Marielle Franco, a Brazilian LGBT and human rights activist, was killed in March 2018. Her widow, Monica Benicio, has continued her fight for better treatment of the poor, the LGBT community, and black Brazilians.
Franco’s murder has still not been solved, and in The Guardian documentary, “Marielle and Monica,” as the police investigation drifts, Monica is plunged into a new crisis: the probable election of far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro as Brazil’s next president.
On the eve of Bolsonaro’s inauguration, the film documents Monica’s involvement in the campaign opposing the president; glimmers of hope in the election of some politicians from other parties; and the aftermath of the vote, which suggests a terrifying future for LGBT rights in Brazil and for politicians who oppose the government, with little hope of Marielle’s murder being adequately solved.
Day after day Nabil al-Hakimi, a humanitarian official in Taiz, one of Yemen’s largest cities, went to work feeling he had a “mountain” on his shoulders. Billions of dollars in food and other foreign aid were coming into his war-ravaged homeland, but millions of Yemenis were still living a step away from famine.
Reports of organizational disarray and out-and-out thievery streamed in to him this spring and summer from around Taiz — 5,000 sacks of rice doled out without record of where they’d gone . . . 705 food baskets looted from a welfare agency’s warehouses . . . 110 sacks of grain pillaged from trucks trying to make their way through the craggy northern highlands overlooking the city.
Food donations, it was clear, were being snatched from the starving.
Documents reviewed by The Associated Press and interviews with al-Hakimi and other officials and aid workers show that thousands of families in Taiz are not getting international food aid intended for them — often because it has been seized by armed units that are allied with the Saudi-led, American-backed military coalition fighting in Yemen.
“Inside Syria’s Deadly Dynasty,” a fascinating two-hour special that’s available on the National Geographic network, documents the rise of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from an unassuming London eye doctor to a brutal dictator who is feared in his own country and across the Middle East.
The documentary is a behind-the-scenes look at a man whose name has become synonymous with the last decade of unrest in Syria. Americans know him as the enigmatic figure who has seemed eerily calm no matter the atrocities being committed by his forces, but this documentary provides a deeper understanding of how he’s been able to hold on to power despite international outrage.
Mixing narration with firsthand accounts, “Inside Syria” paints a fascinating and disturbing picture of an enigmatic ruler whose gentle public persona is at odds with the ruthless tactics he’s used to stay in power.
In archival and original footage, interviews with Bashar and his wife, Asma, exclusive sit-downs with dissidents, former friends of the ruling family, foreign diplomats, and others, the documentary tells the story of Bashar’s unlikely succession to power — and what that’s meant for the fate of Syria.
An on-the-ground view of one of the great global tragedies of our time, “Still Recording” is two hours of the Syrian civil war distilled from 450 that Saeed Al Batal, Ghiath Ayoub, and six other videographers shot between 2011 and 2015,
The raw footage was smuggled out of Syria on hard drives. It’s bleak indeed, but required viewing as a savage critique of man’s inhumanity, a testimony of horror but also an homage to the filmmakers who have chosen to witness it on our behalf.
The film gains in urgency and impact from full-screen viewing, effectively telling the tale of the Syrian conflict through scenes recorded using the videographers’ hand-held cameras before being uploaded to the internet.
Al Batal, a film teacher at the Douma Media Office, is first seen incongruously showing his students an “Underworld” film, praising its mise en scene, reflecting that its budget would have paid for 15 hospitals and 16 schools in Syria and stating that “the image is the last line of defense against time,” a phrase that could stand as his film’s motto.
Colombia is currently dealing with a massive wave of refugees coming from Venezuela. A severe economic crisis under current President Nicolás Maduro is causing them to flee; inflation rates are sky high, and there isn’t enough food in the country.
Thousands of Venezuelans are crossing the Simón Bolívar International Bridge into Cúcuta, a Columbian border town, every day. And Colombia doesn’t seem to be turning anyone away.
Season 3, Episode 1 of Vox Borders looks at why Colombia isn’t turning away these refugees, the shared history of the two nations, and how there may be a limit to Colombia’s acceptance of their incoming neighbors.
Shraysi Tandon’s sobering debut documentary, “Invisible Hands,” takes a no-nonsense approach to exploring child labor and trafficking practices throughout the world.
There’s no way to depict these subjects on film that are not horribly heartbreaking, and while Tandon doesn’t sugarcoat them, neither does she delve too far into exploitative imagery.
After a searing opening sequence featuring a rescue raid in India, Tandon turns the film’s focus toward the real culprits: corporations that sell products derived from child labor.
“Invisible Hands” crosses the globe to show the dangerous and deplorable conditions in which children work, from palm fields in Indonesia, to cacao farms and mica mines in Ghana, to even in the United States, where children as young as 12 labor in tobacco fields, exposing them to high levels of nicotine and harsh chemical pesticides.
Protective gear? That would require admitting that children are working in these industries.