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Can You See Us?–Before Your Eyes

The first full-length Zambian movie released  on Netflix (August 27), Can You See Us? is inspired by the life of John Chiti, a popular international  singer, who is albino.   (The main character is named Joseph in the film, not John.) When Chama gives birth to Joseph, his father rejects him and his mother.  Chama is thrown out of her home with nowhere to go.  A compassionate taxi driver Martin (Kondwani Elliot Zulu)  marries her and adopts Joseph as his son. The young family’s life becomes more and more difficult.  As an albino child, Joseph must  navigate a childhood of bullying....

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The Whole Truth–And Nothing But….

In this 2016 legal thriller The Whole Truth  defense attorney Richard Ramsay (Keanu Reeves) comes to the aid of Mike (Gabriel Basso), the seventeen-year-old son of his friends Boone (Jim Belushi) and Loretta Lassiter (Renée Zellweger).  Mike has been accused of the murder of his father, a secretively abusive  womanizer, who browbeats his son into attending Stanford University. A police officer at the scene of the crime testifies in court that Mike mumbled “I should’ve done it long ago”  and asserts that Mike’s fingerprints were found on the murder weapon. Mike has completely...

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Fauda–Crisis after Crisis

Based upon their experiences serving in the Israel Defense Force (IDF), Lior Raz (who also stars as Doron) and Avi Issacharoff have developed a Netflix international sensation,  Fauda.    Produced from 2015 through 2022 as a four season series,  each season features a Palestinian terrorist or terrorist cell that IDF sets out to eliminate .  Fauda seems to rip from today’s headlines the bloodshed between Israel and Gaza.  The main character, Doron, is a rogue:  even the IDF cannot control his actions in every battle mission he is ordered to...

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Bending the Arc–Towards Justice and the Right to Health

Bending the Arc is the 2017 Netflix documentary of the renowned public health advocate and physician, Paul Farmer.  We see, first hand, Farmer  taking on the medical establishment in his fierce and heroic fight to treat poor people suffering from curable but  deadly diseases.  Known as “the man who could cure the world, ” according to the Pulitzer-prize winning author, Tracy Kidder in his biography of Farmer, “Mountains Beyond Mountains.” Bending the Arc can be considered the visual companion to Kidder’s moving homage to Dr. Farmer. Dr. Farmer began...

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Women Talking–In the Name of Religion

Directed by Sarah Polley, based on the titular novel by Miriam Toews, Women Talking is inspired by a true story of horrific mass rapes in a small Mennonite community.  Intentionally ambiguous with regard to time and place, the religious colony in Women Talking is cut off from the modern world:  any place in America full of barns, overalls and horse-drawn-carts will do. Women Talking  explores the wide-ranging  challenges and obstacles faced by women when their bodies and dignity have been ravaged. Co-produced  by Frances McDormand (“Macbeth”....

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Death on the Nile–No Lifesaver Needed

Death on the Nile,   a 2022 remake of Agatha Christie’s 1937 classic novel, is directed by and stars Kenneth Branagh. Cinematic adaptations from books, especially from beloved authors like Agatha Christie are only for the intrepid.  And Branagh is on a path to making a series of Christie screen adaptations, starting with his first film, “Murder on the Orient Express (2017).”  In the opening scene the young Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, devises a brilliant strategy to defeat the German forces in the  trenches of World War One. Seriously wounded, his face scarred, his fiancée...

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