At just 39 years old, the prolific Joann Sfar has published 150 graphic novels, including the French best-seller Rabbi’s Cat and the New York Times best-seller Little Vampire ,and recently crossed over into feature films with Gainsbourg: Vie Heroique and the adaptation of Rabbi’s Cat. JOANN SFAR DRAWS FROM MEMORY tracks the graphic artist’s odyssey through the Algerian and Eastern-European Jewish heritage that serves as the wellspring of his work. Filmed over a two-year period, the camera follows the passionate and perceptive Sfar around his adopted home of Paris — observing the artist at work and capturing his thoughts on family life, Algeria’s past, creativity and his improvisatory method, the inspiration for his alter-ego cat and his dislike of being pigeonholed as a “Jewish” artist. A 10-minute prologue offers a chronological history of the comic book and places Sfar within this 75-year artistic tradition.
What does it mean to lead men in war? What does it mean to come home — injured physically and psychologically — and build a life anew? In “Hell and Back Again,” two overlapping narratives are intercut — the life of a Marine at war on the front and the life of the same Marine in recovery at home — creating both a dreamlike quality and a strikingly realistic depiction of how Marines experience this war.
Watch Independent Lens, Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 9:30pm.
WORLD PEACE AND OTHER 4TH GRADE ACHIEVEMENTS interweaves the story of a remarkable educator and the extraordinary game he developed to demonstrate the complexities of peace and global conflict. Teacher John Hunter’s World Peace Game is a hands-on political simulation exercise in which students tackle real-world military, economic and environmental issues. The nine- and 10-year-olds divide into groups, including nation states, the World Bank, United Nations officials, indigenous peoples and even arms dealers. Then, they face daily challenges ranging from insurgencies and global warming to ethnic tensions and natural disasters. Working together, while also balancing the interests of their own “nations,” they attempt to achieve global prosperity with the least amount of military intervention. As fun and engaging as the game it profiles, WORLD PEACE AND OTHER 4TH GRADE ACHIEVEMENTS provides an inspirational look at the lasting impact of one wise and caring teacher on his students and, potentially, the world.
Watch Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 8:30pm.
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The demand for better and faster cell phone service comes with a hidden cost. This joint investigation by FRONTLINE and ProPublica has found that the independent contractors who are building and servicing America’s cellular infrastructure are 10 times more likely than an average construction worker to die on the job. Complex layers of subcontracting insulate the carriers against liability, despite the fact that they set the aggressive schedule that can force subcontractors to cut corners in order to meet deadlines.
Watch Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 9pm.