Sundance film "Bhutto" sheds light on Pakistan

Wed Jan 27, 2010 5:35pm EST
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By Cameron French

PARK CITY, Utah (Reuters) - Westerners seeking to understand the volatility of modern Pakistan are getting a good look at the country in a new movie examining the life and legacy of slain leader Benazir Bhutto, screening at the Sundance Film Festival this week .

Documentary "Bhutto" has earned solid reviews with its tale of the former prime minister, her family and husband, who is currently facing calls to step down as president of the nuclear-armed nation.

Bhutto, the first female leader of a Muslim country, was killed by a suicide bomber in late 2007 after returning from exile to seek the country's leadership for the third time.

Her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, took over the presidency shortly after, and opponents are calling for him to step down due to corruption charges dating to Bhutto's reign.

In looking at the Bhutto family's legacy, the producers hope westerners might better understand a country dominating headlines with tales of political strive and Muslim extremism.

"The importance of Pakistan, the strategic importance as the only Muslim nation with nuclear weapons capability, and roiling in absolutely can't be ignored," said Duane Baughman, who along with Mark Siegel conceived of and produced the film.

Siegel, who appears extensively in the documentary, was working on Bhutto's campaign as a U.S. spokesman when she was killed and quickly sought to show the significance of her life to U.S. audiences.

"Benazir was truly the modern face of Islam," said Siegel.   Continued...