Immersive, involving, sometimes revelatory, sometimes curiously naive, and on occasion thuddingly obvious, João Moreira Salles’ found-footage study of revolutionaries in the streets of Paris, Prague, and other countries in 1968 would stand as an invaluable assemblage simply on the basis of its archival finds alone.
That Salles (“Santiago,” “Entreatos”) muses in voiceover as his exhumed film clips — from amateur sources, TV broadcasts, previous documentaries — survey the streets of ’68 proves both the boon and bane of “In the Intense Now.”
Salles is hushed, whispering tensely, reaching for poetry, occasionally pausing on a key frame so that he can draw our attention to some detail that has caught his eye.
He might pull you in; he might push you away — especially when his attention wanders to Chairman Mao’s China, which he regards not with a documentarian’s scrutiny but with a son’s enchantment for his mother in her youth. She shot the footage he uses while on vacation there in 1966.
Viewers are plunged deep into a real life horror story in “A Woman Captured,” the tense and moving feature-length debut by Hungarian director Bernadett Tuza-Ritter.
More conspiratorial than observational, this nightmarishly claustrophobic documentary about a middle-aged woman trapped in the toils of “modern slavery” in Hungary as an unpaid 24/7 live-in housemaid gradually takes on the contours of a dramatic thriller as Tuza-Ritter aids her protagonist’s bid to escape a tyrannical employer who is often heard but never seen.
The BBC is promising to bring viewers the “definitive” account of the Harvey Weinstein scandal after ordering a feature-length documentary from two-time Oscar-winning producer Simon Chinn and his production company Lightbox.
Although the British broadcaster will screen the documentary on TV, it is tentatively planning for an Academy and BAFTA award-qualifying theatrical release.
Lightbox said the 90-minute documentary would feature interviews with actresses who have accused Weinstein of misconduct as well as with journalists, producers, directors, actors, agents and lawyers involved in the scandal. Some of the people will be speaking publicly for the first time about the story.
Three decades after using tales of wartime cannibalism to condemn the political maneuvers of Japan’s ruling class, firebrand filmmaker Kazuo Hara returns with another j’accuse against his country’s officialdom with “Sennan Asbestos Disaster.”
Running nearly four hours, the documentary chronicles the protracted struggle in getting the Japanese government to admit to ignoring the deadly consequences of the country’s asbestos factories — considered a driving force behind Japan’s economic resurgence after the Second World War.
With an original title that translates as “The Japanese State vs Sennan Asbestos Villages,” the documentary offers more than just a harrowing account of the suffering of those afflicted with asbestos-related diseases. Instead, Hara focuses on the government’s war of attrition against these poor victims, unleashing mountains of red tape to derail the victims’ cases, and appeals against each and every court indictment for official negligence.
The result has been a lawsuit lasting nearly eight years, with dozens of ailing plaintiffs not living to see the outcome.