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Films & Schedules - Documentary

A BITTER TASTE OF FREEDOM

Sat, Feb 11, 2012
at 6 PM (World Trade Center Theater)
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A BITTER TASTE OF FREEDOM

DIRECTOR: Marina Goldovskaya - UNITED STATES

In her fearless quest to uncover the wrongdoings of the Russian state, Anna Politkovskaya inspired awe in some and fear in countless others. An investigative journalist for Moscow’s liberal Novaya Gazeta, she was often the only spokesperson for victims of the Russian government. Her scalding criticism of Russia’s government-sanctioned war in Chechnya, A Dirty War, infuriated many in power. In 2006, at age 48, she was assassinated for simply doing her job. The murder remains unsolved, but for many that fact does not eliminate Vladimir Putin himself from suspicion. Drawing on unique footage of Anna’s conversations with filmmaker Marina Goldovskaya,...

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DARWIN

Fri, Feb 17, 2012
at 8:45 PM (World Trade Center Theater)
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Sat, Feb 25, 2012
at 1 PM (Cinema 21)
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DARWIN

DIRECTOR: Nick Brandestini - SWITZERLAND

In its glory years, Darwin, Calif., was a thriving mining town in Death Valley. Today, just 35 hard scrabble survivors hold on in a near ghost town with no jobs, government, or much connection to the modern outside world. Survival depends on a fragile waterline running down the mountain from a secret weapons test range. Brandestini’s evocative film interviews the town’s citizens, each of them driven to their solitary Mojave Desert outpost by poignant circumstances. Capturing his subjects with empathy and the place’s atmospheric tone with uncanny sensitivity, a compelling portrait emerges of a uniquely American place. “Darwin is a...

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EL SICARIO, ROOM 164

Mon, Feb 20, 2012
at 12:45 PM (Cinema 21)
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EL SICARIO, ROOM 164

DIRECTOR: Gianfranco Rosi, Charles Bowden - UNITED STATES

The lone voice and sole subject of Rosi’s harrowing film is a nameless former Mexican narco hitman (or sicario) who spent 20 years executing male kidnapping victims, raping and strangling helpless women, setting thieves on fire, and otherwise following the bloody orders of whichever esteemed drug cartel he worked for. His face obscured in a claustrophobic Juárez hotel room, he describes his “career” and the rampant corruption of the Mexican political and law enforcement establishments in matter-of-fact tones salted with machismo. All the while, he illustrates his tales with primitive drawings on a notepad and sometimes reenacts the roles of...

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THE EXTRAORDINARY VOYAGE

Fri, Feb 10, 2012
at 8:45 PM (World Trade Center Theater)
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Sun, Feb 12, 2012
at 3 PM (Whitsell Auditorium)
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THE EXTRAORDINARY VOYAGE

DIRECTOR: Serge Bromberg, Eric Lange - FRANCE

The magical Georges Méliès, one of the celebrated heroes of Martin Scorsese’s new movie Hugo, was the creator of one of the most unforgettable images in cinema—the Man in the Moon being poked in the eye by a rocket ship. Now, thanks to one of the most technically sophisticated restorations in film history, the original A Trip to the Moon can thrill audiences once again. This fascinating documentary charts the film’s voyage from production in 1902 to the astonishing rediscovery of a color nitrate print in 2003 and its premiere at Cannes in 2011. (60 mins.)

Presented with the complete hand-painted...

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FIRST POSITION

Thu, Feb 23, 2012
at 6 PM (Cinema 21)
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Fri, Feb 24, 2012
at 3:30 PM (Whitsell Auditorium)
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FIRST POSITION

DIRECTOR: Bess Kargman - UNITED STATES

Just as Spellbound certified that spelling bees are akin to gladiatorial combat, Kargman proves that ballet is not for the faint of heart either. The film follows six ballet students, aged 9-19, as they prepare for the Youth America Grand Prix, a top competition at which the world’s leading dance companies and schools prospect for new talent. Some of the delightful youngsters featured include Michaela DePrince, an orphan from Sierra Leone nurtured by her American mom; Aran Bell, a boy dance wonder from a US military family; and Joan Sebastian Zamora, a Colombian youth with aspirations for a career with...

