On today's edition of Subversity, a KUCI public affairs program, we interview the directors of two important documentaries. In the first half-hour, we talk with Laura Poitras, about her latest documentary, The Oath, which features Abu Jandal, Osama bin Laden's former bodguard; in the background in the film hovers Salim Hamdan, incarcerated at Guantanamo, the first man to face the controversial military tribunals, and who won at the U.S. Supreme Court only to see the rules changed in the middle of the "game".
Poitras' revealing documentary shows what attracted Abu Jandal, rehabilitated in Yemen's post-incarceration program -- it paid for his taxicab -- with Hamdan -- to join the jihad and Al-Queda. Hamdan, drawn to the charismatic Abu Jandal, went with him to Afghanistan, where Osama bin Laden invited the men to visit. The rest is history. The film also covers Hamdan's military trial, and Abu Jandal's cooperation with the FBI six days after 9/11 -- he was in prison in Yemen during 9/11.
Poitras' earlier film, My Country, My Country, about the U.S. occupation of Iraq, has been nominated for an OScar, Independent Spirit Award, and an Emmy. Her final film in this trilogy will focus on the 9/11 trials. She is currently working on the Guantanamo Project to collect documents and artifacts from Guantanamo Bay Prison.
The Oath opens in Los Angeles May 21, 2010.
Well of Loneliness: The Bracero Program
Mexican nationals in tomato harvest, Muri Ranch on Roberts Island, San Joaquin Valley.
Photograph published in: California Annual Farm Labor Report, 1951. Sacramento: State of California, Farm Placement Service. Part of Immigrant Lives in 'the O.C.' & Beyond exhibit at UCI Libraries in 2008-2009.
In our second half-hour, we talk with film directors Gilbert G. Gonzalez and Vivian Price. The former is Professor Emeritus at UCI's Chicano/Latino Studies Department, and the latter, who obtained her Ph.D at UCI, is a professor at CSU Dominguez-Hills in interdisciplinary studies who has also made other documentaries on women and labor.
The two academics co-directed Harvest of Loneliness, a searing indictment of the bracero program that brought Mexicans as contract labor to work on farms in the the U.S., creating havoc in their homeland, where they had left their wives and children to fend for themselves. Despite contracts that promised much more, the men were paid peanuts and never got the promised health benefits nor death benefits for those who died under contract. The documentary ends with an analysis of the negatives impact current globalization initiatives have had on the lives of Mexicans.
Harvest of Loneliness: The Bracero Program, makes its World Premiere Thusrday, May 20, 2010 at Humanities Instructional Building Romm 100, UC Irvine, as part of the Cosecha Laina series in the Latin American Film Festival, in association with the UCI Film and Video Center. A reception is at 6:15 p.m.; with screening at 7 p.m., with Q&A with the co-directors to follow. A film trailer is accessible via the film web site: Harvest of Loneliness.
We dedicate this show to the legacy of Tam Tran and Cinthya Felix, DREAM Act activists who tragically lost their lives in a car accident last Saturday.
Subversity airs from 5-6 p.m. on KUCI, 88.9 FM in Orange County, California, and is simulcast via kuci.org. The film directors are interviewed by show host Daniel C. Tsang.