Weekly Video Picks

Daughter From Danang (2003)

Wars don't end when the troops lay down their arms and the bombing stops. They can have unexpected consequences on the personal lev -el; it can take years for the wounds to heal. This hour-long Oscar-nominated PBS documentary shows how, as it looks at the fallout from the Vietnam War.

Heidi, an Amerasian woman whose father was an American Navy officer, is adopted and raised in Tennessee. After 22 years, she decides to visit her birth mother in Vietnam.

Both women have longed for this moment, but they haven't seen each other since Heidi was 7. They find that cultural differences and the decades of separation have created obstacles and their one-week reunion is filled with sadness and conflict more than joy. The film poses hard questions about identity, family and culture, revealing how the Vietnam War continues to haunt those who survived it. (To order, call Interfaze Productions at (510) 548-3699 or go to www.shop. pbs.org on the Internet.)

From a Far Country: Pope John Paul II (1981)

As the citizens of 20th-century Poland learned after successive conquests by the Nazis and the communists, history can be hard to live through. This film explores that truth by following a small group of people whose lives intersect with Karol Wojtyla (Cezary Morawski) during those difficult times.

The central character is Marian (Sam Neill), the brother of an actress (Lisa Harrow) in a theater group to which the young Wojtyla belongs. Marian is arrested by the Germans and sent to a concentration camp because his friend, Tadek (Christopher Cazenove), helps Jews escape and joins the resistance.

After the war, Marian is freed and becomes a priest. The communists imprison him because he refuses to spy on the Church. Tadek, who's now a writer favored by the regime, gets him out of jail. Marian is made pastor of a parish threatened by the authorities. But his bishop is Wojtyla, and the future pope is shown to have been an inspiring figure with a powerful influence on those around him even before he ascended to the seat of St. Peter.