REVIEW: Ksiaze i dybuk [The Prince and the Dybbuk] [2018]

“He never spoke about his past” The title says it all: Ksiaze i dybuk [The Prince and the Dybbuk]. Rather than describe two separate entities, however, Elwira Niewiera and Piotr Rosolowski‘s documentary portrays director Michal Waszynski as both and neither. Their investigations lead them to multiple countries as close friends and basic strangers attempt to […]

REVIEW: Die Unsichtbaren [The Invisibles] [2019]

“After a little while you noticed that they were scared” We’re so used to stories of Holocaust survivors talking about what they endured inside the concentration camps that we forget around seven thousand Jewish men and women stayed hidden during World War II. While only about fifteen hundred ultimately walked away to live their lives […]

BERLINALE19 REVIEW: Kameni govornici [The Stone Speakers] [2019]

“We need both spiritual and physical healing” Writer/director Igor Drljaca takes us on a contemplative tour through four towns in Bosnia-Herzegovinia with his documentary Kameni Govornici [The Stone Speakers]. We never hear him speak nor watch any of his subjects respond. All we hear are their disembodied words atop static portraits of them standing against […]

BERLINALE19 REVIEW: Ringside [2019]

“You can hit people and you can’t get in trouble” Boxing became the way two fathers in Chicago could keep their sons off the streets. Kenneth Sims Sr. was a brawler back in the day before turning his passion into a career as a coach. Destyne Butler Sr. was a pugilist aficionado who succumbed to […]

REVIEW: Period. End of Sentence. [2018]

“This is something only God knows” The patriarchy in India is real. I went there a few years ago for a week with a friend of mine—a trip she organized and therefore had all our local reservations under her name. Regardless of whether they knew hers was a woman’s name or not, you can’t diminish […]

REVIEW: Black Sheep [2018]

“That could have been one of you guys” You hear it often: “Just fit in.” Parents say it to their children while friends wield peer pressure for similar goals. But those sentiments move beyond words when it comes to a world so ingrained with racism that some are deluded enough to believe it doesn’t exist. […]

REVIEW: End Game [2018]

“I feel better more than I feel bad” Two-time Oscar winner Rob Epstein and directing partner Jeffrey Friedman‘s short End Game bills itself as an intimate document of medical practitioners on the cutting edge of palliative care. Despite my believing the doctors onscreen are exactly that via trust, the film as presented doesn’t do this […]

REVIEW: A Night at the Garden [2017]

“You all have heard of me” On February 20, 1939, Fritz Kuhn—a naturalized American citizen of German heritage who would later be deported—held a pro-Nazi rally at Madison Square Garden under the auspices of “pro-America” sentiments for Gentile-Americans looking to escape the Jewish-led media and Jewish Moscow-directed domination of labor unions. Twenty thousand white men […]

REVIEW: Lifeboat [2018]

“The heart is where your real thinking comes” Director Skye Fitzgerald‘s Lifeboat is the latest “human face” documentary to get an Oscar nomination. What might set it apart from others—for better or worse—is that it seeks to highlight the face of the man doing the saving as a beacon of hope more than the victims […]

REVIEW: ’63 Boycott [2018]

“Because today is Freedom Day” One of Kartemquin Films founders (a Chicago-based production studio of documentary films that’s found itself in the Oscar conversation once again with the feature Minding the Gap and this short) was at the school boycott coined “Freedom Day” in 1963 filming the march as a twenty one year old, three […]

REVIEW: Komunia [Communion] [2016]

“I’m not the air” While learning about what to share with the priest during his first confession, young Nikodem is told that stuffing his face with food is a sin known as gluttony. The autistic boy giggles and jokes that he believes gluttony to be a virtue instead—one to replace love since it being prone […]