The Oscar-Nominated Documentary Shorts arrive in town stone-faced, bearing witness to tragedies still reverberating. The subject of The Death of Kevin Carter: Casualty of the Bang Bang Club took a Pulitzer Prize–winning photo in the Sudan in 1993, then flamed out in a haze of coke and liberal guilt. The doc paints him as a hero for no discernible reason, but Carter’s daughter shatters the mythologizing by treating his death as a gift. God Sleeps in Rwanda is a sober profile of women stepping into male roles—keeping the peace and running town board meetings—that were denied them before the genocide (the country is now 70 percent female). Named after an organization that advocates for the rights of children deformed by the atom bomb in Hiroshima, The Mushroom Club interviews survivors and strenuously warns against Japan’s rising tide of nationalism and militarism. The Oscar victor was the vastly entertaining A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin, an elegy for radio art passionately narrated by Studs Terkel, Walter Cronkite, Robert Altman, and the playwright Corwin himself, whose Whitmanesque V-E Day broadcast riveted the nation.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on March 21, 2006