By Michelle Orange
By Michael Atkinson
By Simon Abrams
By Zachary Wigon
By Aaron Hillis
By Casey Burchby
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Calum Marsh
The Oath | The second installment in a planned trilogy on American policy post–9/11—which follows her strong 2006 ND/NF nonfiction entry on Iraq, My Country, My Country—Laura Poitras's extensively researched, intelligently structured doc centers on Abu Jandal, a taxi driver in Yemen who was once Osama bin Laden's bodyguard. As the intensely magnetic Jandal describes his time in Al Qaeda, the spectral presence of his brother-in-law, Salim Hamdan, OBL's former driver, then still locked away in Gitmo after being the first detainee tried before a military tribunal, constantly looms over Poitras's quietly forceful indictment of the "War on Terror."
The Red Chapel | A (purposefully?) insufferable Danish journalist, Mads Brügger attempts a Borat-like stunt in Pyongyang when he convinces the North Korean government of the cultural value in hosting the fart-filled slapstick revue of Danish-Korean performing duo Simon and Jacob. Under 24-hour surveillance in a police state, Brügger's attempts to "expose the very core of evil that is North Korea" are impossible to achieve, of course; the real draw of this unclassifiable doc is his two charges' increasingly conflicted feelings—about Brügger, his deceptions, and their faux-"homecoming." Or, as Simon responds with Scandinavian calm when his director pushes them too far: "The fondue pot has boiled over."
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