Film Review: Democracy, Dynasty, and Death

article image

The dream of a democratic, progressive Islamic country may seem newly plausible in the wake of recent events, but as this lively, indispensable portrait of Pakistan’s Bhutto family reveals, it’s not easily achieved. Shaken by military coups and multiple assassinations, the Bhuttos (dubbed “the Kennedys of Pakistan”) strove for decades to bring their nation into the modern world. Filmmaker Duane Baughman focuses mainly on the inspirational figure of Benazir Bhutto, the first woman to lead a Muslim nation. While she delivers the most memorable of lines (“Democracy is the greatest revenge”), the documentary shows the painful disconnect between rhetoric and reality.

This article first appeared in the May-June 2011 issue of Utne Reader.

In-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.