Bing Wang – He Fengming aka Fengming: A Chinese Memoir (2007)


Robert Koehler wrote:
With virtually a single-camera set-up and absolute attention paid to a woman who survived the horrors of Mao’s China, Wang Bing continues his run as one of the world’s supreme doc filmmakers with “Fengming: A Chinese Memoir.” While his extraordinary epic, “West of the Tracks,” traced the destruction of a city’s industrial zone and the forced relocation of thousands of residents, new pic is scaled in opposite fashion–intimate, minimalist, nearly private, as former journalist and teacher He Fengming describes in vividly painful detail how her life in the revolution turned into a 30-year nightmare. Prospects point to specialized treatment at major fests, but vid is where pic will really stand the test of time. Continue reading

Gaston Biraben – Cautiva aka Captive (2003)


“Cautiva” features a solid performance by 23-year-old Barbara Lombardo that goes a long way in making up for the telenovela script.

Lombardo, who had small role in “The Motorcycle Diaries,” is amazingly believable as Cristina, a teenager who discovers that the man and woman who raised her are not her real parents.

Cristina’s biological parents were among the 30,000 Argentines who “disappeared” under the military dictatorship that ruled the country in the 1970s. She was born in prison on the day Argentina won the World Cup in 1978. Continue reading

Risto Jarva – Työmiehen päiväkirja aka The Diary of a Worker (1967)


Following passages selectively translated from Risto Jarva Society’s website:

Risto Jarva was a central director in the Finnish New Wave. His career is one of the most extensive and important in the history of Finnish cinema, even though he died in a car accident at the age of 43.

Risto Jarva was a humanist and an engineer within one person. The focus of his work is on the human between society and nature. In his feature films and short documentaries he mapped dominant and alternative ways of life, without forgetting neither history nor the future. That’s why his movies are both subjective and objective evidence of the way Finland was in the years 1962-1977. Continue reading

Oriane Brun-Moschetti – Salut et fraternité : les images selon René Vautier AKA Images According to René Vautier (2015)

“Each of René Vautier’s films is a pamphlet, a shield for the oppressed and the victims of history, a little war machine in the service of justice. And like weapons in a resistance movement, they are used, exchanged, lent, discarded, destroyed, lost or hidden away and sometimes long forgotten in their cache. In that respect, each of René’s films is an individual case, an episode in what is probably the most noble and romantic story in the history of cinema. Scarred as these films may be, their beauty is genuine, not only in the plastic and stylistic senses, but also in the sense of a cinema raised to the fullness of its necessity and powers. His cinema mobilizes a precise, wide-ranging conception of the rights and duties of images: documenting, telling the truth, doing justice, dialoguing with other images and information, contradicting, counter-attacking, convincing. Continue reading

Yann Arthus-Bertrand – Home (2009)


The documentary chronicles the present day stance of the Earth, its climate and how we as the dominant species have long-term repercussions on its future. A theme expressed throughout the documentary is that of linkage; how all organisms and the Earth are linked in a “delicate but crucial” balance with each other, and how no organism can be self-sufficient.

Documentary with commentary by Glenn Close. In 200,000 years on earth humanity has upset the balance of the planet, established by nearly four billion years of evolution. The price to pay is high, but it’s too late to be a pessimist: humanity has barely ten years to reverse the trend, become aware of the full extent of its devastation of the Earth’s riches and change its patterns of consumption. Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s extraordinarily beautiful and moving film was made over three years, shot from the air in more than fifty countries. It is being screened all over the world on the same date, World Environment Day, to convince us all of our individual and collective responsibility towards the planet. Continue reading

Nicolas Rey – Les soviets plus l’électricité (2002) (DVD)


This art-film is an imaginary documentary film about a man who sets off from Paris to Siberia in search of his father’s past: His father was a communist who had voluntarily gone from France to the Soviet Union to work on a big engineering project in Magadan. Now his adult son travels by train from Paris, through the Ukraine into the depths of Russia, in search of the values and ideas that had been so relevant to his father. The title of the film alludes to Lenin’s definition of communism: communism equals Soviets plus electricity. (Soviets are councils). Continue reading