Showing all 10 results
Growing up in Israel, Jane never conformed to her family’s patriarchal traditions; she refused to marry, choosing instead to join the army, and afterwards to study filmmaking. When at 38 she becomes pregnant, she returns in the midst of her family equipped with a camera, trying to address the years of silence and to understand her mother, herself and their strained relationship. Demonstrating spirit and fearlessness in confronting her family and exposing her life, Jane tackles her marked decisions to be an independent, professional woman and her family’s expectations for her to comply or at least accept their customs. While evidently disagreeing with her mother on all matter of topics, the film is also a chance to consider the other person’s perspective. Jane Bibi • Israel • 2018 • 73′
Waad al-Kateab was a student in 2011 when the civil war in Syria started and she became an activist and citizen journalist reporting for international media. For Sama is a video diary, told in a first-person voice, addressed to al-Kateab’s infant daughter that documents five years of Waad’s life, as she falls in love, gets married and has a child, while the traumatic effects of the conflict make life unliveable for everyone around her. Struggling between her desire to fight for her ideals and the safety of her family, Waad and her husband eventually decide to flee the conflict-ridden zone. What results is a powerful statement from a young filmmaker, whose simple act of witnessing transforms the humanitarian crisis into one of the most compelling documentaries on the subject.
Waad Al-Kateab, Edward Watts • Great Britain • 2019 • 99′
A documentary essay that examines the strict structures that dictate the behaviour of people in a small industrial Russian town. With an eye for visual composition, Ksenia Okhapkina’s film constructs a discourse on state propaganda through the subtle observations of innocuous, everyday situations, for example scenes of young girls learning about discipline at a ballet school or young boys training for the army shown in juxtaposition with snowy landscapes and the rigorous coordination of operations at the local factory. By being omnipresent and at the same time inconspicuous in people’s lives, from an early age, ideology becomes dangerous. Forgoing narration Okhapkina manages to construct a potent observation of the precariousness of free will in the face of state propaganda. Ksenia Okhapkina • Estonia • 2019 • 61′
Is it possible that in the era of social media and virtual communities we are more disconnected than ever? A third of the population of a small town in Poland emigrated to Iceland for work, leaving the older generations behind. Using creativity to produce an intimate study of homesickness and familial affection, with projections of Skype conversations on unconventional spaces, Pawel Ziemilski underlines the ephemerality of human contact. As images of Icelandic landscape are projected on the walls of a gymnasium or families “sharing” a meal despite thousands of kilometers separating them, the film highlights how even when in touch people are disconnected.
Pawel Ziemilski • Poland • 2019 • 63′
Former child bride Laila Haidari, who had witnessed her brother’s long battle with drug addiction, devotes her life to helping the men and women in Kabul struggling with one of the deadliest problems in Afghanistan: heroin addiction. Determined and courageous, Laila takes initiative and fights to pull as many of the city’s addicts from their seedy environments and bring them to the treatment centre that she runs together with her brother. As financial aid dries up after the departure of the foreign troops from Afghanistan, leaving behind a corrupt government and a chaotic society, the centre survives through funds generated by a local restaurant that she runs, where the waiters are recovering drug addicts. Laila’s efforts are presented directly, as an observational documentary, with the camera unobtrusively following her on her journey to save some of these men and women. Elizabeth Mirzaei, Gulistan Mirzaei • Canada • 2018 • 97′
Doris, a young Wayuu woman, has a dream about her late cousin and decides to exhume her remains in order meet her one last time before saying goodbye. Set in the Columbian La Guajira desert, the documentary by the filmmaking duo of Juan Pablo Polanco and César Alejandro Jaimes is a mystical journey through some of the rituals of the indigenous community as we follow Doris on her expedition to complete her people’s ancient ritual of reburial. Through a supernatural lens, the film constructs a hypnotic image that is heightened by the acoustic detachment that accompanies it, as it moves between life and death, reality and dreams.
César Jaimes, Juan Pablo Polanco • Colombia • 2019 • 75′
Narrated by French actress Irène Jacob, Letter to Theo is an ode to late Greek filmmaker Theo Angelopoulos and at the same time a study of the current European conditions, following the global economic recession and the migrant crisis. Using meticulous long takes, Elodie Lélu constructs a poetic cinematic experience. Angelopoulos, the “filmmaker of the lost gazes” – who died in 2012 in a motorcycle accident on the set of his last, unfinished, film – had often dealt with themes of immigration in his work, and Letter to Theo celebrates his legacy by interweaving scenes from his films with documentary footage of present-day Greece with the migrant influx and local political unrest. Elodie Lélu • Belgium • 2018 • 64′
“If you stay here you get either locked up or knocked up,” says Gemma, the teenager protagonist of this coming-of-age documentary about the prospects for young people in a drab Scottish town a few miles south of Glasgow. The closing of the local steelworks in the 1980s by Margaret Thatcher’s economic restructuring created persistent social issues that lead most of the new generations into dead-end situations. Gemma’s determination and strong personality coupled with directors’ Ellen Fiske and Ellinor Hallin intimate yet unobtrusive camerawork, provide moments of lyrical beauty and even humour, despite the almost ever-present violence and bleakness that clouds her life. Ellen Fiske, Ellinor Hallin • Suedia • 2019 • 90′
Anatolyi, a young man who dreams of becoming a dancer but works as a stripper to make ends meet, lives together with his grandfather, a retired army officer nostalgic for the communist times, in a small apartment in Minsk. The nondescript apartment is the arena in which the two generations clash. The grandfather believes that the young man is wasting away his life on trivial pursuits, despite having an engineering degree, while the grandson doesn’t understand the old man’s fascination with the past. With an observational approach, director Andrei Kutsila captures their regular disagreements, as the question remains whether familial ties can overcome such dissension.
Andrei Kutsila • Belarus • 2019 • 69′
After decades of domestic abuse Fiorella decides to separate from her husband of 40 years. Valentina, the couple’s youngest daughter, returns home to document her bid for freedom and capture her family’s reaction to her decision. However, Fiorella struggles with her decision, being hesitant to abandon her life’s work – the family residence – which in some ways becomes synonymous with her identity. What results is a poignant, personal and intimate debut documentary, in which Valentina is her mother’s ally, in an area where the parochial ways dictate that domestic violence is still tolerated. Moving beyond the personal story this becomes a relevant and timely video essay on family, communities and patriarchal societies. Valentina Primavera • Italia • 2019 • 80′