Thursday, June 19, 2008


The lost girl

Truth isn't just stranger than fiction in general - every once in a while, it's even stranger than "Lost."
Certainly polar bears on a tropical island have nothing on tonight's presentation of PBS' "Independent Lens" (10 tonight, Channel 12).
"Abduction: The Megumi Yokota Story" begins with the 1977 disappearance of a 13-year-old schoolgirl from a seaside town in Japan and ends in another time and place altogether and in a way that could keep conspiracy theorists going for decades.
And that's assuming the story's even really at an end.
You could Google "Megumi Yokota" and get the whole sorry, surrealistic tale laid out in a tidy entry in Wikipedia, but then you'd miss the suspense built up in this 90-minute documentary by Patty Kim and Chris Sheridan, which painstakingly tracks each of the ripples from Megumi's disappearance to a distant shore.
Did I mention that almost everything in the film is subtitled, so that looking away simply isn't an option?
Or that every time you think you finally know what happened to Megumi, some new possibility is introduced?
Come for the mystery, stay for the characters.
Chief among them: Megumi's parents, Shigeru and Sakie, whose apparently unwavering devotion to finding their daughter takes them, too, to places they probably never have expected to see.

Stunning 'Abduction' On PBS; Penn & Teller Expose 'Bull@#$%!'

Roger Catlin | TV EYE
June 19, 2008
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One thing about the lapse of international reporting is that a story as well-covered in Asia as the 1977 abduction of a 13-year-old Japanese schoolgirl that turned into an international incident comes as a complete surprise in the U.S.

The twists and turns in "Abduction: The Megumi Yokota Story," which serves as season finale for "Independent Lens" (CPTV, 10 p.m.), have been chronicled as they unfolded over 30 years in Japan.

But here, the mystery — and the tenacity of the long-suffering parents — have a stunning effect, such that you never suspect what's going to happen by the end.


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