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“Difret” spotlights feminist issues in Ethiopia

In the opening scene of “Difret,” Zereseney Mehari’s first feature film, human rights lawyer Meaza Ashenafi (Meron Getnet) reassures one of her clients: “Don’t worry,” she says. “There are laws in this country. No one is above the law.” But Meaza’s faith in Ethiopia’s justice system comes to a head when she hears about Hirut Assefa, a fourteen-year-old facing the death penalty for killing her rapist in self-defense.

“To Be Takei”: Interview with Directors Jennifer Kroot and Bill Weber

In 2011, when Tennessee’s “don’t say gay” bill threatened to make the word “gay” illicit in schools, protesters held signs: “It’s okay to be Takei.” George Takei — first famous for playing Mr. Sulu on “Star Trek” — had just posted a YouTube video, encouraging students to say “Takei” instead of “gay.”

Since his career as helmsman of the USS Enterprise, Mr. Takei has worked as an LGBT civil rights activist and accumulated a massive social media following (he has 6 million Facebook friends). He is also committed to raising awareness about his family’s experience in Japanese-American internment camps, producing a new musical on the subject, “Allegiance.”

‘The Kill Team’ provides slanted account of Maywand District murders

“I couldn’t take it anymore. I wanted to tell somebody what was going on,” said Specialist Adam Winfield, recalling his time with the Fifth Stryker Brigade, Second Infantry Division, stationed outside Kandahar, Afghanistan. The unit became known as “The Kill Team” when five of its members were accused of murdering three Afghan civilians in 2011. A new documentary by the same name explores the aftermath of the killings, focusing on the story of Winfield and his family. In the end, this perspective is more limiting than illuminating. At every step of the way, the film depends on emotional manipulation, rather than dispassionate, evidence-based argument.

Following the Maywand District murders, government officials portrayed the atrocities as the product of a few bad apples rather than systemic issues within the armed forces. It is laudable that director Dan Krauss sought to interrogate, or at least contextualize, this framing of the crimes. In all likelihood, there is a documentary to be made about the institutional conditions and leadership vacuum that made the crimes possible. But “The Kill Team” is not that movie.