Bold, important, and extraordinary documentaries from around the world, carefully selected from this year’s releases
There are many steps to achieving the great Chinese dream, and it’s not an easy climb. Some spend their days repeating the same movements over and over, mass-producing products, while others are themselves carefully shaped on a conveyor belt moving toward a promise of success.
When the virus started taking lives by the hundred-thousands, the Chinese and later American authorities insisted: “there is no reason for concern.” Using rare on-the-ground footage from China, the filmmaker, who had witnessed the horror firsthand, asks: where, if at all, can citizens believe their leaders?
Ivanna was born in the Arctic tundra. She dreamed of becoming a dancer but got pregnant at 15 and now raises five children in a trailer on an ice flat. The film follows her through four years of impressive personal growth as she finds independence.
Three young Finns go on holiday in Thailand and Cambodia, hungry for darkness and danger. When two of them go missing, the third, filmmaker Joonas Neuvonen (Reindeerspotting), goes looking for them. The menacing-yet-enticing world he discovers leads him to test his ethical boundaries as a documentarist and a friend.
Misha was only seven when she went looking for her parents, who had been taken by the Nazis. Deep in the woods, she was adopted by a pack of wolves and survived the war under their care. Her story sparked the imaginations of many until the truth came out—and it turned out to be even darker and stranger.
The 2018 elections in Zimbabwe were supposed to be fair and transparent. Camilla Nielsson (Democrats) joins Nelson Chamisa, the candidate who dares to run against the acting president, on a long and perilous road as he tries to expose election fraud.
Thousands of Yezidi women and girls taken by ISIS are still held captive in a Syrian refugee camp. Brave men and women risk their lives trying to save them. Even after a successful secret rescue operation, the freed "Sabaya" have a long road ahead of them: the road to recovery.
Khavaj cannot speak. He fled Chechnya when his brother, having found out that Khavaj was gay, threatened to murder him. His mother keeps leaving him tormented voicemail messages, but there is nothing he can do—to start anew, he must break away from his past completely.
A capricious billionaire demands to uproot giant century-old trees and transplant them to his mansion's garden. The complex engineering feat is about to change the Georgian landscape and the lives of its villagers. This human ecological drama tells the story with uniquely stunning cinematography.
America sees them as poor, ignorant, and racist, but Brian Ritchie, his family, and his neighbors—the last Appalachian settlers—are not afraid of being called hillbillies. Doting on their tradition, they fear the dramatic changes happening in their lives and cope with them using unexpected, almost poetic insight.
Andriy, whose family fled Syria and came to Ukraine, surviving one war only to end up in another, volunteers with the Red Cross. His story threads through this visually arresting film, tenderly weaving through images of people and places marked by war.
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