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GERHARD RICHTER

Sat, Feb 18, 2012
at 3 PM (Whitsell Auditorium)
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Sun, Feb 26, 2012
at 12 PM (Cinema 21)
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GERHARD RICHTER

DIRECTOR: Corinna Belz - GERMANY

“Corinna Belz’s documentary is an unprecedented and oddly dangerous journey into the studios of Gerhard Richter, widely considered to be among the world’s most important living painters. Famously cranky and iconoclastic, Richter is an ideal subject to illuminate the deep fissures in the contemporary art world. His career has been a high-wire balancing act between eye-popping, colorful abstractions—seen in construction throughout much of the film—and enormously famous photorealist portraiture. He has also been an influential essayist on art-making and its place in the world. Though we see the 79-year-old artist talking with his legendary gallerist Marian Goodman, being feted at...

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GRANDMA, A THOUSAND TIMES

Fri, Feb 17, 2012
at 8:45 PM (Whitsell Auditorium)
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Sun, Feb 19, 2012
at 5 PM (Whitsell Auditorium)
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Fri, Feb 24, 2012
at 8:45 PM (World Trade Center Theater)
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GRANDMA, A THOUSAND TIMES

DIRECTOR: Mahmoud Kaabour - LEBANON

Grandma, A Thousand Times is filmmaker Mahmoud Kaabour’s poetic cinematic tribute to his feisty, larger-than-life grandmother. Teta Kaabour is an 83-year-old family matriarch and sharp-witted queen bee of an old Beiruti quarter. In the apartment where she raised six children and 13 grandchildren, she now spends her days smoking Argileh and drinking endless cups of coffee, alone with memories of her beloved violinist husband (who’s been dead for 20 years). Bearing his grandfather’s name as well as his likeness, the filmmaker is clearly his grandmother’s favorite. This affection allows for an intimate portrait comprised of recollections, revelations of closely guarded...

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HOW MUCH DOES YOUR BUILDING WEIGH, MR. FOSTER?

Sat, Feb 18, 2012
at 6 PM (World Trade Center Theater)
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Mon, Feb 20, 2012
at 3 PM (Cinema 21)
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HOW MUCH DOES YOUR BUILDING WEIGH, MR. FOSTER?

DIRECTOR: Carlos Carcas, Norberto López Amado - GREAT BRITAIN

Norman Foster’s vision and passion to improve quality of life through design has not only earned him the nickname the “Mozart of Modernism” but has led to some of the world’s most stunning landmarks, including the Gherkin and Wembley Stadium in London, the Hearst Tower in New York City, the Beijing Airport, France’s Millau Bridge, the Great Court at the British Museum, and an entire university campus for Petronas in Malaysia. This insightful documentary follows Foster’s life from his humble beginnings in Manchester, through his collaborations with R. Buckminster Fuller, to his designs for Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, the...

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THE ISLAND PRESIDENT

Sat, Feb 18, 2012
at 3:15 PM (World Trade Center Theater)
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Fri, Feb 24, 2012
at 6:15 PM (World Trade Center Theater)
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THE ISLAND PRESIDENT

DIRECTOR: Jon Shenk - UNITED STATES

The Maldives—200 tiny inhabited islands and 1,200 coral reefs in the middle of the Indian Ocean—are “the height of the good life, a cross between paradise and paradise,” says Mohamed Nasheed, the country’s president. Nasheed endured years of imprisonment, torture, and exile as a result of combating an often brutal dictatorship, but he now faces a worse evil than dictators: climate change. If sea levels continue rising at present rates, the Maldives will cease to exist. Shenk captures the beauty of the Maldives and Nasheed’s charm and charisma, following Nasheed as he navigates intricate backroom diplomatic battles, trying to forge...

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JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI

Fri, Feb 10, 2012
at 6:15 PM (World Trade Center Theater)
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Sun, Feb 19, 2012
at 12 PM (Cinema 21)
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JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI

DIRECTOR: David Gelb - UNITED STATES

Jiro Dreams of Sushi is the story of 85-year-old Jiro Ono, considered by many to be the world’s greatest sushi chef. He is the proprietor of Sukiyabashi Jiro, a 10-seat, sushi-only restaurant inauspiciously located in a Tokyo subway station. Despite its humble appearances, it is the first restaurant of its kind to be awarded a prestigious three-star Michelin review, and sushi lovers from around the globe make repeated pilgrimage, calling months in advance and shelling out top dollar for a coveted seat at Jiro’s sushi bar. For most of his life, Jiro has been mastering the art of making sushi,...

