TUE
MAY 3, 2011


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'The Bang Bang Club'

Why: In the early 1990s, between when Nelson Mandela was freed and when he became the first black president of South Africa, the country's townships became slaughterhouses, with trigger-happy white police and pitched machete battles between Zulus and Mandela supporters. Four young photographers documented the mayhem; they were dubbed "the Bang Bang Club." One was killed in combat, one lost both legs to a land mine, one was shot on four occasions, and one committed suicide. Two won the Pulitzer. At times, this movie about them (starring Ryan Phillippe) feels too slick and pat (the romance scenes get pretty goofy), but it's an undeniably powerful story about a messy transition and the moral ambiguities of journalism. (Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave, 829-7863, 9 pm, $9)

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