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Reviews by Minister Faust

Battleground: 21 Days on the Empire’s Edge.

84 min. Dir. Stephen Marshall. Garneau Theatre. Friday, Nov. 4, 7 pm.

Insightful, must-see interviews with ordinary Iraqis, an Arabic-speaking Asian-American Al-Jazeera reporter (!) and US officers struggling to do right (or are they?) in the midst of US-driven chaos. An African-American tank commander delivers a stunningly eloquent and accurate Marxian analysis of the imperial nature of the US invasion, only to indicate that he backs the aggression because it’s what “his country” needs; an Iraqi translator unloads a torrent of resentment at her country’s conquest; an anti-Hussein former rebel is tearfully reunited after 13 years with his family. A must-see.

Speaking Out: Women of Uganda.

34 min. Dir. Peter Campbell. Garneau Theatre. Saturday, Nov. 5, 3 pm.

Speaking Out is largely interviews with parliamentarians and academics from Uganda and South Africa at a 2002 conference in Kampala, Uganda. While the first half of the film is largely statements of the obvious--that girls and woman deserve opportunities equal to those of boys and men--the second half of the film revels in the intelligence and eloquence of Ugandan high school girls revealing their insights into how to fix the problems of gender discrimination in Uganda and beyond. Several discuss GEM, the international Girls Education Movement, which teaches girls assertiveness for home and school.

Water is Life.

52 min. Kwesi Owusu. Garneau Theatre. Saturday, Nov. 5, 5 pm.

Gorgeous, colour-saturated photography and joyful-melancholy Ghanaian jazz open Water is Life, a discussion of the attack on the planet’s most valuable resource. Solutions-driven, the film includes poignant images such as the spectacular Akosombo Lake, one of the largest artificial lakes in the world, at whose shore a man cleans his SUV, leaving motor oil in water the locals collect for drinking. Newly independent Ghana created ambitious and successful public water programmes, but years of World Bank attacks on social services have meant some families spend as much as 70% of their income on water. The film explores hopeful opportunities Ghanaians are undertaking, especially in the locally-run, communally-operated water distribution in the town of Savelugu. A good optimistic alternative.

The Oil Factor: Behind the War on Terror.

93 min. Campus Centre. Saturday, Nov. 5, 7 pm.

Extensive interviews with relevant experts including Noam Chomsky, the business editor of Jane’s Defense Weekly and the executive director of the neo-con cabal Project for a New American Century, reveal the forgotten backstory of US aggression on Afghanistan and Iraq, from forming and funding the mujahadeen army which would become Al Qaeda to backing the Taliban with cash, weapons and vehicles. The Oil Factor explores the current US occupation, detailing corruption in the no-bid contracts and the total theft (i.e., privatisation) of a country which by the late 1970s had reached a near-European level of development and is now the wild, wild east.

Beyond Treason.

100 min. Dir. William Lewis. Monday, Nov. 7, 9 pm.

In the 14 years of misadventures since Gulf War I, included US bombing in the former Yugoslavia, 250,000 US soldiers out of 690,000 GWI troops have been classified by their Department of Defense as permanently disabled. The leading cause, says the film, is a combination of toxins inhaled in-theatre from destroyed enemy sites (oil, chemical and nuclear), secret guinea pig “inoculations,” and depleted uranium. Despite the lie of searching for WMD, the US made massive use of the lethal radioactive DU artillery which itself constituted mass destruction, since DU kills indiscriminately and will for millennia. While 99% focused on American lies and American loss, the film includes a collage of Iraqi babies born with deformities so severe and disturbing they can only be described as Satanic.