Archive for Tuesday, May 10, 2011

‘Bhutto’ highlights contradictions of Pakistan

May 10, 2011


Documentaries don’t come much more timely than “Bhutto” on “Independent Lens” (9 p.m., PBS, check local listings). Following last week’s raid on the bin Laden compound, the U.S. relationship with Pakistan, and particularly its military and intelligence forces, have descended to a weird new level of absurd denial.

Viewers looking for a cogent history of Muslim extremism in Pakistan and of that nation’s struggle to balance democracy and religion, should not miss this film.

“Bhutto” is, of course, a biography of Benazir Bhutto, the first female leader of Pakistan, who was the daughter of another leader of Pakistan. Both father and daughter were killed decades apart at the hands of extremist factions.

Benazir’s father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, had a dashing reputation and contributed to the family’s aura as “The Kennedys of Pakistan.” He would be overthrown in a military coup and later hanged. The United States would support and embrace his rival and murderer after Pakistan became central to efforts to combat the Soviets, who invaded Afghanistan in late 1978. Under presidents Carter and Reagan, the United States lavished billions on Pakistan only to see it go into the hands of some who would later constitute the Taliban and al-Qaida. Then, as now, we paid off the Pakistani government to be our “friend,” only to discover that it either turned a blind eye, or actively supported, our enemies.

• “Becoming Chaz” (8 p.m., OWN) chronicles the gender transformation of Chaz Bono. Chaz was formerly known as Chastity, Sonny and Cher’s cute-as-a-button daughter who appeared on most episodes of their popular variety show.

Filled with interviews of Chaz and her girlfriend, Jennifer, old clips, and numerous shots of a household filled with cats and dogs, “Becoming” follows Chaz throughout gender-reassignment surgery. Once you get beyond the celebrity voyeurism aspect, this is a rather long film about a not-so-happy person enduring an uncomfortable procedure. Clearly intended to be “empowering,” “Becoming Chaz” is frequently dull.

Tonight’s other highlights

• The gang are asked to stand in for prom entertainment on “Glee” (7 p.m., Fox).

• “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” has been put down by bad ratings and has been replaced by a rehash of past antics from previous “Dancing with the Stars” (7 p.m., ABC). A dancer’s fate will be decided on a second “Dancing” (8 p.m.).

• An impostor combusts on “NCIS: Los Angeles” (8 p.m., CBS).

• “The Voice” (8 p.m., NBC) continues.

• Asleep at the wheel on “Deadliest Catch” (8 p.m., Discovery).

• “My Name is Earl” regulars Jaime Pressly and Ethan Suplee guest star on “Raising Hope” (8 p.m., Fox).

•l Nature lovers on “Traffic Light” (8:30 p.m., Fox).

• The owner of a saucy website needs a lawyer on “The Good Wife” (9 p.m., CBS).

• A detective dies in a hit-and-run accident on “Body of Proof” (9 p.m., ABC).

• Three teens endure one indignity after another in the 2011 cable comedy original movie “Worst. Prom. Ever.” (9 p.m., MTV).

• Brent finds a new excuse to shop on “Fabulous Beekman Boys” (9 p.m., Planet Green).


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