Documentaries

A first-hand account of the Great Sichuan Earthquake that shows the human face of a massive tragedy. ... The statistics are mind-boggling: 70,000 dead, 375,000 casualties. In 1428 filmmaker Du Haibin captures the human face of the catastrophic Great Sichuan Earthquake, a monumental seismic event that measured a massive 8.0 on the Richter scale. ... Surveying the chaos 10 days after the earthquake ... Read more
A docudrama so real you'll wish it was fiction! Myles Berkowitz is recently separated and has rejection slips piling up beside his daft screenplays. Ever the go-getter, Myles decides to combine his movie career aspirations with his love life. He resolves to produce, direct and star in a documentary that will foflow him through 20 romantic encounters in order to find a soulmate and make a movie. ..... Read more
A prizewinner at Venice, IDFA (Amsterdam) and Thessaloniki film festivals, this stunning documentary reveals how the Chechen War has affected children on both sides of the conflict. Room 1, set in a military academy near St Petersburg, portrays the highly regimented lives of the young cadets being trained for future roles in the Russian army. Room 2, filmed in Grozny, Chechnya, shows the widesprea... Read more
“Four places on earth where fellowship and trust are of existential importance.” - filmmaker Jiska Rickels Following up her award-winning documentary short Days Under, Jiska Rickels completes a theme she began exploring in 2003. In 4 Elements, she intertwines Days Under with three further stories, each elucidating the lives of people from around the world whose jobs involve working with the four e... Read more
A captivating documentary and the result of thousands of hours of painstaking time lapse photography. With superstar architect Renzo Piano at the helm, Berlin's Potsdamer Platz between 1990 and 2001 was the worlds largest building site, a startling and innovative design. Director and photographer Manfred Walther has compressed over a decade of progress into 55 minutes, his camera moves through thi... Read more
“There are lots of theories about how to reduce crime but showing 9 Square Meters for Two to youngsters might be a good place to start.” - Variety ... The result of a remarkable experiment, 9 Square Meters for Two was written and performed by actual inmates of Baumettes Prison in Marseille, France. Essentially, these 10 men, who were merely trained in the technical aspects of camerawork and then e... Read more
A Bit of Scarlet is an imaginatively constructed, painstakingly assembled and highly amus­ing montage of gay-themed cliches and stereo­types from 60-odd years of British cinema. Director Andrea Weiss sets out to entertain first and enlighten second; individual scenes are not tied to historical context, but are instead juxta­posed to hilarious and ironic effect, and to illus­trate various 'rules' a... Read more
... ... From Errol Morris, the director of the daz­zling The Thin Blue Line, comes this won­drous and wonder-filled joumey into the life and work of Professor Stephen Hawking, the world-famous physicist and popular author. ... ... ... Like in the earlier film, Morris rejects the traditional orthodoxies of documentary film­making for an approach that is highly stylized, mediated and interpretative.... Read more
A fascinating, probing documentary that chronicles the decade that seminal architect Frank Gehry spent designing, planning and modelling a home for multi-millionaire Peter B. Lewis. The makers of A Constructive Madness were granted practically unlimited access to the staff, process, documentation, models and a gallery of architecture luminaries to dissect the folly, comment on all aspects of the p... Read more
A Hollywood veteran as subject for a documentary veteran makes for a superb film. This warm, intimate but unobtrusive, account of Gregory Peck's personal and professional life is a triumph of portraiture. Academy Award winning director Barbara Kopple divides her film between a Peck biography that spans his entire film output, anecdotes recorded during theatre appearances and episodes from this bel... Read more
A glimpse inside the Nazi propaganda machine provides a revealing meditation on the construction of history. ... This is a story about the longest film made by the Nazi propaganda unit on the Warsaw ghetto. In a thorough piece of historical film research, director Yael Hersonski has assembled a story within the official Nazi tale of the ghetto's Jewish community living a life of luxury and indolen... Read more
"An historical journey, a love letter to Afghanistan, its cinema and people." – CineVue ... When the Taliban came to power, it marked the end of the Afghan film industry. They considered cinema to be the cornerstone of decadent Western culture, and would punish anyone who made new films, or failed to destroy existing films. But defiant art lovers ignored this decree, risking their lives to protect... Read more
25 year old Judith Helfand is crewing on a doc­umentary about the cancerous effects of DES (a drug supposed to prevent miscarriages which was widely prescribed in the 1960s) when she discovers that she is a 'DES Daughter'. Faced with a hysterectomy she agrees to participate in the film but questions the producer's approach, resulting in the crew jumping ship. Undeterred, Judith decides to carry on... Read more
... ... Glen Murray is a city councillor in Win­nipeg. He's a popular community figure, a tireless worker for charities and a highly-respected gay role model. He lives his life in a hurry; 15 of his closest friends are dead or dying of AIDS. Now, Glen has taken the bold step of taking in a foster child. But this is no ordinary foster child; this is Mike. Mike Curtis is 18, straight, a drug user an... Read more
"A remarkable example of finding home movies in the attic that open a window on an entire world, A Letter Without Words provides a glimpse of Germany between the wars that is privileged in more than one sense of the word. Consisting mostly of footage taken by the present filmmaker's wealthy grandmother between 1914 and 1938, Lisa Lewenz's concise, highly evocative doco will fascinate anyone with a... Read more
... ... Part history lesson, part inspiration, part call to action, A Place Of Rage is an engaging portrait of Black activists Angela Davis and June Jordan. Focusing on the role of women in the revolutionary movements, the film traces the beginnings of the civil rights movement from Rosa Parks to the radicalization of women within the Black church. ... ... ... Reading from her poetry, Jordan poign... Read more
Denis Côté’s exploration of the daily lives of six men consumed by their passions: performance, discipline and overcoming the body's constraints. ... Jean-François, Ronald, Alexis, Cédric, Benoit and Maxim are modern-day gladiators. The group includes high-level bodybuilders, a strongman and an ex-champion turned trainer. As they prepare for future competitions, they follow extreme diets and slave... Read more
Playing out like a contemporary Grimm Brothers fairytale, A Woman Captured offers an unprecedented and extraordinary glimpse into modern-day slavery. ... For over a decade, 53-year-old Marish has lived as a slave, toiling day and night for a cruel and callous woman named Eta. Marish’s captor has taken her identity, along with the money she earns from a second part-time job; her teenage daughter ra... Read more
"The more I see of men, the more I like my dog," said Frederick the Great. The trouble is, you can get to like your dog a little too much, and that's what A.J. Poulin's whimsical but fascinating dog-umentary is all about. Poulin set out to examine the bizarre habits, rituals and foibles of Los Angeles pooch owners. In true Hollyweird fashion he has uncovered a subculture of obsessives, eccentrics ... Read more
Celebrated Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami receives a desperate fax from a Ugandan orphan relief organisation. Assistance is urgently needed and a documentary on the subject by so esteemed a filmmaker would help enormously, Kiarostami flies to Uganda on a pre-production scout but soon finds he's making the actual film. ... "Despite years of devastation, bloody civil war and disease—an entire gen... Read more
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