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OPENING FEBRUARY 17

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The centerpiece of this controversial documentary is some videotape of Louis Farrakhan a half-step away from admitting that he conspired to kill Nation of Islam apostate Malcolm X (or El-Hajj Malik Shabazz, as he then chose to be known): “Was Malcolm your traitor or ours?” Farrakhan demands in a 1993 speech that was closed to the press. “And if we dealt with him like a nation deals with a traitor, what the hell business is it of yours?” Writer/director Jack Baxter and co-writer Jefri Aalmuhammed (an orthodox Muslim who witnessed Farrakhan’s speech) have made it their business, and gotten death threats for their trouble. Given that a full 30 years have passed since Malcolm’s murder, relatively few aspects of the assassination have come into focus; the role of the FBI and the New York Police, for example, is only slightly clearer now than it was at the time. The film does fill in some blanks, though: It adds piquant details to what is known of Nation of Islam founder W.D. Fard, a traveling salesman who vanished in the mid-’30s, while the comments of Farrakhan and W. Deen Muhammed—who admits that his father Elijah Muhammed, then the Nation’s leader, would have been “relieved to hear that Malcolm was dead”—do nothing to ease suspicions about their enthusiasm for Malcolm’s elimination. At the Cineplex Odeon West End 1-4, 23rd & L Sts. NW. (202) 293-3152. (Mark Jenkins)