Select documentary films from around the world. Made by veteran filmmakers and by new names in the field, these films are making waves and are some of the most cinematic, important, moving documentaries recently released.
Under the Sun
When a foreign film crew arrives in North Korea, the government is determined to present a paradise wrapped in cotton candy and full of productive patriots. But the authentic moments that appear between the cracks in the cumbersome propaganda machine reveal a very disturbing picture, more like a horrifying nightmare.
Ever since he was diagnosed as autistic, 22-year-old Oleg has been surrounded by relatives, counselors, and caregivers, all trying to change him in the most bizarre ways. When he finally meets a woman who is willing to listen to him, it turns out that introverted Oleg is the most balanced and sane one of them all.
Thy Father's Chair
Shraga and Avraham are identical twins who have neglected their Brooklyn home to the point that it has become a dark den, infested with vermin. Then a lively cleaning crew comes in to help them to reluctantly take their lives back.
A Syrian Love Story
“You can’t be Che Guevara and a mother,” Amer tells Raghda, but maybe she can't do it any other way. After years of struggle, life without her homeland and the revolution has no meaning for her. It is hard to determine what is more demanding in this bold film: the revolution, or the search for inner peace.
The Happy Film
His life may have seemed perfect, but designer Stefan Sagmeister decided to redesign it. After months of meditation, therapy, and psychiatric drugs, documented in this especially creative film, he discovers that life (and sex and death) may be complicated, but it is also optimistic and fun.
The leader of Hungary's anti-Semitic radical right saw his world fall apart when he learned that his family was Jewish and his grandmother was a survivor of Auschwitz. He sets off on a remarkable personal and political transformation, trying to understand his family, who preferred to keep silent in order to protect the children.
The Fear of 13
He’s certainly charismatic. He flirts with the camera and perplexes. After spending twenty years trying to prove his innocence, death row prisoner Nick Yarris gives up and asks to be executed, a.s.a.p. This riveting on-camera confession documents a turbulent life marked by moments of genuine happiness.
Call Me Marianna
A Polish railroad engineer in her forties is forced to sue her parents so that she can have gender reassignment surgery. “I’ve lived my whole life in a body that’s not mine,” she says. That may come with a heavy price, but she finds warmth, acceptance, and hope in an unexpected place.
For ten years, director Aslaug Holm recorded the lives of her two young sons, Markus and Lukas. Initially she wanted to capture intimate little moments before they slipped away. Instead, she found herself contending with much deeper questions. This is a delicate, thought-provoking coming-of-age film, in which breathtaking cinematography captures heartwarming moments of tenderness.
The World Cup in Brazil is a chance for a father and son (director Sergio Oksman) to meet again, after twenty years of estrangement, and take part in the passionate emotions sweeping over their homeland. This is a film that revolves around soccer, even though it doesn't show a single soccer field.
A Flickering Truth
The Taliban believed that film had a corrupting influence, so they tried to destroy the Afghan Film Archives. Beneath the ruins, we are now discovering a cinematic treasure that the archive's employees risked their lives to save. There are dramas, thrillers, and documentary films that evoke memories of a different Afghanistan, the Afghanistan that these archivists miss wholeheartedly.
Author: The JT LeRoy Story
Popular cult author JT LeRoy was considered a friend by an array of American cultural icons for over a decade. Then it was discovered that he was made up. Now, for the first time ever, Laura Albert, the woman who created him, tells the remarkable story behind the incident that left America reeling.