Lines of Fire | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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At the end of a day when more than 1,000 allied bombing missions had been carried out against Iraq and Kuwait, ABC's Ted Koppel said, "Since that Scud missile hit Tel Aviv earlier today, it has been a quiet night in the Middle East." A comparable obliviousness to the fate of nonwhites led to the U.S. delivery of airplanes and 2,4-D herbicide to Burma's brutally repressive, totalitarian military regime--ostensibly to be used to wipe out opium fields. In fact, the gifts were also used against students and ethnic rebels of the National Democratic Front; food crops, cattle, people, and water supplies were sprayed in an effort to quell the civil war that has been raging in Burma for almost 40 years. The complexity of a situation in which one of the most prominent rebels, commanding about 12,000 troops in his fight for the independence of the Shan state, is also an opium warlord wasn't lost on Brian Beker, the producer, director, and narrator of this fine hour-long documentary, filmed at great risk in 1989. The film also offers videotape coverage of the 1988 uprising, when around 15,000 civilians were slaughtered by government troops. As an introduction to some of the intricacies of a revolution in the largest country in Southeast Asia--and evidence of what the "noble intentions" of the U.S. can entail--this is essential viewing (1990). On the same program, Cliff Roth's short spoof, The Reagans Speak Out on Drugs (1988). (Chicago Filmmakers, 1229 W. Belmont, Friday, February 15, 8:00, 281-8788)

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Galleries & Museums
Chicago Works: Deborah Stratman Museum of Contemporary Art
November 13
Performing Arts
July 31

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