Ulrike Ottinger – Die koreanische Hochzeitstruhe AKA The Korean Wedding Chest (2009)

The Korean Wedding Chest is a 2009 documentary film about Korean wedding traditions directed by Ulrike Ottinger. The German language film was described as “capturing the collision of ancient tradition and modern culture on the subject of love and marriage in Korea in a film that echoes the beauty, precision and care of the rituals she examines” by the Los Angeles Times. The Washington Post’s website refers to the surrealist style of the film as being well suited to “the regal pacing of the ritual” and calls the film one of Ottinger’s most praised works. Read More »

Johannes Pääsuke – Retk läbi Setumaa AKA Journey through Setomaa (1913)

Estonia’s first ethnographic film. Made by Johannes Pääsuke in 1913 on his expedition to Setomaa, the South-Eastern region in Estonia. Read More »

John Nelson – Through Navajo Eyes: Shallow Well Project (1966)

Shallow Well Project
This is a film that Johnny undertook to make after he was reprimanded by the community for making the photographs of horses which are described in the text. It was at that time that he was asked to supervise the construction of a shallow well.

Johnny previously had experience as a foreman helping to construct these wells in the community. He told the relative who suggested that he undertake the supervision of this construction that he couldn’t do it because he was learning to make movies. But then he realized that perhaps he could make a film about it and thus regain some of his status. Read More »

David Achkar – Allah Tantou AKA God’s Will (1992)

‘Allah Tantou’ is the first African film to confront the immense personal and political costs of the continent’s widespread human rights abuses. Director David Achkar has described the origins of his film: “Every year Amnesty International publishes a list of countries where human rights are ignored, including the estimated number of those unjustly imprisoned and executed in each. My father was one of those who died anonymously. In 1986, by a strange twist of fate, an envelope containing letters written by my father in prison was brought to me. Years later, still trying to make my first film, I watched some home movies my father had shot and then opened that envelope for the first time. Read More »

Gabriel Abrantes, Denis Côté, Marie Losier, Dominga Sotomayor – Aqui, em Lisboa: Episódios da Vida da Cidade AKA Here in Lisbon (2015)

Welcome to Lisbon: there are mermaids by the Tagus and birds flying over the old city; there are mad scientists and singing fish; lost tourist guides and lost tourists; fado and sad guitars. What a weird city you may think – but no. Lisbon is about being different, sarcastic, welcoming to foreigners even in an economic crisis. Different directors became fascinated by our strangeness. We became fascinated by these directors. The city is never the same in these four episodes, here in Lisbon. Read More »

Jessica Oreck – Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo (2009)

from the official website:
Imagine cramming 128 million people onto an island the size of Montana – you would be pretty close to replicating the density of Japan. Not surprisingly, space is at a premium and ergonomic design is right up there next to godliness.

Yet even in Tokyo, the pinnacle of this figurative “can of sardines,” people of all ages still make room for a tiny bit of wilderness. It is only fitting that they have become captivated by nature’s most efficient invention in space, design and function – insects. Read More »

Jessica Oreck – Aatsinki: The Story of Arctic Cowboys (2013)

One year in the life of a family of reindeer herders in Finnish Lapland. Jessica Oreck’s intimate, gorgeously lensed documentary follows brothers Aarne and Lasse Aatsinki. The film is a study of hard work, hard earned leisure, and the intricate bond between man and nature that makes up life above the Arctic Circle. Read More »