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Icarus Film
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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Opposing the Kremlin?
A recent spate of high-profile assassinations of Russians, including journalist Anna Politkovskaya who was shot outside her home and ex K.G.B agent-in-exile Alexander Litvinenko, done in by a lethal dose of radioactive polonium 210, are the subject of a new New Yorker article by Michael Specter, Kremlin, Inc.: Why are Vladimir Putin's opponents dying? Tania Rakhmanova’s new film HOW PUTIN CAME TO POWER explores the meteoric rise to power of this once unknown F.S.B. (the modern K.G.B.) agent and sets the stage for the Specter’s investigation of Putin’s current administration.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Hottentot Venus Revisited
Sara Baartman, also known as "The Hottentot Venus," was a young Khoi Khoi woman taken from her home in South Africa to be crudely prodded and exhibited as a sideshow attraction in Britain in the early 1800's. Her life is the subject of a new book, "African Queen: The Real Life of the Hottentot Venus" by Rachel Holmes just released by Random House. Caroline Elkins, the Hugo K. Foster associate professor of African studies at Harvard, reviewed the book in this Sunday's New York Times noting, "The story of Saartjie Baartman — the Hottentot Venus’s real name — is inherently fascinating, and littered with a diverse cast of highly unlikable characters."

Learn more about Baartman in Zola Maseko's multiple award-winning doc, THE LIFE AND TIMES OF SARA BAARTMAN. Called "telling and quite powerful" by the American Historical Review, the film explores Baartman's life and the legacy of racism and sexism her exploitation represented, which lived on for over a century after her death. And following up the first film, Maseko returned to Baartman’s story when French senator Nicolas About introduced a law to repatriate Baartman’s remains to South Africa chronicled in THE RETURN OF SARA BAARTMAN.

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Friday, January 05, 2007

Japan’s Neonationalist Offensive and the Military
As reported on, when Abe Shinzo was installed as prime minister of Japan in September 2006, there was some concern that he would push the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s proposal to revise Japan’s constitution and gut the no-war provisions of Article 9. But his "go slow approach" has reassured Japan’s neighbors, while masking a very ambitious agenda.

The acclaimed recent release JAPAN'S PEACE CONSTITUTION is a timely, hard-hitting documentary places the ongoing debate over the constitution in an international context: What will revision mean to Japan's neighbors, Korea and China? How is the unprecedented involvement of Japan's Self-Defense Force in the occupation of Iraq perceived in the Middle East?

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