Will a documentary take down the Polish government?

Will a documentary take down the Polish government?

Source:  The New York Times

Following sexual-abuse scandals in the United States, Great Britain, Ireland and Australia, it appears the Roman Catholic Church may be on the verge of a similar catastrophe in Poland.

But whereas the blowback from previous scandals has been largely confined to the church itself, this latest crisis could take down the country’s right-wing government as well — and undermine the tight grip the church holds over Polish society.

With just weeks to go before the European parliamentary elections — which in Poland will serve as a kind of opening act for its own parliamentary elections this fall — the country has been gripped by a shocking documentary exposing widespread child sexual abuse by Polish priests, and the subsequent cover up by the church.

Released on YouTube, “Tell No One,” by well-known journalist Tomasz Sekielski, was viewed 10 million times in its first two days of release.

The influence of the Catholic Church in Poland is immense — almost 40% of the population attends Mass weekly.  And it’s politically connected, particularly on the right: The church enjoys significant financial privileges from the state, while the ruling Law and Justice party benefits from the support of Catholic media outlets and church sermons.

The strength of the church is the strength of the Law and Justice party, and a crisis in the church is a crisis for Law and Justice.

Watch “Tell No One” (with English subtitles) above and read the story at The New York Times.

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“For Sama” is a rare and wrenching video diary of the Syrian civil war

“For Sama” is a rare and wrenching video diary of the Syrian civil war

Source:  Variety

The Syrian civil war may be the largest human crisis of our age, and with no end to it in sight, it’s only right that documentarians are unwilling to let it rest.

The last few years have seen Syria-themed docs all but flooding the festival circuit, forming what the more cynical may deem a subgenre in itself.

Almost all of them are made in good conscience and with honest intentions, but that does little to help concerned but daunted audiences differentiate or choose between them.  What makes one sincere study of the conflict more essential than another?

The answer lies in singularity and intimacy of perspective, and on that front, Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts’s extraordinary war diary “For Sama” will prove hard to match.  Simple in concept and shattering in execution, blending hard-headed reportage with unguarded personal testimony, it’s you-are-there cinema of the most literal order.

After a theatrical release, “For Sama” will air on FRONTLINE on PBS.

Read the story at Variety.

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In “Mosul” the liberation of the city is viewed through the eyes of an Iraqi journalist

In “Mosul” the liberation of the city is viewed through the eyes of an Iraqi journalist

Source:  Los Angeles Times

While not exactly uncharted documentary territory, the Iraq conflict is thought-provokingly portrayed in “Mosul,” an up-close-and-personal examination of recent events that puts a human face on a region that remains vulnerable as a result of clashing ideologies.

The liberation of Mosul, one neighborhood at a time, from the grip of ISIS is seen through the eyes of Iraqi journalist Ali Maula who was embedded with a militia group during the conflict.

Dan Gabriel’s first feature adroitly traces the region’s history of instability via compelling characters and startling images.

“Mosul” is currently playing in Beverly Hills, California at the Laemmle Music Hall.

Read the story at the Los Angeles Times.

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When the MV Sewol sank off the coast of South Korea in 2014, over 300 people lost their lives. The victims’ families and survivors are still awaiting justice

When the MV Sewol sank off the coast of South Korea in 2014, over 300 people lost their lives. The victims’ families and survivors are still awaiting justice

Source:  Field of Vision

When the passenger ferry MV Sewol sank off the coast of South Korea in 2014, over 300 people lost their lives, most of them schoolchildren.

The victims’ families and survivors are still awaiting justice from South Korean authorities.

Watch “In the Absence” above and read the story at Field of Vision.

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“Las Sandinistas” elevates its subject matter beyond a mere footnote

“Las Sandinistas” elevates its subject matter beyond a mere footnote

Source:  Remezcla

Revolution is quite often and erroneously considered a male enterprise.

From Che Guevara to Símon Bolivar, political resistance in Latin America is fundamental to the region’s identity, and yet so much of what’s preserved in textbooks and museums neglects the contributions made by women.

Filmmaker Jenny Murray’s latest film, “Las Sandinistas,” takes a refreshingly different approach in its revisionist her-story of Nicaragua’s Sandinista National Liberation Front, and its toppling of the regime of dictator Anastasio Somoza in 1979.

“Las Sandinistas” is available now on iTunes. 

Read the story at Remezcla.

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