A pubcasting natural if ever there was one, “Life After War” details transformation of National Public Radio veteran Sarah Chayes from reporter into social worker in rubble-strewn Afghanistan. Timely nature of that work, with frustrations and rewards running neck and neck, should extend this particular “Life.”
Paris-based Harvard grad Chayes was covering the Taliban’s demise when challenged by Quyam Karzai, brother of the country’s new prexy, to put down her Palm Pilot and pick up a shovel. While it remains unclear why an untested journalist should become a key member of an aid agency with few resources and almost no clout, she certainly throws herself into the job. Wearing traditional male garb and kvetching at corrupt bureaucrats and freshly minted warlords (“the new vanguards of violence,” she calls them) who started taking over as soon as the U.S. lost interest in its vision of Middle East democracy, Chayes is a bit of a pain — and a shock for men who aren’t used to listening to women. But pic, which would benefit from updates along the way, is tough testimony to the difference one person can make.