“I don’t run away from nothing, I run to it,” says Gemma, the quietly resilient teenager at the center of “Scheme Birds.”
Few would blame her for doing the reverse, having been abandoned in infanthood by her parents in the harsh projects of Motherwell, a deprived, lusterless Scottish town a few miles outside Glasgow.
It’s a home that does little to reward her loyalty, yet at the outset, at least, there’s nowhere Gemma would rather be. Admitting that she expects to spend her whole life in this deprived corner of Motherwell, she then breaks sunnily with glum kitchen-sink tradition by saying she hopes never to leave.
That will change, as will many aspects of her life, by the end of Ellen Fiske and Ellinor Hallin’s superb documentary, an alternately lyrical and gut-punching coming-of-age study in which girls like Gemma become women — and wounded women at that — altogether too soon.
“Scheme Birds,” recently won the top prize in the Best Documentary Feature category at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Global warming will enjoy a rare moment in the UK spotlight when the BBC airs a one-hour film on the subject on April 18.
“Right now, we’re facing our gravest threat in thousands of years: climate change,” says narrator David Attenborough at the start of “Climate Change – The Facts.”
The involvement of the influential Attenborough on BBC One, the corporation’s biggest channel, in a prime 9:00 pm slot has raised expectations that the film could significantly shift attitudes and spur action.
It could perhaps do for climate change what 2017’s “Blue Planet II” did for plastics.
“Climate Change – The Facts” is an excellent primer on climate change, sprinting through the basics of the science, why we have failed to cut carbon emissions, and how we might reduce future warming.
The film features a who’s who from climate academia, including Michael Mann, James Hansen, and Naomi Oreskes from the U.S. to Peter Stott, Mark Maslin, and Catherine Mitchell from the UK.
“All this abuse was happening all the time, unreported… so we wanted to provoke the national debate.” Filmmaker Ken Fero spoke with Dazed through his 1994 documentary “Tasting Freedom” from a room in Regents University, where he now teaches.
After an award-winning career as a documentarian, activist, and lecturer (“Germany – The Other Story” (1991), “Sweet France ” (1992), “Injustice ” (2001)), he’s reflecting on the egregious language of today’s hostile environment and how much the UK’s immigration agenda causes him shame.
It’s been 25 years since “Tasting Freedom,” a searing exposé into the brutality of the UK’s demonisation of asylum seekers, was made. The final shot, which sees a group of detainees on a roof, fenced off, protesting via a hunger strike as they shout “freedom!”, is an image that has been referenced in activist circles and filmmakers throughout the years since.
The film, which focuses on first-hand accounts from Algerian and Zairean conflict refugees in detention, has echoes of our current moment of “crisis” regarding refugees in 2019.
Known outside of France for her roles in film classics like “Last Year at Marienbad,” “Stolen Kisses,” and “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie,” the late actress Delphine Seyrig was, along with Catherine Deneuve, Jeanne Moreau, and Anna Karina, one of the great female talents to emerge at the birth of the Nouvelle Vague.
But perhaps unbeknownst to most was Seyrig’s involvement, beginning in the late 1960s, with the French feminist movement, for which she became one of its leading celebrity voices during the latter part of her career.
That part of the actress’s life is revealed with considerable detail in “Delphine and Carole” (“Delphine et Carole, insoumuses”), a documentary from director Callisto McNulty that explores how Seyrig and filmmaker Carole Roussopoulos joined forces to make a handful of protest movies, using the new medium of video that became available in the 1970s.
For decades, the remains of María Martín’s mother have lain beneath a roadway in Spain. Her death unmarked except for her aging daughter’s lonely vigil.
Cars pass indifferently across the route, a symbol of how the country paved over its history of brutal repression and political murder under the fascist regime of General Francisco Franco.
Why María Martín’s mother was killed–along with tens of thousands of others heaped in mass graves–and why Spain has resolutely refused to come to terms with Franco’s era of blood and torture, are the subject of “The Silence of Others.”
The documentary was executived produced by Oscar-winning filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar and directed by Emmy winners Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar.