Program: P.O.V. “The Betryal”
Time: 9 p.m.
Date: Tuesday, July 21
Trailer and behind-the-scenes information on pbs.org/pov
The costs of contemporary war have rarely been captured with as much intimacy, poetry and sense of history as they are in The Betrayal (Nerakhoon). Nominated this year for the Academy Award® for Best Documentary, the film marks the directorial debut of Ellen Kuras, an award-winning cinematographer whose credits include Michel Gondry’s “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” Ted Demme’s “Blow,” Spike Lee’s “4 Little Girls” and “Summer of Sam” and Harold Ramis’s “Analyze That.”
At the heart of the making of The Betrayal is a unique, 23-year collaboration with Thavisouk (“Thavi”) Phrasavath, a young Laotian refugee the director met when seeking language lessons while filming another project in 1984. The lessons soon turned into long conversations about Lao culture and philosophy, the country’s recent tragic history and the story of Thavi’s own tortured trip from Laos to Brooklyn — from being a 12-year-old hero-worshipping son of a Royal Lao officer to a beleaguered son and brother trying to keep his fatherless family together on America’s gang-ridden streets. It’s a story rich in ancient Lao lore and sensibility, seen through the fractured glass of geo-political violence and scrambled again by the realities of America’s poor inner city.