Category: Documentary

Portrait of a queen, with bare feet

LISTEN TO THE first few lyrics of Sodade, a song written in the 1950s which was popularised and rose to meteoric cultural proportions in the early 1990s, and you will know exactly who Cesária Évora was – or at least, you will know her voice, which runs like […]

To land in the dark, baton in hand

PICTURE THE SCENARIO. A performance of Gustav Mahler’s first symphony, the Titan, composed in 1888, is about to begin. The bassoonists stand poised, the trumpets in the wings. All due time hewn established pomp and ceremony is de rigueur; performers are in black. The audience is quiet, in […]

Putin and he-who-shall-not-be-named

CONTEMPORARY RUSSIA. A land under the thumb of a relentless dictator. A land, seemingly on a crash course that might take the whole world with it. But what if you had the opportunity to shift that crash course? What if that opportunity came with the ultimate price tag? […]

Ode to the minds that sway

YOU MAY HAVE your opinion about how other people lead their lives or live within the confines of their bodies, but have you ever really considered taking the proverbial ‘stepping into someone’s shoes’ all the way? Stripping its narrative of sweet or sweeping platitudes, Jerry Rothwell’s film The […]

The bloody roots of green trees

WHICHEVER WAY YOU look at it, the little sliver of land at the heart of the Middle East is a hot potato. Enough to get otherwise intelligent and rational people spouting vicious invectives at strangers who have different opinions about it. Or its right to exist. That’s Israel […]

How to live one day at a time

SHE SQUINTS HER beautiful eyes and frowns gloriously. Her tan body is health and lithe, playful, watchful, vulnerable, tough. This is Zeytin, a mixed breed large dog in Istanbul, central to an extraordinary piece of filmography called Stray, made by Elizabeth Lo, which features on this year’s Encounters […]

Ella’s story: So near and yet so far

BEHIND THE FEISTY face and wry sense of humour of 98-year-old Capetonian Ella Blumenthal is a history that underpins the life of many European Jews who lived through the scourge of the Holocaust, bereft, broken and with scant wherewithal to pick up pieces and start life all over […]

Last scene of all

WHEN THE TRADITIONAL lines of documentary are allowed to blend into the messy whimsy of what fictional tales are about, real magic happens.  A kind of universal sacred magic that speaks to what all of us are, as human beings. This is what you can anticipate in Maite […]