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Part contemporary investigation and part historical inquiry, documentary follows the quest of one journalist in search of justice. The film focuses on Christopher Hitchens' charges against Henry Kissinger as a war criminal - allegations documented in Hitchens' book of the same title - based on his role in countries such as Cambodia, Chile, and Indonesia. Kissinger's story raises profound questions about American foreign policy and highlights a new era of human rights. Increasing evidence about one man's role in a long history of human rights abuses leads to a critical examination of American diplomacy through the lens of international standards of justice. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
'The Trials of Henry Kissinger', directed by Eugene Jarecki and written by Alex Gibney (adapted from Christopher Hitchens' book) is definitely a film that, if it were actually given a wide enough audience, would provoke some fairly strong reactions. Not knowing a lot about Kissinger other than he is a successful and generally well-respected American diplomat, I wasn't sure what to expect, but I knew that the subject matter would be fairly inflammatory.
My assumption was correct, and the film provides some very compelling facts that aren't just food for thought; it is a veritable feast. Essentially, Kissinger is accused of, throughout his career, orchestrating actions and events that not only make him appear to be egotistical and Machiavellian, but basically a war criminal as well. Among the many topics covered in this 80 minute documentary are Kissinger's rise to prominence, the bombing of Cambodia, his involvement with the genocide in East Timor and the coup in Chile. Kissinger's rise hit a crescendo during the Nixon administration, and while Alexander Haig is still staunchly supportive of him, others such as William Safire are calling him a liar and criminal on camera. I have not read Hitchens' book of the same name, (though I am familiar with his work with the publication Vanity Fair) but if the excellent research in 'The Trials of Henry Kissinger' is any indication, the book must be an intelligent and compelling one worth looking at.
I am honestly not remotely familiar enough with the events and topics that were raised to form a solid enough opinion regarding Kissinger himself, but 'The Trials of Henry Kissinger' serves as a well-researched and thorough primer regarding Kissinger's rise and involvement in said events and topics.
The film also gets my greatest stamp of approval I want to dig deeper into this subject so that I CAN form an opinion, and 'The Trials of Henry Kissinger' is the reason behind this need for further research. Inflammatory, but extremely thought-provoking, 'The Trials of Henry Kissinger' is a film that should be viewed. 8/10
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