Street artists in the Democratic Republic of Congo do their thing in thrilling “System K”

Street artists in the Democratic Republic of Congo do their thing in thrilling “System K”

Source:  Los Angeles Times

Capturing the urgent, boundless invention of young, politically minded African artists with nothing to lose and everything to communicate, Renaud Barret’s thrilling documentary “System K” showcases a thriving art scene in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, that isn’t just born of the streets, but often made and displayed there as well.

Through the eyes of the struggling creators, we meet a troubled city embattled by corruption, poverty, and the legacy of colonialism isn’t just inspiration — it’s also one big showroom.

What connects the many artists featured in Barret’s film, besides their meager means and creative contribution to a city that doesn’t always know what to do about their exhibitive brashness, is the support they get from local, internationally celebrated sculptor Freddy Tsimba, whose appearances throughout the film make for a culturally authoritative through line of sorts as we meet the artists.

“System K” is playing now in select cities.

Read the story at the Los Angeles Times.


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“La Cravate” (“The Tie”) takes a deep dive into the life of a young National Front supporter

“La Cravate” (“The Tie”) takes a deep dive into the life of a young National Front supporter

Source:  The Hollywood Reporter

The rise of far-right nationalism in Europe, the U.S., and elsewhere has become a sign of our times — a sign of fear and loathing for many, but one of pride for a growing minority in France that, in the last presidential election, captured over a third of the vote.  In fact, the minority no longer looks like a minority at all.

In their new documentary “The Tie” (“La Cravate”), directors Étienne Chaillou and Mathias Théry focus with razor-sharp precision on Bastien, one such foot soldier in France’s burgeoning far-right movement, tracking him around the country as he campaigns for candidate Marine Le Pen in the run-up to the 2017 presidential election.

What the filmmakers reveal is a young man whose deep-seated political convictions were, at least in part, shaped by his life in the economically strapped region of Picardy — where Le Pen’s National Front party, now renamed the National Rally, has a sizable following.

They also reveal someone willing to face a certain level of ridicule and ostracism, including getting fired from a promising job, to defend the ideas that he believes in.

Read the story at The Hollywood Reporter.


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Meeting deceased loved ones in VR sounds like a “Black Mirror” episode, but it’s happening

Meeting deceased loved ones in VR sounds like a “Black Mirror” episode, but it’s happening

Source:  Futurism

In 2016, Jang Ji-sung’s seven-year-old daughter, Nayeon, died of an incurable disease.  Three years later, the South Korean mother was reunited with Nayeon — sort of — in a virtual world created for a televised documentary.

Earlier this month, the Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation shared a clip from “I Met You” on its YouTube channel with the footage cutting between the real world and the virtual one.

In the former setting, Jang stands in front of a massive green screen while wearing both a VR headset and what appear to be some sort of haptic gloves.  In the latter, she and her daughter talk, hold hands, and even have a birthday party complete with a lit cake.

The VR reunion is, as you might expect, extremely emotional.  Jang appears to begin crying the moment she sees the virtual Nayeon.

The process might not be simple and the final product might not be perfect, but we now have the technology to recreate the dead in VR — convincingly enough to move their loved ones to tears.

Read the story at Futurism.


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Restored footage of infamous 1969 Tokyo University debate at the center of “Mishima: The Last Debate”

Restored footage of infamous 1969 Tokyo University debate at the center of “Mishima: The Last Debate”

Source:  Variety

Restored footage of an infamous Tokyo University debate between controversial Japanese poet and novelist Yukio Mishima and university students is the centerpiece of Keisuke Toyoshima’s “Mishima: The Last Debate.”

Mishima is known equally as one of Japan’s most important 20th century literary figures, nominated for the Nobel Prize, and as an unrepentant Japanese nationalist who wanted the powers of the emperor to be restored.

The heated debate was held in 1969 at a time of mass protests in Japan that included an uprising among students.

A year later after failing to inspire an army mutiny, Mishima killed himself in ritual Japanese fashion.

The original footage of the debate was believed to have been lost but was discovered by filmmakers during the process of making the documentary.  It’s been restored in 4K.

“Mishima: The Last Debate.” will be released theatrically in Japan in March.

Read the story at Variety.


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The world’s longest-running reality series continues with “63 Up”

The world’s longest-running reality series continues with “63 Up”

Source:  WBUR

There’s an old Jesuit saying sometimes attributed to Aristotle, “Give me the child until he is seven, and I will give you the man.”

It struck the fancy of filmmaker Paul Almond, who in 1963 conducted interviews with over a dozen seven-year-old children from a cross-section of socioeconomic backgrounds for Granada Television.

The breezy, 40-minute documentary “Seven Up!” showcased some cute kids and tart questions about the rigidity of the British class system, but would hardly be remembered today had Almond’s young researcher, Michael Apted, not gone back to revisit the children seven years later, and then another seven years after that.

Apted made a habit of it for the next few decades, and now — a full 56 years since it began — the series’ ninth installment “63 Up” arrives in theaters like a reunion with old friends.

Apted and his editors always preface their interviews with scenes and snippets from the previous pictures, so in a span of several minutes, we see these subjects age more than half-a-century.

We watch eyes grow hard and bodies get soft.  The walks lose a step or two while youthful belligerence gives way to something more circumspect and considered. It’s remarkable to witness — their transformation over time and both the ravages and unexpected gifts of age.

The cumulative emotional impact of the films naturally grows more pronounced with each installment, but especially hits home during this one — which the 78-year-old Apted assumes will probably be his last.

“63 Up” is playing now in select cities.

Read the story at WBUR.


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BBC Stories presents “The Instagram Suicide Network”

BBC Stories presents “The Instagram Suicide Network”

Source:  BBC Stories on YouTube

A BBC investigation based on the phone of a 17-year-old Norwegian teenager who killed herself has revealed the shocking scale of self-harm and suicide material being shared on private Instagram accounts.

The BBC was able to see inside the mobile phone of the Norwegian teen – who live posted her suicide on Instagram.

New analysis by a team of Norwegian journalists at NRK has revealed that the Norwegian teenager was linked to another 1,000 accounts from around the world all posting similar dangerous content.

At least another 14 girls in the same Instagram network have also taken their own lives.

Watch “The Instagram Suicide Network” above and read the story at BBC Stories on YouTube.


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