Reviews - Page 89

Giving you our points of view on the latest docs in release and on the circuit.

Review: ’24 Snow’

24 Snow (Russia, 90 min.) Dir. Mikhail Barynin   What’s it like to live in a place where temperatures drop to minus 65°C? Ask Sergei, a horse breeder from the Sakha region in Russia and the protagonist in new Mikhail Barynin’s documentary 24 Snow. Yakutia or the Sakha Republic is situated in northeastern Siberia, a land famous for its austere climate. The region is predominantly populated by ethnic Sakha people and has two official languages: Russian and Sakha. Sergei’s family lives in a small village bordering the Arctic Circle but he is only a visitor in his own house due to

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Review: ‘Dead Donkeys Fear No Hyenas’

Dead Donkeys Fear No Hyenas (Sweden/Germany/Finland, 80min.) Dir. Joakim Demmer   Dead Donkeys Fear No Hyenas confronts and redefines the conventional Western understanding of international development by examining the toll this practice has taken on Ethiopia. Known for its fertility and biodiversity, Ethiopia grapples with famine and poverty, while relying on food aid to feed its starving population. Simultaneously, amidst the heightened global interest in commercial farming, the Ethiopian government has started leasing hectares of its land to international agricultural investors. As famine looms in Ethiopia, the government keeps allowing private companies to export food overseas while their own population

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Review: ‘Whose Streets?’

Whose Streets? (USA, 90 min.) Dir. Sabaah Folayan, Damon Davis   Whose Streets? is a significant fusion of citizen journalism and documentary filmmaking. Director Sabaah Folayan and co-director Damon Davis provide a courageous and eye-opening account of the 2014 events in Ferguson, Missouri following the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old Black male, by Darren Wilson, a 28-year-old white police officer armed with a handgun and the department’s pervasive history of institutionalized racism. Whose Streets? gives footage from the thick of the protests as Ferguson residents rallied to draw attention to the rampant violence and oppression of Black

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Review: ‘On Putin’s Blacklist’

On Putin’s Blacklist (Canada, 76 min.) Dir. Boris Ivanov   One can’t label a charge of “Fake News” against Boris Ivanov’s timely documentary On Putin’s Blacklist. This documentary raises numerous concerns about Russia’s fall into the dark ages in the era of Vladimir Putin. Ivanov outlines the many reasons for which Russia is a human rights activist’s worst nightmare and, while much of the news is familiar, On Putin’s Blacklist makes a compelling argument that few countries deserve a greater sense of shame than Russia during Putin’s reign of terror. Ivanov doesn’t spend too much time on worrying about the

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Review: ‘California Typewriter’

California Typewriter (USA, 104 min.) Dir. Doug Nichol   There’s a great scene in Fred Zinneman’s Julia featuring Jane Fonda and a typewriter. Fonda, playing writer Lillian Hellman, becomes frustrated while typing at her machine. She gives the typewriter two middle fingers and yells at it. Then she tosses it out the window. This scene from Julia, unfortunately, doesn’t make its way into California Typewriter, but director Doug Nichol affectionately eulogizes this machine that drove writers mad for over a century. The doc illustrates the many pleasures of this increasingly obsolete relic from the analogue age through a variety of

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Review: ‘Human Flow’

Human Flow (Germany, 140 min.) Dir. Ai Weiwei   “The more immune you are to people’s suffering,” says Princess Dana Firas of Jordan in Human Flow, “that’s very dangerous. “It’s critical for us to maintain this humanity.” Firas speaks with filmmaker and artist Ai Weiwei for his exceptional documentary Human Flow. The film calls attention to Firas’s words by drawing upon the common elements of humanity that endure in the most precarious of places. Human Flow emphasizes an urgent global plight as Ai travels the globe and observes stories of migration. The range of subjects might be vast and compelling,

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Review: ‘Bowhead Whale Hunting with My Ancestors’

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Bowhead Whale Hunting with My Ancestors (Canada, 40 min.) Dir. Zacharias Kunuk, Carol Kunnuk   Zacharias Kunuk took audiences on a riveting hunt in the Arctic with 2001’s Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner. Deemed the best Canadian film ever made in a 2015 poll conducted by the Toronto International Film Festival, Atanarjuat endures as a landmark of Canadian cinema for presenting an Inuit story told by an Inuit filmmaker in his own language. Kunuk brought audiences back to the north in the dramas The Journals of Knud Rasmussen (2006) and Maliglutit (2016), but his documentaries, while under-seen by comparison despite being

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