Gumar Ganiyev opens the gates of the compound where members of the Islamic sect he belongs to have lived in seclusion since the early 2000s outside Kazan, capital of the Russian province of Tatarstan, earlier this month.
Credit Nikolay Alexandrov / AP
Self-proclaimed "messenger of God" Faizrakhman Satarov approaches the Kazan house earlier this month. The sect's founder says he had a revelation from God that true Muslims must separate themselves from society.
Credit Corey Flintoff / NPR
For nearly two decades, sect members quietly built houses and dug living quarters inside their compound in Kazan. Authorities say that 20 children of sect members have not been allowed to leave the premises, attend school or be examined by doctors.
The recent headlines in the Russian press were sensational: Members of a reclusive Islamic sect were said to be living in an isolated compound with underground burrows, some as deep as eight stories underground, without electricity or heat.
Reporters have descended on the compound, on the outskirts of the city of Kazan, but have had only limited access and have not been able to confirm all the allegations by Russian officials.
In Pakistan last night, Taliban militants attacked an air base near the capital. The attack came amid reported preparations for a Pakistani military offensive. The target of that offensive: the militants' hideouts along the border with Afghanistan.
NPR's Lauren Frayer reports from Islamabad.
LAUREN FRAYER, BYLINE: Nine Taliban men in army uniforms and suicide belts battled Pakistani troops for more than two hours, killing of security official before being gunned down themselves.
Here's the latest flashpoint in the between the state of Arizona and the federal government over immigration policy. Yesterday, the U.S. government began accepting applications for Deferred Action, a temporary reprieve from deportation for young, undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. Just hours later, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed an executive order denying state benefits to those who qualify. That includes obtaining a driver's license.
Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 12:31 pm
What's an American family these days? Many different things, but while television — a domestic medium to its marrow — has an affectionate finger on the pulse of the changing modern family, movies often seem stuck in a sorry dysfunction held over from the late 1960s, when we awoke to find that jolly Beaver Cleaver had morphed into miserable Benjamin Braddock, and while Mrs. Robinson tippled discreetly in the bedroom, Father, far from knowing best, went clueless or missing.
The monosyllables fly fast and furious in The Expendables 2. It's the joints that are a little creaky, but what would you expect from this sequel to the 2010 blockbuster in which a cadre of aged action stars, led by Sylvester Stallone, gathered to fire guns, blow things up and beat the living daylights out of assorted baddies?
Even if most fans of hand-drawn animation have made peace, to a degree, with digital technology, the pleasures of old-school stop-motion animation are still rare and precious. There's something elemental about watching a movie that's been made by moving small figures around and filming them, frame by frame; even though there's always some digital technology involved in the making of a contemporary stop-motion film, the human touch always sings through the finished product.
Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 12:53 pm
With Love Songs, his 2007 musical, French writer-director Christophe Honore updated such 1960s bonbons as The Umbrellas of Cherbourg for our age of expanded erotic frankness and possibility. Beloved, Honore's second musical, goes even farther, layering death, AIDS and Sept. 11 among the merry melodies.
This stylish film is enormous fun, whirling and warbling across four decades of amour. But it stumbles a few times in its last half-hour and ultimately seems a little too frisky for the graver issues it addresses.
The words "inspired by true events" are the first things to appear on screen in Compliance, Craig Zobel's queasy thriller of discomfort. I knew that this was the case going in, and had heard the basic facts of the "strip-search prank-call scam" that serves as the movie's inspiration. But I didn't know the full details — and as an ever-increasing load of humiliation and indignity was piled on the teenage fast-food worker at its center, I found myself getting angry with the film, assuming that Zobel was amping up the severity of real events for dramatic effect.