The Conflict in Kashmir, Explained

The Conflict in Kashmir, Explained

Source:  Vox

The dispute between India and Pakistan over Kashmir is one of the world’s longest running conflicts.

Ever since Great Britain left India in 1947 and hastily drew borders demarcating a Hindu-majority India and a Muslim-majority Pakistan, Kashmir, located between the two, has been fervently claimed by both nations.

India and Pakistan’s first war was fought over Kashmir’s status as the the newly independent countries were being formed.  After over a year of bloody conflict the UN stepped in and brokered a ceasefire that drew a line down the middle of Kashmir and gave a portion of the territory to India and the remainder to Pakistan.

This arrangement was meant to be temporary.  Once the violence settled, a vote was to be held that would allow Kashmiris to decide their own future.

But more than 70 years later, Kashmiris have yet to vote on their status.  They remain stuck between two nuclear nations locked in a dangerous conflict with no end in sight.

Read the story of Vox.

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“Black Mother” is a personal, radical, expansive portrait of Jamaica and its people

“Black Mother” is a personal, radical, expansive portrait of Jamaica and its people

Source:  The A.V. Club

Khalik Allah’s latest documentary, “Black Mother,” may be considered something of a homecoming project for its photographer-turned-director.

Filmed in Jamaica over a two-year period (during which time he also contributed to Beyoncé’s “Lemonade”), the film is a return to his maternal ancestry.

From the opening scene, though, which goes from a rendition of “Jamaica Home” to ultrasound footage of a pregnancy to audio of a man soliciting a sex worker, it’s clear that this isn’t going to be a staid autobiographical portrait.

Indeed, though the film incorporates personal VHS home video footage as one of its many presentation formats—which also includes Super 8, 16mm, and HD video—the presence of the director’s family is minimal, bordering on incidental.

Rather, the film is an expansive snapshot of the Caribbean island nation.

Read the story at The A.V. Club.

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“The Trial” provides a window into the buildup to the biggest criminal trial in U.S. history

“The Trial” provides a window into the buildup to the biggest criminal trial in U.S. history

Source:  The Guardian

Alka Pradhan, James Connell, and Sterling Thomas are lawyers for Ammar al-Baluchi, one of five men facing the death penalty for plotting the 9/11 attacks.

“The Trial” provides a window into the buildup to the biggest criminal trial in U.S. history and reflects on the impact of a rarely seen part of the war on terror: the lack of accountability for the legacy of torture.

Johanna Hamilton’s film was produced by Field of Vision. Hamilton is an award-winning director/producer whose work explores cultural, political, and historical stories by focusing on the human experience.

Read the story at The Guardian.

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An Afghan refugee family documents their journey in “Midnight Traveler”

An Afghan refugee family documents their journey in “Midnight Traveler”

Source:  Hyperallergic

Afghan filmmaker Hassan Fazili once ran the Art Cafe in Kabul, a space for local artists to congregate and socialize.

Among other works, he directed “Peace in Afghanistan,” a documentary that profiled onetime Taliban commander Tur Jan, who abandoned the group and forsook violence.  Not long after the film aired on Afghan television, the Taliban killed Tur Jan and put out a bounty for Fazili.

Fazili, his wife Fatima, and their two young daughters fled for Tajikistan, where they spent more than a year unsuccessfully petitioning various countries for asylum.

Facing deportation to Afghanistan, the family began a new, unusual film project: They turned their phone cameras on one another in order to capture their situation.

For over two years, they filmed themselves on their journey to Europe, documenting each step of their search for a safe place.

The result, “Midnight Traveler,” premiered last month at the Sundance Film Festival.

Read the story at Hyperallergic.

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Controversial documentary “Jihadists” presents the unfiltered views of hard-line fundamentalists

Controversial documentary “Jihadists” presents the unfiltered views of hard-line fundamentalists

Source:  Los Angeles Times

What might your attempted indoctrination look like if you were kidnapped by radical Islamists? Or your television viewing habits after Sharia law took over your town?

“Jihadists” from French filmmaker François Margolin and Mauritanian Muslim journalist Lemine Ould Salem, is a sort of answer: a context-free series of interviews with hard-line fundamentalist clerics and believers from Sharia strongholds in Mali, Tunisia, Iraq, and Afghanistan, interspersed with propaganda videos of varying levels of queasiness and horror.

The filmmakers gained unprecedented access to record the unfettered theories of militant Salafists — ultra-pious adherents who want to turn back the clock — and the result is unusual enough in its uncritical presentation that the film was nearly banned in France for coming off like propaganda itself.

While there is a certain abject fascination in the unvarnished reality on display — everyday violence, unapologetic defenses of cruelty, killing, and hatred wrapped in soft-spoken praisings of God — the lack of an off-screen voice saying “Yeah, but …” is ultimately maddening.

Read the story at the Los Angeles Times.

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“Stieg Larsson: The Man Who Played With Fire” explores the Dragon Tattoo author’s life-long efforts to expose far-right extremism

“Stieg Larsson: The Man Who Played With Fire” explores the Dragon Tattoo author’s life-long efforts to expose far-right extremism

Source:  The Hollywood Reporter

Most people are familiar with Stieg Larsson through his hugely successful “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” novels and their subsequent Swedish and Hollywood film adaptations.

But while Henrik Georgsson’s documentary about Larsson’s life and career riffs on the title of one those best sellers, it concentrates on the far more fascinating story of the author’s decades-long journalistic efforts exposing European neo-Nazis and right-wing extremists.

Receiving its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, “Stieg Larsson: The Man Who Played With Fire” will have no problem garnering interest among international audiences.

“He should be known for his consistent job of mapping out the far right and the Nazis,” a commentator says early on about Larsson in the film. It’s a situation the documentary attempts to rectify, delivering a biographical portrait in which the Millennium crime novels revolving around Lisbeth Salander are little more than a footnote.

The film chronicles the political turbulence that led to the rise of right-wing elements in Sweden in the 1980s and ’90s, including the founding of the “Keep Sweden Swedish” anti-immigrant organization and the 1986 assassination of former prime minister Olof Palme, then the leader of the Swedish Social Democratic Party.

“Stieg Larsson: The Man Who Played With Fire” is screening at the Sundance Film Festival.

Read the story at The Hollywood Reporter.

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