The Trials of Henry Kissinger

Even as it preaches to those who will relish its witch-hunting zeal, The Trials of Henry Kissinger makes a potent assertion that the legendary diplomat and former Secretary of State is guilty of crimes against humanity. Produced for the BBC, seductively narrated by actor Brian Cox, and based on the scathing book by Christopher Hitchens (a Kissinger-bashing journalist featured heavily here in talking-head interviews), this film is clearly biased against its target, but there’s ample documentation to support its claims that Kissinger prolonged the Vietnam war and orchestrated the illegal and indiscriminate bombing of Cambodia; supervised the 1973 coup against democratically elected Chilean president Allende; and played a role in U.S.-backed atrocities in East Timor. Expert interviews on both sides of the political fence (but mostly damning Kissinger) make this a compelling, information-packed example of situational ethics in action; additional viewings simultaneously deepen the film’s conviction and reveal the weakness of its one-sided embrace of Hitchens. Either way, this is essential viewing for anyone interested in the labyrinthine machinations of international power. –Jeff Shannon

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