The Schmooze

To Somalia and Back Again

Michael Maren has lived an Indiana Jones kind of life: Peace Corps volunteer, war correspondent from Africa, kidnap victim of a Somali warlord, author, and now filmmaker.

However, anyone expecting a hard-hitting documentary exposing the troubles of foreign aid (the subject of his book, “The Road to Hell”) is in for a surprise. In fact, if his film, “A Short History of Decay,” exposes anything, it is the frailty of life and the importance of family.

Nathan Fisher (Bryan Greenberg) is a blocked Brooklyn writer in a blocked relationship who heads to Florida when his father Bob (Harris Yulin) has a stroke and his mom Sandy (Linda Lavin), is suffering from early signs of Alzheimer’s.

Maren, 58, spoke to The Forward about why he went to Africa, why he left, and the genesis of the film.

Curt Schleier: You joined the Peace Corps and taught in rural Kenya after you graduated from college in the late 1970s. What prompted that?

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To Somalia and Back Again

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