This article was developed within the program Venture an Idea funded by the USAID.
There‚Äôs a kind of magic in documentary films. Inquisitive themes, a penchant for authenticity, and above all, the makeup of good cinema are only some of the qualities involved.
If you‚Äôre into any of these, read on.
From May 11th to 17th, Belgrade is host to Beldocs - one of the largest docu-film festivals in the Balkans. Established in 2008, Beldocs prides itself on screening films that explore the most pressing issues of our troubled times.
During the week, over 100 films will be shown across seven locations in the city. Some will shock you; some will make you sad or angry. Some move to action, but none will leave you indifferent. Here are ten thematically diverse films that are worth a go, but feel free to visit the website and find what you like.
Beginning with Last Things, it‚Äôs a sweeping dramatization of life on Earth seen from a unique perspective of a seemingly most lifeless form of all ‚Äď rocks. Created by Deborah Stratman, the film is a testament to life in all its manifold possibilities, even with no humans around.
Zooming in, this film tells the curious story of French filmmaker Armel Hostiou, who discovers another Armel on Facebook. When this fake profile invites their female friends for a bogus audition in Kinshasa, the real Armel decides to go and confront his double.
Insight is a captivating story of a woman navigating an inordinately male-dominated nightly profession. She is a chimney sweeper in Vienna, Austria, which brings experiences and prejudices radically different from her male colleagues. The film is signed by Emma Brown.
Sergio Guataquira Sarmiento wanted to make a film about the disturbing number of suicides among Native Americans. But the film took its own turn. Visiting Native American communities in Colombia, through humor, tenderness, and love, Sarmiento managed to reconnect to an Indian inside him.
Joyce Carol Oates: A Body in the Service of Mind
The film is a staggering, profoundly personal account of one of the most prolific American writers. Swedish director Stig Bj√∂rkman takes the nuanced approach, blending the bio elements with insightful info on Oates‚Äô creative process and intersecting both with well-performed passages and interviews.
Flickering Ghosts of Loves Gone By
Described as an ode to cinema and to life, this is a fictionalized self-portrait by director Andr√© Bonzel. The film is a collection of amateur footage taken throughout his life which, coming together, present a personalized masterstroke in filmmaking.
There are events in this world so devastating that they baffle the mind with their enormity. One such is the Port of Beirut explosion. With Octopus, director Karim Kassem is trying to explain the aftermath of the calamity, using tentacles as a metaphor for the existential questions sprouted by the disaster.
Driven out of their Kosovan homeland, a Serbian family returns years later, trying to locate the site of their old house. Led by director Jelena Radenovińá, their journey is one of self-realization and displaced identity, made whole only by plunging into psychological depths where memories and loss light the way.
What happens when the state knows your needs and your fears more than you know them yourself? Jialing Zhang‚Äės Total Trust paints a gloomy picture of modern Chinese society, where technology rules the day and individuals are monitored every step of their daily way.
In this bizarre interactive VR simulation created by Seeyam Quine, you enter Owlet, a social platform where only good vibes are allowed. But when the platform goes through a major shake-up, all meme hell breaks loose.
Last on the list is a Spanish treat coming from director Jon√°s Trueba. The stage is simple enough: two Madrid-based mid-30s couples discussing life going forward. But their subtle humor and melancholic wisdom elevate the story into a remarkably relatable piece of cinema.
And we‚Äôre only really scratching the surface here, leaving the rest to be pleasantly discovered.
This article is made possible by the support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of this program are the responsibility of Nova Iskra and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.