Steven Soderbergh, after shooting his 2018 feature “Unsane” with an iPhone, declared smartphone cinema to be the future.
Yet the technology is also a window on the recent past, as shown in the largely unknown masterpiece, “The Uprising,” a 2014 film by journalist and documentary filmmaker Peter Snowdon.
Snowdon’s film is composed entirely of material found on YouTube. It’s an anthology of vernacular videos (to use Snowdon’s phrase) made nine years ago in Tunisia, Bahrain, Syria, Libya, Yemen, and Egypt during the Arab Spring.
Working with filmmaker Bruno Tracq, as well as a small army of translators, Snowdon has taken about 100 videos and distilled the Arab Spring into a weeklong imagined revolution.
“The Uprising” jumps from country to country, tracking a revolt from the initial rallies through violent confrontations with the police, the euphoria inspired by the fall of an autocratic regime, to the army’s attempt to restore order and the seizure of power.
In Anabel Rodríguez Ríos’ immersive fly-on-the-wall documentary “Once Upon a Time in Venezuela,” one lakeside town serves as the embodiment of an entire nation racked by corruption, pollution, and rampant inflation as it slowly but surely drifts toward abandon.
Seven years in the making, the film is a testament to what happens when a chaotic and, many would say, illegitimate government wreaks havoc on its own populace, destroying lives and communities forged over several generations.
Indeed, the sad takeaway from this deep dive into Venezuelan affairs is that whether you’re on the left, the right, a purebred Chavista or a diehard anti-socialist, you may find yourself powerless against the colluding forces of nature and man.
Fata and Yankuba are two young men from Gambia with ambitious dreams, who fled dictatorship and poverty and landed in Naples, Italy, only to discover a new kind of violence: a pernicious climate of racism and an unhelpful immigration system.
Their only escape from the psychological torture of years spent waiting for immigration documents in squalid camps is a small underground club in the heart of the city.
The Teranga nightclub provides a rare safe space for migrants to meet young Italians while dancing and singing away the collective trauma of their journeys to Europe and the discrimination they face in Italy