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JOSÉ Y PILAR

Sat, Feb 11, 2012
at 12:30 PM (World Trade Center Theater)
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Sun, Feb 19, 2012
at 2:15 PM (World Trade Center Theater)
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JOSÉ Y PILAR

DIRECTOR: Miguel Gonçalves Mendes - PORTUGAL

Co-produced by Pedro and Agustín Almodóvar together with Fernando Meirelles, this affectionate portrait of Portugal’s Nobel Prize winner José Saramago reveals the struggle between the very private man and the world-famous artist. A modestly successful writer at home, Saramago became an international literary giant through the prodding of his Spanish wife, Pilar del Rio. José is an unforgettable love story of genuine soul mates: according to Saramago, “I have ideas for novels, and Pilar has ideas for life.” The film captures the media whirlwind that surrounds the Saramagos after the prize, as well as the quiet, tender moments the couple...

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LAST DAYS HERE

Sat, Feb 25, 2012
at 3:30 PM (Cinema 21)
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LAST DAYS HERE

DIRECTOR: Don Argott, Demian Fenton - UNITED STATES

In the basement of his parents’ house in suburban Maryland lives Bobby Liebling, former vocalist with the 1970s cult legends Pentagram. A band once described as the street Black Sabbath, Pentagram’s heavy rock and heavy metal riffs blew audiences’ minds. But something went wrong in their career trajectory and Liebling ended up battling many years of drug addiction. New friend, fan, and manager Sean Pelletier believes he can help Bobby quit his addictions and launch Pentagram once again. A combination of the unexpectedly hilarious, tragic, poignant, and of course rocking, Last Days Here offers a fascinating portrait of the vocalist,...

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PELOTERO

Sun, Feb 19, 2012
at 2:30 PM (Whitsell Auditorium)
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Sat, Feb 25, 2012
at 1:15 PM (Whitsell Auditorium)
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PELOTERO

DIRECTOR: Ross Finkel, Trevor Martin, Jonathan Paley - UNITED STATES

In the build-up to the most important day of their lives, two young Dominican baseball players confront competition and corruption to achieve their Big League dreams. Baseball is a way of life in the Dominican Republic. From the streets to the stadiums, young boys dream of one day emerging from the dugout onto a Big League field. From the time they can walk, kids practice with rolled-up sock balls and broomsticks, waiting for the day they are old enough to sign. That day comes at age 16 when they try out for professional teams. Pelotero follows two of the nation’s...

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PINK RIBBONS, INC.

Wed, Feb 22, 2012
at 8:30 PM (Cinema 21)
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Sat, Feb 25, 2012
at 3:30 PM (Whitsell Auditorium)
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PINK RIBBONS, INC.

DIRECTOR: Léa Pool - CANADA

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women. As one of the scientists interviewed puts it, “The most important risk factor in getting breast cancer is being a woman.” Léa Pool’s eye-opening film pulls the curtain back on the industry surrounding breast cancer awareness and exposes the truth of how little money actually goes toward research while corporations fatten their bottom line. Breast cancer has become the poster child of corporate cause-related marketing campaigns. Countless women and men walk, bike, climb, and shop for the cure. Each year, millions of dollars are raised in the name of...

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SOMEWHERE BETWEEN

Sun, Feb 19, 2012
at 12 PM (World Trade Center Theater)
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Wed, Feb 22, 2012
at 6:15 PM (Cinema 21)
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SOMEWHERE BETWEEN

DIRECTOR: Linda Goldstein Knowlton - UNITED STATES

Somewhere Between tells the intimate stories of four teenaged girls. They live in different parts of the US in different kinds of families, and are united by one thing: all four were adopted from China because all four had birth parents who could not keep them due to personal circumstances colliding with China’s “One Child Policy.” Of the roughly 80,000 girls that have been adopted from China since 1991, these strong young women allow us to grasp what it is like to come of age in today’s America as transracial adoptees. At the same time, we see them as typical...

