Richard Davis shot himself in the abdomen 192 times to prove how effective his invention—a bulletproof vest—was. Charming and charismatic, he became a multi-millionaire and a cult phenomenon. The cracks in his funny, colorful anecdotes began to show when a policeman wearing one of his vests was shot and killed.
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.
Mined in Greece, prized blocks of marble are sent to China, where they are carved into replicas of historic statues, and back to Europe, which yearns for ancient beauty (on the cheap). Their surprising journey tells the story of a historical-economic pendulum now swinging from West to East.
L’s letters to her lover, who left her, expose the deep faultlines in Indian society—faultlines students try to skip over on their way to a free and liberated future. A mixture of texts and authentic and staged footage gives this story a dreamlike, surreal, and spellbinding feel.
“The Grind,” the traditional whale hunt of the Faroe Islands, has activists enraged. The locals, who see whale delicacies as part of their identity, denounce the demands as hypocritical, and it turns out both sides have thought-provoking arguments.
Over 6,000 children died in an earthquake in Sichuan in 2008. This sensitive and intimate film closely follows three families for over a decade of coping with the physical and emotional challenges of raising new children to “replace” the ones they had lost.
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.
Courtney Barnett had a hard time being filmed on stage and behind the scenes, so she started an audio log. More personal, moving, and vulnerable than even her songs, the fascinating result shows an adored rock star slowly learning to see in herself the magic her fans see in her.
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.
Beba is the filmmaker, Rebeca Huntt, a young Afro-Latina from an immigrant family, who grew up in New York, continuously facing issues of race and class, as well as the pain of generational trauma. The four chapters of her film paint a powerful, profound, and unflinchingly sober self-portrait.
Hollywood’s cameras like their women silent, split into titillating body parts, and aroused by violence. Director Nina Menkes uses dozens of clips from all-time-favorite films to expose how the visual language of film disempowers women and shapes the mindset of the viewers and the entire film industry.
A mother and her daughter live in almost complete seclusion in a rundown house in rural Poland. The seasons dictate the rhythm of their lives, and their deep connection to nature is fertile soil for dreams and visions. Despite the hardships, the two find much satisfaction and happiness in their way of life.
Cesária Évora’s incredible voice paved her way from a poverty-stricken childhood in a former slave colony to the world’s most iconic concert halls. Chock full of previously unseen footage, the film follows the ups and downs in the story of the celebrated singer, who never let anyone run her life.
The New York house where the director’s parents live is small and so very neglected. Can they once again return to being the young, optimistic couple smiling at her from the old home videos? And will love and laughter be enough to help her dysfunctional family regain the intimacy they have lost?
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.
Director Ahsen Nadeem leads a double life. To find a solution for his problem, he travels to a remote Japanese monastery on a scenic mountaintop—home to an ancient, secretive sect of Buddhist monks who perform extreme acts of endurance. Will he find answers there, or are they inside him already?
When the high-end surgical robot is filmed in action, inside a patient’s abdominal cavity, the human body becomes a mysterious, intriguing, pulsating space.
Each winter, 20 thousand nuns embark on a journey through the snowy expanse of the Tibetan Plateau. This mesmerizing intimate film follows them through one hundred very cold days of physical and spiritual tribulations, as their inner landscapes become one with the Tibetan wilderness.
The Dirndl—a colorful traditional dress typically associated with the postcard-idyllic Austrian landscape—hides a dark, complicated, history and a heavy burden of guilt.
Of the Chelsea Hotel’s glorious, bohemian, scandalous past, mostly memories remain, and the aging residents who refuse to leave despite the renovations are holding on to those memories for dear life. At the heart of Manhattan, amid scaffolding and dust, they are a tiny island of eccentric creativity that refuses to die.
Kathryn, who has ALS and only communicates by blinking at a letter board that generates a mechanical-sounding voice, is getting ready for her daughter’s wedding. Filmed from her point of view, the film creates a layered and sober family portrait, heart-melting and sincere, showing the pain, but also love and laughter.
Can one ever truly know an actor who erases his whole being for every part he plays? In the thick of a rocky, heady relationship that runs hot and cold, the filmmaker tries to understand the man before her. Her attempts become a spellbinding personal journal, filmed in lyrical black and white.
The bigger, taller, and more unpredictable the waves are, the stronger Kerby Brown’s burning urge to conquer them. In a film overflowing with breathtaking visuals, the Aussie surfer’s remarkable personality is revealed as he faces waves nobody has dared to face before.
