Bold, important, and extraordinary documentaries from around the world, carefully selected from this year’s releases
When Russia invaded Ukraine, the last remaining camera crew in Mariupol captured the events from the very heart of the war zone. More than an incredibly personal firsthand account, this film showcases the determined journalistic work of those who were the world’s only source of information about the besieged city.
Apolonia was born to bohemian parents and grew up in an underground Parisian theater. Filmmaker Lea Glob followed this young and incredibly charismatic artist for 13 years and was able to document her artistic and political growth thanks to their deep friendship. The film won the international competition at IDFA.
When her wealthy mistress passed away, Justina inherited the castle she had been cleaning and scrubbing since age five. Except the castle is crumbling, and she cannot afford the repairs. Slowly, she begins to contemplate saying goodbye to her vast, beautiful, and strange home—the only home she knows.
Gisele dreams of becoming an English teacher and finding love—someone who will understand and support her. The young tetraplegic, the filmmaker’s sister, is determined to succeed even in the face of hesitance from those around her. This beautiful film captures the quiet tenderness found even in the hardest moments.
When a Malaysian passenger plane crashed in eastern Ukraine in July 2014, the evidence—including butterfly-shaped shrapnel found inside the pilots' bodies—pointed to Russia, which promptly denied its involvement. This is both a deep, multi-layered exposé and an extraordinary piece of cinema.
Four Black American trans women talk candidly about their lives as sex workers. Shot in a performative vérité format, this beautifully stylized, funny, and touchingly human film blends stories of horror, mortal peril, and personal triumph into a poignant political statement.
Award-winning filmmaker Nikolaus Geyrhalter (Our Daily Bread, Homo Sapiens) follows the vast amounts of waste humans generate, and our desperate attempts to deal with it. The striking cinematography and clever sound design result in an unsettling film steeped in a mesmerizing, alluring aesthetic.
More than an artist, Nam June Paik, the father of video art, was a prophet, and this subversive art and technological vision are now more relevant than ever. The film shows the life and art of a man who had no qualms about approaching sacred cows—or indeed skewering them.
Northeastern Siberia is on fire. The government has left them to fend for themselves, and the inhabitants of Shologon must rally to fight The Dragon.
Augusto Góngora, one of Chile’s top political commentators, dedicated his life to preserving the memory of the atrocities committed by Pinochet’s regime. Remarkably, with Alzheimer's disease slowly erasing his memory and personality, a new kind of intimacy emerges between him and his wife—one marked by tenderness and compassion.
Dominic Ongwen was only nine when he was abducted by the LRA, a guerrilla organization that committed atrocities in northern Uganda. Now, the (polite and articulate) International Criminal Court in The Hague must decide: is he liable for the crimes he committed, or does the brainwashing absolve him of responsibility?
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