About: A portrait of the acclaimed author as he confronts writer’s block, late fatherhood, and his legacy.
Beginning in 1973, Tim O’Brien published several books, many exploring the experiences of veterans, inspired by his time in Vietnam, including such heralded work as THE THINGS THEY CARRIED. His last published work was in 2002, however, as O’Brien put his typewriter away to focus on fatherhood. As Aaron Matthews’ film begins, O’Brien, in his early 70s, has made the decision to return to writing in order to pen what will likely be his last book, a project that is directed to his pre-teen sons. Through the course of the film, the author wrestles with his craft while considering his legacy: Staunchly anti-war, he is known for his writing about war, but despite his best intentions to expose the toll of waging war, O’Brien finds his efforts futile. When he has spoken about his experiences in Vietnam on college campuses, he has inadvertently inspired young men to enlist. Matthews largely focuses on the author’s present-day concerns – his current project, his relationship with his wife, and, especially, his concerns about how his impending mortality will impact his relationship with his sons – and could have delved a bit deeper into O’Brien’s past. That said, the impact of Vietnam, his upbringing with an alcoholic father, and his early career success does help to provide context to O’Brien’s story, and makes this a more rounded and satisfying portrait.
About: Greece’s respected nonfiction event will take part in two phases this year: March’s presentation of approximately 50 films – new and retrospective features as well as shorts – is exclusive to Greece and presented online, with a hybrid component taking place June 24-July 4 featuring several competition sections and a Greek panorama.
About: Germany’s world-class film event presents its scaled-down line-up of approximately 100 features – docs or hybrids making up a third – for industry online over the next few days, with in-person screenings of these selections planned for the public this June.
About: An investigation of unlikely political bedfellows between America and Israel.
The film screened as part of DOC NYC, for which our program notes read: In this provocative look at strange political bedfellows, Israeli filmmaker Maya Zinshtein investigates the political alliance between American evangelicals and Israel’s right wing, and their influence on the Trump administration’s foreign policy. Why do American church leaders encourage parishioners to make donations to Israel, even from poor communities? Because they believe Israel’s expansion will play a key role in end-times prophecy, when Christians will be saved and others—including Jews—will perish.
Select Festivals: Thessaloniki Doc, Visions du Reel, Guadalajara, Doc Fortnight, DOXA, Big Sky Doc
About: Profiles of the workers in a São Paulo supermarket.
Gliding through the aisles of Supermercado Veran, filmmaker Tali Yankelevich’s camera shows off a perfectly organized, well-stocked grocery store, her careful compositions making an almost hyper-real artscape out of the mundane space. But real people work here, and while shoppers might give them – or their counterparts in markets around the world – little thought, Yankelevich turns her attention to them in a series of playful and sometimes surprising observations and interviews. Amidst commentary about their jobs or relationships with co-workers, they’re more apt to discuss their extra-curricular interests and activities, from playing video games and cosplay to Orwell and quantum physics. The result is an unexpectedly charming glimpse at the interior lives of workers and how they view their time at work.