Bold, important, and extraordinary documentaries from around the world, carefully selected from this year’s releases
Eva, Sasha, Kolya, and their friends toe the thin line between childhood games, dreams, and fantasies, and life in war-stricken eastern Ukraine. This is a heartwarming film about a halfway house for children whose families cracked and crumbled under reality’s crushing weight.
New Delhi’s air pollution is so bad that birds fall from the skies, exhausted and struggling to breathe. Brothers Saud and Nadeem rescue birds of prey, mostly black kites, in their makeshift basement clinic. This incredibly optimistic and heartwarming film won the World Documentary Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival.
On the edges of the Venice Lagoon, adrenaline runs high as boat engines roar. Daniele is an outsider, but like his peers, he is determined to break speed records. This visually stunning film often crosses the boundary between imagination and reality—both over and under the water.
School has given her a glimpse of the outside world and its progressive values, but in her insular community, in the misty mountains of North Vietnam, the tradition of child bride kidnapping is still alive. 12-year-old Di is about to face the divide between tradition and her dreams.
Katia and Maurice Krafft were in love—obsessively so—with volcanoes. Their research led them into perilous adventures between clouds of ash and rivers of lava. Their story is accompanied by the breathtaking, otherworldly footage they left behind after their deaths in the eruption of Japan’s Mount Unzen.
As Alzheimer’s chips away at the mind of renowned Odesa-based cinematographer Leonid Burlaka, his grandson, filmmaker Igor Ivanko, pores over damaged old film rolls he has found, in an attempt to get more closely acquainted with both his grandfather and Soviet-era Ukrainian films.
For over 40 years Zoe Lucas has been living alone on Sable Island, surrounded by herds of wild horses and many seals, birds, and insects. Filmmaker Jacquelyn Mills gets to know the little island through Lucas’ eyes and paints a visually stunning portrait of both the island and its only human inhabitant.
They both came from wrecked homes, but once they found each other, they were happy, at least for a while. A decade of love between the filmmaker and her partner is captured with rhythmic, gritty cinematography and backdropped by the harsh reality of life in a crumbling Russia.
An immersive archival journey through the explosive New York music scene of the early 2000s. Meet Me in the Bathroom, tells the story of the last great romantic age of Rock’n’Roll through the prism of a handful of era defining bands; THE STROKES, LCD SOUNDSYSTEM, YEAH YEAH YEAHs, INTERPOL
Having survived an assassination attempt, Aleksei Navalny is determined to prove that it was Putin who gave the order. The film follows him and his team through an investigation so dark and gripping that at times it feels like a Hollywood thriller instead of a disheartening look at Russian reality.
Even when, on paper, the ceasefire was still in effect, Donbas in Ukraine was anything but quiet. The camera gets to know the soldiers, young men and one woman, up close and personal. In the trenches, between bursts of shelling, their conversations are intimate and open, and the tension is almost palpable.
In Moscow’s Metro stations, the opulence (marble and crystal and gold) is a remnant of a bygone era, and at times, it seems, so are the commuters. The camera encounters unexpected characters and gets immersed in their worlds without asking where they come from or where they are going to.
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