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.
His parents, who brought him into this world illegally during China’s one-child era, paid a heavy price for it. After years of guilt and estrangement, director Louis Hothothot returns home to try and unravel a painful secret that will finally put his family on the path toward healing.
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.
When an assassin shot her in the head at close range, nobody thought Gabby Giffords would recover, but she relearned to walk and talk, returned to public service, and continues to improve. Julie Cohen and Betsy West (RBG) joined her and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, on their remarkable journey.
Valeria is forced to leave her village after it had been flooded with toxic water from the mines. Before she says her final farewell, she remembers the life she had there.
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.
When they disbanded after three albums and a short-lived success in the US, the members of Cymande were sure their music had been forgotten. But the all-Black band that sent a message of peace and brotherhood was an inspiration to many, and its comeback proves that it remains very relevant today.
On salt flats and in ore mines, on steep cliffs and in desert pits, Mexican laborers work with their hands, with simple tools, painstakingly and slowly—far slower than the pace of modern life. With the labor itself providing the soundtrack, this film offers an almost religious aesthetic and sensory experience.
After building a lifetime of memories and a close-knit community, the residents of a council housing neighborhood are faced with eviction, as real estate investors itch to demolish their homes in favor of luxury projects.
On a remote coast of the Siberian Arctic in a wind-battered hut, a lonely man waits to witness an ancient gathering. But warming seas and rising temperatures bring an unexpected change, and he soon finds himself overwhelmed.
Heart of Oak is more than a documentary: It is a real, nature and wildlife opera.
It is little-known that the oak is the busiest social network in Europe. It is both a shelter and a source of life that offers protection and hope.
Four turbulent and confusing years in the life of Entoni, a charismatic, charming boy growing up on the streets of Naples. The camera reveals the tough, poverty-stricken, crime-addled city as a beguiling beauty, a place where the light is enchanted and the sounds are both scary and seductive.
Each year, from the time she was two until she turned 18, Ella’s dad asked (and filmed), and she answered. A story about love and growing up.
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.
The interpreters at an international war crime tribunal are supposed to hide their feelings, even when the testimonies are similar to their own experiences.
At the heart of Kyiv, Florian Yuriev’s architectural magnum opus is in danger. Yuriev, a 90-year-old painter, musician, architect, filmmaker, and art theorist, refuses to back down. Despite his age, he cannot stop making art, innovating, and provoking the mainstream.
Julia Child, the first-ever celebrity chef, rose to stardom at the age of 51, when Americans were still eating TV dinners. Her remarkable life story, charming personality, and passionate love affair with cooking are accompanied by amusing and inspiring clips from her iconic cooking shows.
When Robert Weide started making a film about Kurt Vonnegut, he was just a young fan. In 40 years of working together, the two became close friends, and their relationship sheds a new, personal, and fascinating light on the literary master’s tumultuous life story.
The pandemic has just begun, and the filmmaker, who studies the underground city of Eusapia in Brussels, talks to his father, a physician in Ecuador.
As pioneering musicians prepare to do the impossible and stage Karlheinz Stockhausen’s opera cycle “Licht”—an ambitious, brilliant, and megalomaniacal musical production that nobody has ever performed fully—the vibrant universe of the genius composer is revealed, showing him to be every bit as eccentric, brilliant, and passionate as his opera.
Tehran is in lockdown, but the filmmaker’s elderly mother decides to visit anyway. How will she adapt to the presence of a giant pet iguana?
When he was little, Juan Camilo didn’t know that his parents had been guerilla fighters, his father had led The Popular Liberation Army, and his mother had been kidnapped and murdered. 25 years after his family fled Colombia, he returns and, using diaries and home videos, tries to understand his parents’ lives.
A stirring and beautiful animated letter, in which the filmmaker tries to understand the choices that led her father to disappear from her life.
The Turkish music scene in Germany that emerged in the 1960s out of migrant workers’ homesickness and disappointment, has undergone many musical, political, and social changes over the years. The film shows the brightest stars to have graced the genre over the years, their music, and the communities that grew around it.
Her thrilling best-sellers were adapted into hit films (Strangers on a Train, The Talented Mr. Ripley), but in her previously unpublished private journals, Patricia Highsmith is revealed as a woman who had to keep her love for women out of sight and away from her family.
