ENJOY THE MOVIES
"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'" (–Fred Rogers) The people who give everything to help others when things are bad are the true heroes of this world. By now, most people are familiar with the war in Syria and the atrocities occurring there. Yet it's still important, for the sake of history above all, that we document what's happening in the Middle East and show how regular people are trying to survive. Syrian filmmaker Feras Fayyad is without a doubt the best Syrian filmmaker working today, and his latest is an extraordinary work of cinema. The Cave is Fayyad's follow-up to his Academy Award-nominated doc film Last Men in Aleppo, and it's an unforgettable, affecting documentary that deserves our time and attention.
Wow wow wow. What a film…! I don't know too much about Australia's history nor do I follow the country's current events, so going into this film I wasn't sure what to expect. I didn't know anything about the story it was telling. And there's nothing like hearing a story for the first time: learning about all that has happened, the ups and downs, and the truths about what is really going on. The Australian Dream is a wonderful doc that focuses on an Australian sportsman named Adam Goodes. He plays the rugby-meets-cricket sport called "Australian rules football", run by the AFL (the "Australian Football League"), and he is descendant from Aboriginal natives. The film tells his story and in doing so confronts latent Australian racism head on. And man oh man is it an absolutely fantastic film. I was moved to tears by this, multiple times near the end.
"All I want is for people to understand the human implications." Some may known him as Bill S. Preston, Esq. Others may known him as the director of the acclaimed technology documentaries Downloaded, Deep Web, The Panama Papers, and Trust Machine: The Story of Blockchain. His name is Alex Winter (you can follow him on Twitter @Winter), and he's an actor, a writer, a filmmaker, a producer, a journalist, and much more. I have become a big fan of Winter's documentaries over the years, he's one of a few filmmakers who actually understands the internet, and presents it in an intelligent and digestible way. Last year, two of his new documentaries premiered - The Panama Papers, about all the journalists who reported on the Panama Papers leak; and Trust Machine: The Story of Blockchain, about the origins and implications of blockchain (aka encrypted digital distributed ledgers), the latest technology fad that's sweeping the world.
As a life-long dog lover, I am always on the lookout for any new films about dogs. Los Reyes is one of the best dog films I've ever seen, and that's not even hyperbole. This magnificent documentary is about a skate park in the capital city of Santiago, Chile where two dogs reign as kings (hence the title Los Reyes, or The Kings in Spanish). Their names are Chola and Fútbol (or Football), and they've been living there since, well, forever. The film focuses entirely on these two dogs, and it's amazing. It's pretty much perfect (save for one or two shots). These dogs are the coolest, and this is one of the most vividly alive & extraordinarily engaging proofs that dogs do have personalities, friendships, things they love to do, and big thoughts in their minds.
What's up next on the film festival tour? My next stop is at IDFA in Amsterdam in the Netherlands, in full known as International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. This is another film festival I've heard about for years, and I'm finally attending it for the first time. IDFA is known around the world as one of the premiere film festivals for documentaries. They only show and host documentaries at the festival (with a few exceptions) but that means it's all about truth and non-fiction and cinema as an important tool for telling stories from the real world. I'm very excited to be here, I love Amsterdam, and I'm happy to start watching more documentaries. I wasn't always a big fan of docs before, to be honest, but I am a big fan now.