Category Archives: Recommendations

On DVD: BORN TO BE

New to DVD this week:
BORN TO BE

Director:
Tania Cypriano

World Premiere:
New York Film Festival 2019

Select Festivals:
Docaviv, Hamptons, Palm Springs, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Sarasota, Cleveland, Nashville, Cinequest, Seattle Asian American

About:
A portrait of a physician who specializes in gender transition surgery and his patients at Mt Sinai.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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2021 Sundance Docs in Focus: BRING YOUR OWN BRIGADE

Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Lucy Walker


BRING YOUR OWN BRIGADE
Lucy Walker offers a compelling and comprehensive essay exploring the history and causes of wildfires.

Festival Section:
Premieres

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On VOD: HEALING FROM HATE: BATTLE FOR THE SOUL OF A NATION

Coming to VOD this Friday, January 22:
HEALING FROM HATE: BATTLE FOR THE SOUL OF A NATION

Director:
Peter Hutchison

World Premiere:
DOC NYC 2019

Select Festivals:
Martha’s Vineyard, Big Sky Doc

About:
Former hate group members help others attempting to leave behind radicalism.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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2021 Sundance Docs in Focus: AMY TAN: UNINTENDED MEMOIR

Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by KPJR Films


AMY TAN: UNINTENDED MEMOIR
The late James Redford profiles the life and career of the noted author.

Festival Section:
Premieres

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On DVD: ASSASSINS

Coming to DVD today, Tuesday, January 19:
ASSASSINS

Director:
Ryan White

World Premiere:
Sundance 2020

Select Festivals:
DOC NYC, Zurich, Warsaw, Stockholm, Full Frame, Double Exposure, Hot Docs, Brisbane, Hawai’i

About:
An investigation of the bizarre story behind the brazen assassination of the half-brother of Kim Jong-un.

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

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On TV: THE AREA

Coming to The WORLD Channel’s America ReFramed today, Tuesday, January 19:
THE AREA

Director:
David Schalliol

World Premiere:
Full Frame 2018

Select Festivals:
Black Harvest, SF IndieFest

About:
A longitudinal portrait of a historically Black South Side Chicago neighborhood as it faces destruction.

For generations, Englewood has been home for hundreds of Black families, part of a legacy that stretches back to the Great Migration. Notably, despite decades of inequities and racist policies that have historically limited the ability of many Black people to be homeowners, Englewood has beaten the odds, with half of its families owning their homes. David Schalliol’s film begins in 2012, when the Norfolk Southern railroad company has already begun to decimate Englewood, buying up property to expand its nearby rail yard. Working in concert with local politicians, all too eager to reframe the neighborhood as suffering from urban blight and to erase its long history, Norfolk Southern’s victory is sadly inevitable. Despite this, some local residents refuse to go quietly, demanding to be treated with respect and to be offered fair compensation for their homes. Schalliol follows their righteous, if Sisyphean, struggle – and the sad demise of Englewood – over five years in this sensitively observed profile.

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2021 Sundance Docs in Focus: WRITING WITH FIRE

Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Black Ticket Films


WRITING WITH FIRE
Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh chronicle the trailblazing work of India’s only news outlet run by Dalit women – once known as “untouchable.”

Festival Section:
World Cinema Documentary Competition

Country:
India

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2021 Sundance Docs in Focus: TAMING THE GARDEN

Courtesy of Sundance Institute


TAMING THE GARDEN
Salomé Jashi artfully captures the unusual disruption caused by the removal and transport of several massive trees from small Georgian villages.

Festival Section:
World Cinema Documentary Competition

Country:
Switzerland/Germany/Georgia

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On DVD: DRIVING WHILE BLACK: RACE, SPACE AND MOBILITY IN AMERICA

Coming to DVD tomorrow, Tuesday, January 19:
DRIVING WHILE BLACK: RACE, SPACE AND MOBILITY IN AMERICA

Director:
Ric Burns and Gretchen Sorin

World Premiere:
PBS (October 2020)

About:
An expansive consideration of how the movement of Black people has been policed in American history.

Based on Gretchen Sorin’s book DRIVING WHILE BLACK: AFRICAN AMERICAN TRAVEL AND THE ROAD TO CIVIL RIGHTS, this screen version reveals the pivotal role transportation and movement have played in African American life in the 20th century. While mainstream (white) audiences were introduced to the treacherous aspects of road travel for Black individuals via Hollywood’s GREEN BOOK, Sorin and her co-director Ric Burns delve more deeply, and broadly, into the concept of the transformative possibilities – and limits – of travel by African Americans in the US, from slavery through Jim Crow, the Great Migration through the Civil Rights era and into the present day. They cover a wide swath of history, perhaps too wide – an exploration of the restrictions on the Black body for any of these periods could easily fill its own feature length treatment – but it’s an informative and insightful meditation that remains all too relevant to this day.

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2021 Sundance Docs in Focus: SABAYA

Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Lolav Media/Ginestra Film


SABAYA
Hogir Hirori reveals efforts to rescue Yazidi women and girls from their horrific fate as ISIS sex slaves.

Festival Section:
World Cinema Documentary Competition

Country:
Sweden

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