On his journey to the small village in the Atlas Mountains, in Algeria, the homeland of his foreign, distant father, filmmaker Karim Aïnouz carries with him the love stories of his mother, who raised him alone in Brazil. In his encounters with the people and the land, he reexamines his identity.
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
Hla and Nyo Nyo, a Buddhist and a Muslim, run a small, makeshift women's health clinic in Myanmar, where the Muslim minority is violently persecuted. In five years of personal and political upheaval, the two women’s unique relationship is often put to the test.
Lithuania’s separation from the USSR required a careful, levelheaded approach. Vytautas Landsbergis, the first leader of an independent Lithuania, shares the untold stories of how he navigated the situation with Gorbachev and the Kremlin. Directed by Sergei Loznitsa, the film won the IDFA grand prix.
120 years after it was published, men of all ages audition—together and separately—by reading from an infamous erotic text that had been banned for years. What has changed since it was written? What fantasies, memories, and feelings of awkwardness does it evoke today?
Pauli Murray was there before (almost) all the others. A poet, lawyer, activist, scholar, and Black queer person, Murray paved the way for the big civil rights and women’s rights revolutions in the US. Julie Cohen and Betsy West paint the portrait of a true luminary.
The new transfer student in the posh Glasgow high school seemed weird but had a charming backstory, and slowly won everyone over. Director Jono McLeod uses animations and interviews to reconstruct the unbelievable story that happened in his old school.
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.
The crystal voice and haunting eyes that had paved Sinéad O’Connor’s path to stardom did her no good when she insisted on raising that voice in protest. She was labeled “disturbed” and sidelined. Archive footage, music, and interviews with her reveal a different O’Connor: thoughtful, sharp, and more interesting than ever.
The advent of synthetic diamonds threatens to dethrone their natural counterparts. Jason Kohn’s funny and clever film shows the tricks that made us assign meaning and sentimental value to the sparkling gemstones, and wonders whether they are about to become just another mundane raw material.
The obstacle course migrating polar bears must navigate to avoid tourists and wildlife officers, shown from the bears’ point of view.
German ornithologist Max Schönwetter collected, categorized, and drew nearly twenty thousand bird eggs with unwavering dedication. In the chaos of war, he and his colleagues held on to this passion as a way to escape a ruined, lost, carpet-bombed Europe into a place where everything made sense like before.
In preparation for a festival celebrating Ganesh, laundrymen on the outskirts of Mumbai design a poster that will give them a moment of fame.
When her daughter Penelope was diagnosed as autistic, Claire Doyon went to war in hopes of saving (or at least fixing) her child. Armed with a camera, she filmed every twist and turn on her long journey toward accepting her daughter—and herself.
In this remarkable adaptation of sociologist Didier Eribon’s bestselling novel “Returning to Reims,” archive footage and personal stories paint the struggles of the French working class, where the political is always personal—intimately so.
An unconventional look behind the scenes of Thelonious Monk’s 1968 interview for a French television show reveals how the media stuffs its interviewees into a cookie-cutter template, forcing them to fit a readymade narrative, even if one of them is a phenomenal pianist.
In preparation for the game, the enormous stadium comes to life, its perfectly-coordinated human and mechanical parts moving with a near-mystical efficiency.
The children who come to visit their parents in San Vittore prison quickly realize that it only looks like a magical fairytale castle.
“I’m a little boy from Peperklip,” sings 14-year-old Shabu, who lives in one of the roughest neighborhoods in Rotterdam. Between his mother, grandmother, and girlfriend, Shabu learns all about love, heartbreak, and growing up, and still dreams of becoming a superstar.
Lou Reed and John Cale’s touching and intimate farewell concert to the late Andy Warhol, who managed the Velvet Underground, remains as relevant as ever, even 33 years later. The superb digital restoration makes this classic (and Ed Lachman’s masterful cinematography) even more delightful.
When grandma dies, those who are left in the tiny, slowly disappearing Slovakian community join the emotional farewell journey.
Early 20th century female travelers had no desire to conquer, just to learn. Seen through their eyes—and through the amateur films they made—the world looks different. This collection of rare travelogues and documentary footage invites the viewers on a historical and emotional journey through these women’s worlds.
For two years, Polish filmmaker Paweł Łoziński stood on his balcony in Warsaw and filmed the passersby. Young and old, suspicious and amiable, happy and melancholy—all shared with him the most personal, surprising, and disturbing stories about their lives.
In a daring experiment, American dance pop trio YACHT let an artificial intelligence compose their new album after feeding it their discography (hundreds of hours of music). Will the software turn out to be more talented, more original, or even more creative than the human musicians?
In 1989, Christine Choy began to film the leaders of the nonviolent student protests at Tiananmen Square. 33 years later, the eccentric documentarian goes looking for the exiles, whose country branded them as traitors, to show them the never-before-seen footage.
Acclaimed filmmaker Tsai Ming-Liang turns his gaze to Hong Kong, which remains in motion all through the night, even when the streets are empty.
Poland’s biggest pawnshop hardly sees any customers anymore, its shelves laden with unwanted products. Between cigarettes and shouted arguments, the staff organizes a carnivalesque one-day sale in an attempt to breathe new life into the store and neighborhood. This heart-stirringly human film is brimming with compassion and humor.
Traversing the barren snowy cliffs of the Tibetan plateau is very challenging, but these travelers burning passion for finding the rare snow leopard propels them forward. Wildlife photographer Vincent Munier and novelist and researcher Sylvain Tesson blend into the inhospitable terrain in hopes of meeting this magnificent big cat.
In return for billions of dollars in loan money, China bought the right to exploit Ecuador’s land and natural resources. Set in Ecuador’s powerful, pristine landscapes, the film follows those who stand against this new enslavement: whistleblowers and grassroots resistance leaders.
Three minutes on celluloid—a rare home movie shot in 1938—are all that remains of the Jewish town of Nasielsk, Poland. What story do these three minutes tell? And what, if anything, can we save from being forgotten? Actress Helena Bonham Carter narrates the film.
TikTok offers its users a funny, colorful, and near-infinite multiverse of content, but behind one of the world’s biggest social networks is a maze of intricate data collection mechanics, and the fact that all this data is stored in China raises many concerns among Western economists, culture researchers, and military strategists.
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.
Sandar, a Soviet soldier captured by the Nazis, returned to Mother Russia only to be condemned as a traitor and sent to Siberia. Through his diaries, his letters, and colorized archive footage, his daughter tries to piece together his silenced story, and with it—the stories of millions like him.
The passionate secret love affair the director’s grandmother, Emma, had in her youth was discovered only after her death, when letters from her lover, Marcelle, were found among her things. Wild, rebellious, and provocative, Marcelle’s persona is recreated using archive footage, scenes from films, and some very sensuous music.
Trevor Paglen is determined to expose the invisible: sophisticated mass surveillance systems that deconstruct us all into bits of data. The acclaimed artist-activist’s attempts to launch an artwork into space as a satellite reveal his unique creative process and ideology.
At the height of his career, Chef José Andrés decided to swap his high-end kitchen for the world’s most dangerous disaster zones—from Haiti to Ukraine—to cook for and feed the hungry. Director Ron Howard follows him into the field on his mission, now a major humanitarian aid organization.
The pandemic forced them into lockdown, but in the virtual world, they could keep meeting and even fall in love. Filmed entirely in an animated virtual universe, this vérité documentary follows couples who discovered that make-believe avatars could help them find a rare kind of intimacy.
Nestor, Benjamin, Aaron, and Rafiki are economics undergraduates in the Central African Republic. With convoluted mechanisms, corrupt lecturers, and rigid family traditions standing in the way of their dreams of a brighter future for themselves and their country, the four friends turn to each other for strength, advice, camaraderie, and laughter.
Lilian and her four children are fleeing Guatemala and making their way to the Mexico-US border in a migrant caravan numbering thousands. The road is hard, but it gives birth to unexpected and heartwarming human bonds, and the journey's end brings with it a new outlook on life.
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.
Not so much a documentary murder investigation as a meticulously constructed meditation on race relations, economic forces, and the failings of the American legal system - all of which comprised the backdrop for the murder of a Chinese-American automotive engineer in Detroit in 1982 - Christine Choy and Renee Tajima-Peña’s Who Killed Vincent Chin? remains a stirring, absorbing elegy for justice unserved.
In Belfast, where the echoes of terrible violence can still be felt, the Headmaster of a Catholic primary school teaches the boys to think like philosophers. His classes are funny, his questions are challenging and require empathy, and each child has his own innovative philosophical outlook.
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