FIRE AT SEA (Fuocoammare) — Gianfranco Rosi Interview

Gianfranco Rosi had intended to make a 10-minute film about the refugees who find themselves on the island of Lampedusa, but once there, he quickly decided that the complexity of the situation demanded more. Hence FIRE AT SEA, short-listed for an Oscar™ and otherwise garnering praise for its sensitive, incisive look at how refugees and… Read More »


Credit where it’s due.  THE LEGEND OF TARZAN doesn’t get everything wrong. For one, It has the virtue of addressing why a perfectly capable, perfectly intelligent black man with a Ph.D., George Washington Harris (Samuel L. Jackson as an actual historical character) needs a white man, that would be Lord Greystoke aka Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgård)… Read More »

Hubert Sauper Explores the Irony of WE COME AS FRIENDS

I am rarely left speechless when conducting an interview, but on August 19, 2015, when WE COME AS FRIEND’s Hubert Sauper told me about how a group of Christian missionaries from Texas had convinced their Sudanese converts about the truth of the resurrection, I all but collapsed in bemused disbelief. It’s towards the end of… Read More »

The Power of VIRUNGA with Director Orlando Von Einsiedel, subjects Emmanuel De Merode and Andrea Baume

Emmanuel De Merode is a prince literally and figuratively. He holds the title courtesy of the Belgian government as a descendant of that country’s nobility. He has also dedicated his life to preserving the wildlife and wild areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, moving there from his home in Kenya to become the director… Read More »


The difference in outlooks between Justin Quayle (Ralph Fiennes) and his late wife, Tessa (Rachel Weisz), can be summed up in a conversation they have while driving on the squalid streets of Kenya’s capital where Justin, a British diplomat, is stationed. Tessa wants him to stop and give a lift back to her village to… Read More »



With TSOTSI, Gavin Hood has taken the liberty of updating the timeframe of South African writer Athol Fugard’s only novel. In doing so, the politics of apartheid that spurred the story in the book has given way to the tragedy of AIDS. Changing the circumstances of its title character’s orphaning, though, doesn’t affect the nature of… Read More »


In SOMETIMES IN APRIL, Raoul Peck (Lumumba), has taken the specific story of the Rwandan genocide of April 1994 and made manifest the universal implications of the events. There is plenty of culpability to go around and Peck is not shy about pointing fingers, but he is also not shy about pointing up the greater… Read More »

Idris Elba and TAKERS

Idris Elba has several thriving careers going for him, not the least of which is giving powerful performances in both feature films and on television. When I spoke with him on August 8, 2010, he explained how his career in music informs his thespian efforts, how and why he wanted to make his TAKERS character, a daring… Read More »


Raoul Peck is a softspoken man, but the gentle timbre of his voice does nothing to disguise the passion he feels for SOMETIMES IN APRIL, which he wrote and directed for HBO. This look at the Rwandan genocide of 1994, an event that took a million lives in 100 days, was a topic he was… Read More »