS
"It gives new meaning to the words courage and resilience"
-New York Times
Filmed over three years during the most historic and pivotal time in Nepal's modern history, The Sari Soldiers
is an extraordinary story of six women's courageous efforts to shape Nepal's future in the midst of an escalating civil war against Maoist insurgents, and the King’s crackdown on civil liberties. When Devi, mother of a 15-year-old girl, witnesses her niece being tortured and murdered by the Royal Nepal Army, she speaks publicly about the atrocity. The army abducts her daughter in retaliation, and Devi embarks on a three-year struggle to uncover her daughter's fate and see justice done. The Sari Soldiers
follows her and five other brave women, including Maoist Commander Kranti; Royal Nepal Army Officer Rajani; Krishna, a monarchist from a rural community who leads a rebellion against the Maoists; Mandira, a human rights lawyer; and Ram Kumari, a young student activist organizing the protests to establish democracy. The Sari Soldiers
intimately delves into the extraordinary journey of these women on all sides of the conflict, through the democratic revolution that reshapes the country's future. Directed by Julie Bridgham, U.S.A./Nepal, 2008, 90 mins. In Nepali with English subtitles.
Sat., June 13 at 3 & 7 pm
Tues., June 16 at 9 pm
Two American friends, one Hindu and one Muslim, enter the war zone of Kashmir to investigate the 60-year rivalry between their homelands India and Pakistan. How does a young generation remain hopeful in this endless war? Beautifully lensed by award-winning cinematographer Ross Kauffman, the film captures the physical splendor of Kashmir, while expertly interweaving deeply moving personal stories of Kashmiris with those of the two American women, who strive to reconcile their ethnic and religious heritage with the violence that haunts their homeland. Directed by Senain Kheshgi and Geeta V. Patel, U.S.A., 2008, 89 mins. In English, Urdu, Kashmiri and Hindi with English subtitles.
Sat., June 13 at 5 & 9 pm
Wed., June 17 at 7 pm
TO SEE IF I'M SMILING
Best Film & Audience Award
Documentary Film Fest
"Like a short, sharp blow to the solar plexus, Tamar Yarom's hourlong docu stuns with raw, unfiltered emotion"
Israel is the only country in the world where 18-year-old girls are drafted for compulsory military service. To See If I'm Smiling
is a disturbing look at the actions and behavior of women soldiers in the Israeli army who, stationed in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, help maintain the 40-year-old occupation of Palestinian territories. The women in the film, veterans who've tried to bury the past for years, finally speak openly about their experiences. Deeply personal interviews are dramatically interwoven with both archival footage and details of the women's daily lives. One woman recounts how she posed for a photo with a Palestinian corpse. She searches for that picture, saying, "I wanted to see if I'm smiling." At a time when women in the military are increasingly on the frontlines, this powerful film explores the ways that gender, ethics, and moral responsibility intersect during war. Directed by Tamar Yarom, Israel, 2007, 59 mins. In Hebrew with English subtitles
YouTube: CBC report
Thirteen-year-old Hussein from the village of Sadikkeen in south Lebanon has been watching the demining experts in his area clearing the estimated 3 million cluster bombs that the Israeli forces dropped in the war with Hezbollah in 2006. A projected 1 million of these remain unexploded and scattered around the villages and mountains of south Lebanon. Hundreds of children, like Hussein, are still fascinated by them. Directed by Katia Saleh, UK/Lebanon, 2007, 23 mins. In Arabic and English with English subtitles.
Sun., June 14 at 3 & 5 pm
Thurs., June 18 at 9 pm
LETTER TO ANNA
"A cool-headed, quietly insistent analysis"
Anna Politkovskaya was a brave and tenacious journalist for one of Russia's only independent journals, Novaya Gazeta
. Anna used her journalist platform to strongly criticize Russian military actions in Chechnya. On October 7, 2006, she was shot dead in the stairwell of her Moscow apartment building. A few years before her untimely death, filmmaker Eric Bergkraut met Politkovskaya while making his documentary Coca: The Dove From Chechnya
. Bergkraut filmed some powerful, frank interviews with the late reporter. In Letter to Anna these are interwoven with a tantalizing search for her likely killers and insightful contributions from colleagues and loved ones who discuss her work while celebrating the life of an extraordinary woman and mother, a fearless defender of the people, "the conscience of Russia." Narrated by Susan Sarandon. Directed by Eric Bergkraut, Switzerland, 2008, 84 mins. In Russian and English with English subtitles.
Sun., June 14 at 7 pm
Mon., June 15 at 7 pm
Wed., June 17 at 9 pm
USA VS. AL-ARIAN
"Halvorsen constructs a damning portrait of the case by focusing on the trial's emotional toll"
A passionate, outspoken pro-Palestinian activist, university professor Sami Al-Arian was charged in 2003 with funding and supporting a Palestinian terrorist group and held in prison awaiting a trial for two-and-a-half years. USA vs. Al-Arian
is an intimate family portrait that documents the strain brought on by Al-Arian's trial, a battle waged both in court and in the media. A tight-knit family unravels before our eyes as trial preparations, strategy, and spin consume their lives. This is a nightmare come to life, as a man is prosecuted for his beliefs rather than his actions. Director Line Halvorsen presents democracy in a new light—in a post-9/11 culture of fear, "security measures" trump free speech, and punishment is meted out in the name of protection. Directed by Line Halvorsen, Norway. 2007, 98 mins. In Arabic with English subtitles.
Sun., June 14 at 9 pm
Mon., June 15 at 9 pm
Tues., June 16 at 7 pm
CLOSING NIGHT BENEFIT SCREENING AND RECEPTION
Thursday, June 18
at the MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART
THE GREATEST SILENCE: RAPE IN THE CONGO
LISA F. JACKSON, DIRECTOR, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
Special Jury Prize
"Harrowing and heart-rending and maddening and confounding... The documentary brings you close to its subject, and though its main point is unwavering -- women are being brutalized in the most unspeakable ways in eastern Congo -- its effect is increasingly complex."
Shot in the war zones of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), this extraordinary film sensitively yet unflinchingly brings to light the plight of women and girls caught in that country's intractable conflicts. A survivor of rape herself, Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Lisa Jackson travels through the DRC to understand what is happening and why. The film features interviews with activists, peacekeepers, physicians, and even the indifferent rapists. But the most remarkable moments of the film come as survivors recount their personal stories—inspiring examples of resilience, resistance, courage and grace. Directed by Lisa Jackson, U.S.A., 2007, 76 mins. In English, French, Swahili, Lingala and Mashi with English subtitles
Chicago Public Radio: director interview
Museum of Contemporary Art
200 E. Chicago Avenue
Education Center entrance (parking is located on Chicago Avenue).
Welcome and screening of
The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo
Remarks by director Lisa F. Jackson, followed by Q&A with the audience.
For this Closing Night Benefit, tickets must be purchased in advance.
To purchase Benefit tickets (reminder: which must be purchased in advance) or for more information, please call 312-573-2452 or email email@example.com
Museum of Contemporary Art
Time Out Chicago
Chicago Foundation for Women, Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network, Community Counseling Centers of Chicago, Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Rape Victim Advocates, YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago