Documentary

Memory for Max, Claire, Ida and Company (2005) Allan King, Claire Mandell, Sherry Mandell, Jeff Glickman, Documentary

Memory for Max, Claire, Ida and Company (2005)
At Baycrest, an old-age home in Toronto, we follow a social worker as she talks to residents, particularly Max, Claire, Ida, and Rachel. The film opens on Claire’s birthday, she’s 89; Max, a tiny cheerful man, is her close friend. Rachel is lonesome, missing her son, complaining he rarely visits. Ida relies on memory for her solace. Helen has no memory and doesn’t recognize her daughter; her moods swing. Murray keeps his cap on and likes women. Staff members bring medication, provide care, and offer small talk. Memory is fleeting: Claire re-experiences the death of a close companion several times, each time without remembering her previous grieving. Lives are circumscribed.

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Volta à Terra / (Be)longing (2014) Laurence Ferreira Barbosa, João Pedro Plácido, Documentary

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Volta à Terra tells the story of an endangered community: farmers who practice subsistence farming in a mountainous village of northern Portugal, deserted because of immigration.
Between the evocation of the past and their uncertain future, we follow the 49 inhabitants through four seasons.
Among the inhabitants we meet António, a former emigrant who fulfilled his dream of returning home, prepares the village festivities for the coming summer, and Daniel, young shepherd who dreams of love at dusk.

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Oscar Niemeyer – A Vida É Um Sopro (2010) Fabiano Maciel, Chico Buarque, Carlos Heitor Cony, Le Corbusier, Documentary

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The film is based on face-to-face conversations with the Brazilian architect, with an in medias res beginning and a ’spontaneous’ ending: “The interview is over, isn’t it?” asks Niemeyer, when they begin to talk about women as everyday pleasures for the 100 year-old architect. Besides a wide range of the architect’s mostly public buildings in the biggest Brazilian cities, and also in France, Italy and Algeria, director Fabiano Maciel tries to show us the post-war intellectual and political atmosphere in Brazil, and Niemeyer’s relation to it. We also get to know him as a fighter for social justice and about his role in the construction of Brasilia as a symbol of the workers’ movement in the fifties.

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Watermarks: Three Letters from China (2013) Luc Schaedler, Documentary, Drama

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Based on three different places, the film portrays the infractions to which people living in modern day China are subjected due to rapid developments: in the deceptively idyllic Jiuxiancun in the rainy south; in the apocalyptic coal mining site of Minqin and Wusutu in the parched north; and in Chongqing, the mega city on the Yangtze River. The protagonists give their moving accounts of an unresolved past, an uncertain present and their tentative steps into the future. The film thus paints a complex image of the mental state of the people in this complicated country. “Watermarks” is a subjective snapshot in time that takes a poetic look at the changing everyday life in China.

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In Jackson Heights (2015) Frederick Wiseman, Documentary

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Jackson Heights, Queens, New York City is one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse communities in the United States and the world. There are immigrants from every country in South America, Mexico, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and China. Some are citizens, some have green cards, some are without documents. The people who live in Jackson Heights, in their cultural, racial and ethnic diversity, are representative of the new wave of immigrants to America. 167 languages are spoken in Jackson Heights. Some of the issues the film raises-assimilation, integration, immigration and cultural and religious differences-are common to all the major cities of the Western world. The subject of the film is the daily life of the people in this community-their businesses, community centers, religions, and political, cultural and social lives-and the conflict between maintaining ties to traditions of the countries of origin and the need to learn and adapt to American ways and values.

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Der Kreis / The Circle (2014) Stefan Haupt, Matthias Hungerbühler, Peter Jecklin, Marie Leuenberger, Documentary, Biography, Drama

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Zurich, 1956. The young teacher Ernst Ostertag falls head over heels in love with the transvestite star Robi Rapp and finds himself torn between his bourgeois existence and his commitment to homosexuality. Ernst becomes a member of the gay organization DER KREIS and lives through the high point and the eventual decline of the organization, which in the whole of Europe is seen as the pioneer of gay emancipation.

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Joel-Peter Witkin: An Objective Eye (2013) Thomas A. Marino, Joel-Peter Witkin, Eugenia Parry, Baudoin Lebon, Documentary, Biography, History

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A new documentary from director Thomas Marino, taking a profound and introspective look into the life and art of the controversial artist, Joel-Peter Witkin. Along with in-depth interviews with Joel-Peter Witkin, the film features interviews from prominent artists, musicians, photographers, and scholars who share insight into the impact of Witkin’s work and influence on modern culture.

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