Documentary

Pere Portabella – Informe general sobre unas cuestiones de interés para una proyección pública (1977) (HD)

Shot in the months after the death of Franco, Informe general is a “documentary” shot with the techniques of a fiction film—exploring the limits of film representations. The speakers are concerned with one question: How do you go from a dictatorship to a democracy?

The lucid, radical work of Pere Portabella creates an invaluable space for rethinking reality, fiction and the political dimension of both. We’re honoured to present two films that bridge crucial moments in the History of Spain (and Europe) starting with this monumental landmark of activist cinema. Read More »

Carlos Velo – Torero (1956)

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The life of the famed Mexican bullfighter Luis Procuna, from his boyhood through his training and the triumphs that followed as Procuna rose to the peak of his profession. Read More »

Hachimiya Ahamada – L’Ivresse d’une Oasis AKA Ashes of Dreams (2011)

On an island in the Indian Ocean, the Comoros archipelago, unoccupied houses await the arrival of their owners. These places without souls and half built abound across the landscape. The myth of eternal return is repeated in the Comorian diaspora. Read More »

Xu Xin – Karamay (2010)

The film opens on the morning of December 8th 2007, in Karamay’s Xiaoxihu cemetery. Daybreak casts a cold grey light over faraway mountains and the Gobi sands. As the camera moves from grave to grave, it zeroes in on the photographs encased in glass on every tombstone. All are of children. Exactly 13 years ago, Karamay’s Friendship Hall was the site of a horrible tragedy: nearly 800 grade and middle-school students and their teachers, hand-picked to entertain a delegation of education officials, were in the midst of a performance when a fire broke out in the hall. Read More »

Michael Glawogger – Whores’ Glory (2011)

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As a documentary filmmaker, Austrian director Michael Glawogger isn’t interested in advocacy or journalistic exposé, and while he allows some scenes to unfold before the camera, he isn’t of the strict fly-on-the-wall vérité school, either. Following up 2005’s Workingman’s Death, his stunning tour through five of the world’s most hazardous labor sites, Whores’ Glory similarly explores a triptych of poverty-ravaged prostitution sites, spending equal time in a Bangkok brothel, the red-light district in Bangladesh, and a complex of bars and single-room barracks called “The Zone” in Reynosa, Mexico. Read More »

Gu Xue – The Choice (2019)

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It’s a video of a Chinese family discussing and arguing about what to do with a relative with some kind of severe illness or injury who is in ICU but will soon either die or be in a vegetative state. It’s one long (uninterrupted?) shot with the family bickering but mostly saying the same few things over and over. It\’s probably somewhere between ethnography and psychology, with the comparatively calm or inscrutability of the people compared to how this would play out in a western setting being the most striking aspect to me. Read More »

Raoul Peck – Lumumba: La mort du prophète AKA Lumumba, Death of a Prophet (1990)

Lumumba: la mort du Prophete offers a unique opportunity to reconsider the life and legacy of one of the legendary figures of modern African history. Like Malcolm X, Patrice Lumumba is remembered less for his lasting achievements than as an enduring symbol of the struggle for self-determination. This deeply personal reflection by acclaimed fimmaker Raoul Peck on the events of Lumumba’s brief twelve month rise and fall is a moving memorial to a man described as a giant, a prophet, a devil, “a mystic of freedom,” and “the Elvis Presley of African politics.” Read More »