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THIS IS NOT A FILM

Sat, Feb 18, 2012
at 6 PM (Whitsell Auditorium)
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Sun, Feb 19, 2012
at 8:45 PM (World Trade Center Theater)
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THIS IS NOT A FILM

DIRECTOR: Jafar Panahi - IRAN

“Accused of collusion against the Iranian regime and currently appealing a prison sentence and a ban from filmmaking, Jafar Panahi collaborated with the documentarian Mojtaba Mirtahmasb on a remarkable day-in-the-life chronicle that, as with many great Iranian films, finds a rich middle ground between fiction and reality. Shot with a digital camera and an iPhone, the movie is almost entirely confined to the director’s apartment, where he discusses his films and an unrealized script, while the outside world imposes itself through phone calls, television news, a few comic interruptions, and the sound of New Year’s fireworks. Far more than the...

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TO BE HEARD

Sat, Feb 11, 2012
at 3:30 PM (World Trade Center Theater)
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Mon, Feb 20, 2012
at 2:30 PM (Whitsell Auditorium)
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TO BE HEARD

DIRECTOR: Roland Legiardi-Laura, Deborah Shaffer, Edwin Martinez - UNITED STATES

To Be Heard is a riveting documentary that tells the story of three teens from the Bronx who use spoken word/beat poetry as a catalyst to inspire change in themselves and others. Karina, Pearl, and Anthony are in many ways your average teenagers. They call themselves “The Tripod” and they constantly support one another in their efforts to succeed, find love, and overcome life’s challenges. But they are also unique. The top talents in a poetry workshop called Power Writing, they use the power of the written and spoken word to articulate their deepest experiences. To Be Heard is the...

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UNFINISHED SPACES

Sat, Feb 11, 2012
at 3:30 PM (Whitsell Auditorium)
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Sun, Feb 26, 2012
at 4 PM (Whitsell Auditorium)
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UNFINISHED SPACES

DIRECTOR: Benjamin Murray, Alysa Nahimas - UNITED STATES

In 1961, in the expansive first days of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro asked three visionary architects—Ricardo Porro, Roberto Gottardi, and Vittorio Garatti—to build the Cuban National Arts Schools—one school each for dramatic arts, modern dance, ballet, music, and sculpture—on what had been the golf course of a country club. But before construction was completed, the Revolution took a Soviet turn and suddenly the project was denounced as bourgeois and counterrevolutionary. The story has many more fascinating twists and turns as these radical, magnificent buildings become a prism through which we see the turbulent, ever-shifting history of Castro’s Cuba and...

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WHERE ARE YOU TAKING ME?

Mon, Feb 13, 2012
at 8:45 PM (Whitsell Auditorium)
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Sun, Feb 19, 2012
at 5 PM (World Trade Center Theater)
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WHERE ARE YOU TAKING ME?

DIRECTOR: Kimi Takesue - UGANDA/US

“My work often expresses the process of ‘looking’ cross-culturally and the interplay between the observer and the observed.”—Kimi Takesue. A high society wedding, a movie set, a beauty salon, bustling city streets, a center for former child soldiers, a nightclub full of music and laughter: these are the many images that form Takesue’s vivid portrait of today’s Uganda, a country at work dealing with the aftermath of years of civil war. Whether exploring the pulsating energy of Kampala or contemplating quiet moments in the country, lyrical pacing, disarming sights and sounds, and the unadorned honesty of an outsider’s perspective offer...

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WHORE’S GLORY

Thu, Feb 23, 2012
at 8:15 PM (Cinema 21)
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WHORE’S GLORY

DIRECTOR: Michael Glawogger - AUSTRIA

Glawogger was awarded the Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival for the third part of his observational trilogy—preceded by Megacities and Workingman’s Death—on globalization and its impact on lives around the world. Focusing on the uncertain lives of prostitutes in Thailand, Bangladesh, and Mexico, the jury praised its “stunning visual eloquence and precision,” which produces imagery whose beauty and emotional engagement almost match that of fiction cinema. We see women speaking freely about all aspects of their work, including aging and the role of religion as a form of support, as well as customers who have their say...

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