Category Archives: Recommendations

In Theatres: A GERMAN YOUTH

Coming to theatres today, Friday, December 6:
A GERMAN YOUTH

Director:
Jean-Gabriel Périot

Premiere:
Berlin 2015

Select Festivals:
IDFA, Art of the Real, Cinéma du Réel, Visions du Réel, BAFICI, San Francisco, IndieLisboa, Docaviv, Moscow, Transilvania, Melbourne, Sarajevo, Bergen, Hamptons, New Horizons

About:
A rich portrait of key members of the Red Army Faction, composed entirely through found footage.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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In Theatres: WHEN LAMBS BECOME LIONS

Coming to theatres today, Friday, December 6:
WHEN LAMBS BECOME LIONS

Director:
Jon Kasbe

World Premiere:
Tribeca 2018

Select Festivals:
Sheffield, New Orleans, Mountainfilm, Denver, Zurich, Planet in Focus, San Diego, Movies That Matter, Docs Against Gravity, Budapest Docs, Wild & Scenic, Washington DC Enviro, Philadelphia Enviro, Indie Grits

About:
A complex exploration of ivory hunting, from the perspectives of ranger and poacher.

Set in Kenya, director Jon Kasbe’s well-constructed film offers a remarkably insider look at the ivory trade, focused on an ivory dealer called X and his cousin, Asan, a former poacher turned ranger tasked with preventing poaching. Embedding with both men, the filmmaker demonstrates the unforgiving economic reality that sustains the illegal killing of elephants. While X is an unlikable figure, disingenuously attempting to elide his role in the slaughter of animals by noting that his colleague, Lukas, is the one who shoots them while he only supervises, it’s made evident that X seems to have few options. He was born into this detestable profession and there are few ways to support his family – a situation facing Asan, who has worked unpaid for months, and faces the moral dilemma of helping his cousin with his illegal activities. Kasbe’s observational approach provides no easy answers or judgement, which will rankle some viewers, but it makes for an impressive and distinct portrait of a well-covered topic.

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In Theatres: THE DISAPPEARANCE OF MY MOTHER

Coming to theatres tomorrow, Friday, December 6:
THE DISAPPEARANCE OF MY MOTHER

Director:
Beniamino Barrese

World Premiere:
Sundance 2019

Select Festivals:
CPH:DOX, Hot Docs, Cartagena, DokuFest, Docs Against Gravity, Transilvania, Shanghai, Munich, Biografilm, MakeDox, Taipei, Frameline

About:
The filmmaker films his mother as she plans to leave the modern world behind.

My pre-Sundance profile of the doc may be found here.

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In Theatres: MIDNIGHT FAMILY

Coming to theatres tomorrow, Friday, December 6:
MIDNIGHT FAMILY

Director:
Luke Lorentzen

World Premiere:
Sundance 2019

Select Festivals:
DOC NYC, Nantucket, Hot Docs, AFI Docs, New Directors/New Films, Sheffield DocFest, CPH:DOX, Hong Kong, Cartagena, Ambulante, Guadalajara, Docville, Full Frame, San Francisco, Freep, Doc10, Sydney, Krakow

About:
A Mexico City family struggles to make a living as ragtag private paramedics, facing cut-throat competition to respond to patients in need of urgent help.

I profiled the doc before Sundance here.

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Sundance 2020: Feature Lineup Announced

The initial lineup has been announced for the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, taking place January 23-February 2). Today’ announcement includes the US and World Cinema Documentary and Dramatic Competitions, NEXT, Documentary Premieres, Premieres, Midnight, Spotlight, and Kids, and may be found here.

Pointers for other sections – Shorts, Indie Episodic, Special Events, and New Frontier – will follow as they are announced in the coming weeks.

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On DVD/VOD: RAISE HELL: THE LIFE & TIMES OF MOLLY IVINS

photo by Robert Bedell

Coming to DVD and VOD tomorrow, Tuesday, December 3:
RAISE HELL: THE LIFE & TIMES OF MOLLY IVINS

Director:
Janice Engel

World Premiere:
Sundance 2019

Select Festivals:
SXSW, San Francisco, AFI Docs, Seattle, Full Frame, Minneapolis-St Paul, 51 Fest

About:
An appreciation of the late liberal Texas journalist and personality.

I profiled the doc before Sundance here.

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On VOD: 5B

Coming to VOD this Sunday, December 1:
5B

Directors:
Dan Krauss and Paul Haggis

World Premiere:
SFFILM Doc Stories 2018

Select Festivals:
Cannes

About:
At the dawn of the AIDS crisis, nurses and caregivers defied fear and stigma to establish the world’s first AIDS hospital ward.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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