Monday, 4 May 2009

DocAviv 2009

...the Tel Aviv International Documentary Film Festival, starting this Thursday and running until the 16th of May.

A few (anticipated) highlights:

New York 1977: The Coolest Year in Hell.
A city seemingly on the verge of economic and social collapse, but a fertile breeding ground for the rise of disco, punk and hip hop.
..In 1977 New York City seemed to be on the verge of an economic and social collapse – nearly broke, plagued by violence and decay, terrorized by a serial killer. But in lofts, parks and dive bars, a new generation was exploring new styles and creating new sounds that would reshape popular culture everywhere. It was the year of Studio 54 and CBGB, b-boys and Talking Heads...

Say My Name.
In a hip hop and R’n’B world dominated by men and noted for misogyny, the unstoppable female lyricists of Say My Name speak candidly about class, race, and gender in pursuing their passions as female MCs. This worldwide documentary takes viewers on vibrant tour of urban culture and musical movement: from hip hop’s birthplace in the Bronx, to grime on London’s Eastside...

"I think the most beautiful music comes from pain..."

Pete Seeger: Power of Song
At 88 (he actually turned 90 yesterday) in his home on the Hudson, Pete Seeger, the idealist and peaceful warrior who aroused many around the world through his songs and political struggle, remains as modest as ever. In the 1950s he was the victim of exclusion and persecution for his pro-communist stance, and for 17 years he was blacklisted by the US commercial television networks, but stood fast by his views, continuing to preach about them and spread his message: peace, social justice and hope, by way of the tremendous power of the melody and the words...

Forgetting Dad
When father, Richard Minnich, suddenly and completely loses his memory after a harmless road accident at age 46 – his family of five children is destroyed. A body without a soul is in their midst, and doesn’t really make any attempt to find his former self. When his eldest son, the director, tries to find out what really happened to him, he gets all his immediate family and his father's co-workers to talk, and discovers to his surprise that the amnesia might not be an illness. If so, what about the psychological damage of those for whom Richard was dear? Does he remain the father when he isn't a father?

Long Distance
On the street corners of south Tel Aviv, stand, forgotten, public telephones, a reminder of the pre-cellular days. Every weekend, the phones come to life as migrant workers gather around them, taking advantage of the weekly day off to phone home...


A 'blue and white' Troubadour, an anarchistic poet whose life was intertwined with the history of the state. Yebi despised materialism and focused on the love of fellow man and country, and all out war on injustice. In a thunderous voice he shook all those around him who wanted, or didn’t want, to listen to his cries...

At The Death House Door
The difficulty of being with someone about to be executed, in their last hours, made the Reverend Carroll Pickett secretly record on tape, his feelings and his conversations with the condemned. He accompanied 95 prisoners to their death, and in a slow process full of misgivings, he changed his mind, and became opposed to the death penalty. The dramatic change came about after the execution of a prisoner who Pickett believed was innocent; twenty years later, two journalists from the "Chicago Tribune" proved he was...

...but there's something for everyone, not just superannuated ex-lefties and incurable optimists like me. Full programme here.

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