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This week's editor

Constitutional conventions: best practice

openDemocracy sees films differently: pioneering the mini-essay cine-crit, we offer in-depth and lateral criticism of films and the cultures they emerge from.

Borat

As Sacha Baron Cohen's provocative film hits cinemas worldwide, Kasia Boddy asks who has done the most "cultural learning", Kazakhstan or America?

Britain's hungry ghosts

Nick Broomfield's powerful docudrama uncovers the ghosts of poverty, corruption and racism that haunt British migrant workers.

Indigènes: enlarging France's history

A new French film that exposes amnesia about the colonial subjects who fought for France against Nazism in the second world war has profound contemporary resonance, says Patrice de Beer.

The Queen: an elegiac prophecy

The real target of Stephen Frears's depiction of a British queen under siege from politicians and people following Princess Diana's death is the constitutional system embodied in Tony Blair's imperial prime ministership. Tom Nairn, pioneering critic of Britain's monarchical state, views the film and looks beyond.

Right At Your Door

openDemocracy’s Mark Hanrahan talks to Chris Gorak, director of "Right At Your Door", a film about the aftermath of a terrorist attack in Los Angeles.

Kinoeye: Russia's reviving film industry

Russian film is booming on the back of the economy's rapid development

The Wind That Shakes the Barley: Ken Loach and Irish history

When an acclaimed, leftist English director makes a film about nationalist Irish struggles – and wins the top prize at the Cannes festival – controversy is inevitable. The historian Stephen Howe looks behind the shouting to ask: is the film truthful?

American Zeitgeist: war through a wide-angled lens

Robert McGann’s film about the "war on terror" is that rare breed of documentary that resists political agenda, writes Rob Cawston, but how effectively does it tackle the bigger picture?

Offside rules: an interview with Jafar Panahi

In just a few days time, on 11 June, Iran officially begins its 2006 German World Cup adventure.

Palestinian cinema: comedy in conflict

Fresh from London's Palestine Film Festival, Saeed Taji Farouky relives the laughter amid the darkness and reveals humour's precious, humanising power.

Wal-mart's bargaining power: an interview with Robert Greenwald

Dismissed as propaganda by its critics, the "Wal-Mart" documentary has nonetheless captivated audiences with its devastating expose of the mega US retailer. Conn Corrigan talks to the film's director Robert Greenwald.

Paradise Now

"Paradise Now", the controversial Oscar-nominated film is an insightful and, at times, surprising portrait of two Palestinian suicide bombers. But does its political message go far enough, asks Jane Kinninmont.

Shooting Dogs: Rwanda's genocide through European eyes

In trying to bring the complex subject of Rwanda's 1994 genocide to western audiences, does the film Shooting Dogs stray too far from the Rwandan experience? Duncan Woodside defends the filmmakers.

A film that seeks to condense and convey something as complex and recent as Rwanda's 1994 genocide, and to reconcile a part-fictionalisation of real events with a documentary style "matter-of-fact" tone, is sure to invite controversy.

Latin America: Filming the past, framing the future

Rob Cawston looks at three recent films chronicling the struggle for human rights in Latin America.

The dark heart of history: two South Asian films

Two recent South Asian films look at the devastating impact of ethnic conflict on family lives, and dare to confront a terrible history too easily ignored.

Syriana

"Syriana" dares to say we live in a world where "everything is connected". Is the result a fearless piece of filmmaking or merely ostentatiously complex? Jane Kinninmont gives her verdict.

Listening to Istanbul

Fatih Akin's new film, "Crossing the Bridge", allows Istanbul's music and musicians to reveal the city's fascinating and contradictory character – paradoxically without escaping risks of a Eurocentric perspective.

Good Night, and Good Luck

George Clooney's new film brilliantly examines the freedom of the American media during the McCarthy period. But, asks Neal Ascherson, is it really old news, and who can take up the challenge today?

The making of the Man in Black

James Mangold’s film portrayal of Johnny Cash in "Walk The Line" gives insight into the musician’s transition to artistic maturity, but for Charlie Devereux, the story it omits is just as interesting.

'Munich': Spielberg's failure

Hollywood deals with " counter-terrorism" in Steven Spielberg's new film about the aftermath of the Palestinian seizure of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics. Good theme, bad film, says Stephen Howe.

Wal-Mart: the high cost of low price

The success of Robert Greenwald’s documentary on the American retail behemoth holds an inspiring lesson, says Angela Saini.

Shadowplay in Dubai

The second Dubai International Film festival boasted an impressively progressive programme of documentaries. But beyond the red carpets and flashing lights Saeed Taji Farouky detected elements of censorship lurking in the shadows.

Is everything illuminated? The curse of 'logophilia'

Can a great novel make a great film? Rob Cawston considers a recent movie adaptation of one of his all-time favourite books “Everything is Illuminated.”

Ending Hollywood's hegemony: Unesco to the rescue

Is the culture industry at risk from free trade? Peter S Grant argues that it is and welcomes a new Unesco convention that will enable governments to protect cultural diversity and independent film.

Saraband: from Dalarna to Dallas, and back

Ingmar Bergman’s late film returns to the characters of his “Scenes from a Marriage” thirty years on. For Ken Worpole, it confirms the Swedish director as the “Shakespeare of the 20th century”.

The life and death of Pier Paolo Pasolini

The career and achievement of the filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini is being celebrated thirty years after his brutal murder, but the political controversy surrounding his death haunts Italy still, says Geoff Andrews.

I See The Stars At Noon: filming Morocco's emigration hunger

Saeed Taji Farouky’s documentary about a Moroccan desperately seeking a new life in Spain took a surprising twist as his friendship with Abdelfattah led him to the heart of the reasons for “secret emigration”.

London's eye on world cinema

Colin MacCabe looks back on half a century of film as the 49th London Film Festival opens today.

How it feels: Martin Scorsese's Bob Dylan

“No Direction Home” is a compelling film portrait of Bob Dylan which leaves the great musician as addictively elusive as ever, writes Rob Cawston.

Howl's Moving Castle: a film for adults

On the brink of her quarter-life crisis, Maryam Maruf is turned inside out by the latest film of the great Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki.

Werner Herzog: possibly true

The German film director Werner Herzog divides opinion. Some call him a visionary, some a megalomaniac; many, both. Brían Hanrahan charts his work as a documentarian and explores the legend.

Yes

What happens between the chef and the angry kitchen boy? Watch a special film clip from “Yes”, a film about a difficult love affair between an American woman and a Lebanese man. Written immediately after 9/11 and performed entirely in verse, it is the fifth feature film from one of Britain’s most acclaimed directors, Sally Potter.

A Family Business

From slapstick film to fantastical theatre, Tony Staveacre traces the creative genius of the Chaplin dynasty.

Rocky Road to Dublin

In 1967 Peter Lennon argued in his celebrated documentary, "Rocky Road to Dublin", that Ireland needed liberating from the Irish. Thirty seven years later, Ireland is ready to hear the message.

The Czech Dream?

Filip Remunda & Vit Klusak’s subversive documentary “Czech Dream” spoofs the Czechs’ journey from velvet revolution to consumer fantasy. Pavel Seifter - ex-dissident, ex-window cleaner, ex-Czech ambassador in London - sees the real in the absurd.

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