- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Impact of AIDS

HBO and Cinemax are joining forces to air two powerful documentaries for today’s observance of World AIDS Day and heighten public awareness of the illness.

The Cinemax Reel Life documentary “Orphans of Nkandla” follows three South African families coping with the deadly disease. The feature, airing at 7 p.m., visits rural Zululand in South Africa, where the burden of AIDS falls hardest on the village’s children. The youngsters not only deal with losing one or more parents, but also must care for their siblings.

HBO, meanwhile, will air “Yesterday” (9 p.m.), an Oscar nominee earlier this year in the Best Foreign Film category.

Set in contemporary South Africa, the film introduces us to Yesterday, a young woman who contracts AIDS from her philandering husband. She refuses to give in to the disease, instead channeling all her energies toward making sure her 7-year-old daughter enrolls in school on time.

What sounds potentially maudlin becomes a wonderful testament to motherhood and survival in the hands of writer-director Darrell James Roodt.

Leleti Khumalo (“Sarafina!”) dazzles as Yesterday, and the film’s understated scenery — shot in KwaZulu, Natal and Gauteng, South Africa — provides a compelling backdrop to Yesterday’s struggles.

Selleck’s back

Former “Magnum, P.I.” star Tom Selleck will make a rare guest appearance on an upcoming “Boston Legal,” Reuters news agency reports.

In a role written for Mr. Selleck by series creator David E. Kelley, the actor will play the eccentric, self-assured ex-husband of Shirley Schmidt (Candice Bergen), for whom he still carries a torch. The character reappears in Schmidt’s life to ask her to be the “best man” at his wedding.

The episode featuring Mr. Selleck is scheduled to air Feb. 21 on ABC during the next sweeps month.

Mr. Selleck’s role on “Boston Legal” will mark his first guest appearance in a network series since his Emmy-nominated turn on NBC’s “Friends,” in which he played a dentist who had a fling with Courteney Cox’s character.

An Emmy winner for his starring role on “Magnum, P.I.,” Mr. Selleck headlined the CBS TV movie “Stone Cold,” seen earlier this year. He next lends his voice to the Walt Disney Pictures animated feature “Meet the Robinsons.”

Remember the kick

It seems like only yesterday that Brandi Chastain was shedding her shirt to celebrate her game-winning kick in the match between the U.S. and China for the women’s soccer championship.

That move and other highlights were recalled Tuesday when Chastain and her former teammates gathered for the New York premiere of the HBO documentary “Dare to Dream: The Story of the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team.”

Premiering Dec. 11, the documentary showcases Chastain’s penalty kick to clinch the 1999 World Cup before 90,000 fans at the sold-out Rose Bowl, where she joyously took off her jersey and celebrated in her sports bra. That game produced the largest television audience (30 million) to watch a women’s sporting event.

Joining Chastain Tuesday were former teammates Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy, Kristine Lilly and Joy Fawcett, who won two Olympic gold medals and two World Cup titles.

The film also chronicles the nearly 20-year arc of U.S. women’s soccer from relative obscurity in the mid-1980s to winning gold last year in Athens. In between, Hamm’s talent and tenacity helped raise the profile of women’s soccer globally and earned her icon status among young enthusiasts of the sport.

What it couldn’t do was keep the fledgling Women’s United Soccer Association (WUSA) afloat. It collapsed in 2003 after a three-year run.

Hamm, who retired last year with a record 158 international goals, was a shy star who constantly deflected praise to her teammates.

“To me, one of the reasons we were so successful was that we respected and cared about the game and felt the same way about each other,” Hamm told Associated Press. “[Teammates] always understood there was a greater purpose. That the opportunity to play was extremely special, and let’s try to make sure as many young girls have that opportunity.”

The Kentucky girls state soccer champions from Highlands High School in Fort Thomas — a small town of about 16,000 — attended the premiere along with Hamm’s husband, Nomar Garciaparra, former Women’s National team coach Tony DiCicco and 400 invited guests.

“Dare to Dream” also includes archival footage and interviews with DiCicco, World Cup organizer Donna de Varona and former tennis champion Billie Jean King, who all attended the event.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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