Barbara Kopple – Desert One (2019)

Observational documentarian Barbara Kopple has a long history of making herself seem invisible, but the vérité intimacy and anti-establishment zeal of Oscar-winning classics like “Harlan County, USA,” and “American Dream” suggest that her signature work couldn’t have been made by anyone else; Kopple isn’t absent from these films so much as she’s sublimated into the air they breathe. “Desert One” is different — you couldn’t find Kopple’s fingerprints on this comprehensive but incurious account of the Iran hostage crisis if you watched the movie through a magnifying glass. Read More »

João Pedro Rodrigues – O Ornitólogo AKA The Ornithologist (2016)

Fernando, a solitary ornithologist, is looking for black storks, a species under threat, along a remote river in northern Portugal, when he is swept away by the rapids. Rescued by a couple of Chinese pilgrims on the road to Santiago de Compostela, he plunges into an eerie and dark forest, trying to get back on his track. But gradually, as he encounters unexpected and uncanny obstacles and people who put him to the test, Fernando is impelled to extreme actions which transform him. Little by little, he becomes a different man, inspired, multi-faceted and finally, totally enlightened. Read More »

Mark Cousins – The Story of Film: An Odyssey (2011)

The Story of Film: An Odyssey is an unprecedented cinematic event, an epic journey through the history of world cinema that is a treat for movie lovers around the globe. Guided by film historian Mark Cousins, this bold 15-part love letter to the movies begins with the invention of motion pictures at the end of the 19th century and concludes with the multi-billion dollar globalized digital industry of the 21st. Read More »

Xiaogang Feng – Wo bu shi Pan Jin Lian AKA I Am Not Madame Bovary (2016) (HD)

There is a lot to admire about this pointed modern-day political satire, but you’ll have to get over a few hurdles. One of them is the unnecessary length, another is the distracting use of a circular frame – a device that references Chinese art and hints at its heroine’s constrained plight, but often makes the viewer feel as if they’re peering through a keyhole. Read More »

Houda Benyamina – Divines (2016) (HD)

With staggering self-assurance and disarming creativity, director Houda Benyamina bursts onto our screens with the frenetic story of Dounia, a teenage girl living in a crime-fuelled suburb on the outskirts of Paris. Along with her best friend Maimouna, the budding entrepreneur vies for the attention of local dealer Rebecca, whilst simultaneously embarking on a fraught emotional relationship with a handsome male dancer who has caught her eye. But as Dounia’s work and personal lives rapidly escalate, her control begins to slip and she soon finds herself dangerously out of her depth. A neat feminist twist on the typically male-centric terrain of the gangster thriller, this imaginatively directed and sharply-performed drama signals the arrival of some major new talents. In its depiction of female friendships and power dynamics, the film makes for an interesting companion piece to Céline Sciamma’s Girlhood, while as a vibrant explosion of youthful energy and imagination, it stands defiantly on its own.

— BFI Read More »

Nariman Aliev – Evge (2019)

A father and a son from Crimean Tatar family transport the body of deceased older son and brother from Kyiv to bury him in Crimea.

10 wins & 23 nominations. Read More »

Duki Dror – Incessant Visions (2011)

This award-winning homage, illuminates the life of German Jewish Expressionist architect Erich Mendelsohn. His story unfolds through the letter exchange, the correspondence of two artists brought to life by director, Duki Dror. Mendelsohn’s career followed the trajectory of many German Jews fleeing Nazism; he worked in England, Israel and in the USA. His earlier work, the Einstein Tower, is one of the important exemplars of modern architecture. Dror deftly juxtaposes the architect’s designs with contemporary images, weaving in reflections from architects who use these unique buildings today – a testament to the integrity and timelessness of his visionary design. Read More »