Meet some of life’s most colorful characters in these true stories.
What Happened to This City?
Directed by Deepa Dhanraj • 1986 • India
This pioneering work takes communal violence between Hindus and Muslims in 1984 as its starting point, gaining immense political force through its complexity. The film’s historical perspective is provided by a thorough commentary, illuminating the ways in...
Directed by Yugantar • 1982 • India
In the spirit of mobilizing for the leftist labor and women’s movements, the Yugantar collective spent four months with female tobacco factory workers in Nipani, Karnataka, listening to their accounts of exploitative working conditions, discussing strategies f...
Directed by Eva Vitija • 2022 • Germany, Switzerland
Starring Gwendoline Christie, Annina Butterworth, Marijane Meaker
The life and work of celebrated American writer Patricia Highsmith are revealed through her diaries and notebooks and the intimate reflections of her lovers, friends, and family...
Something Like a War
Directed by Deepa Dhanraj • 1991 • India
SOMETHING LIKE A WAR is a chilling examination of India’s family-planning program from the point of view of the women who are its primary targets. It traces the history of the family-planning program and exposes the cynicism, corruption, and brutality of ...
Directed by Deepa Dhanraj • 2011 • India
In Southern India, many family disputes are settled by Jamaats—all-male bodies that apply Islamic Sharia law to cases without allowing women to be present, even to defend themselves. Recognizing this fundamental inequity, a group of women in 2004 establis...
Love in the Time of AIDS
Directed by Deepa Dhanraj • 2006 • India
LOVE IN THE TIME OF AIDS follows a group of kothis (gay men who identify as femme) in Belgaum, a small city in Karnataka, and traces their stories of love, desire, and ostracization, as well as their work with an NGO that promotes safe-sex practices.
Directed by Yugantar • 1981 • India
This portrait of female solidarity in action exposes the oppressive working conditions of hundreds of maidservants in Pune, India, and reveals how the women came together to form an organization to fight for their rights.
So Late So Soon
Directed by Daniel Hymanson • 2020 • United States
Starring Jackie Seiden, Don Seiden
Half a century into their marriage, Chicago artists Jackie and Don Seiden approach the fragility of old age in their own distinct ways. Jackie, notorious for her unbounded energy, is constantly on the move, ins...
Mother, I Am Suffocating. This Is My Last Film About You.
Directed by Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese • 2019 • Germany, Lesotho
Part poetic essay, part documentary, this rapturous film by director Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese (THIS IS NOT A BURIAL, IT’S A RESURRECTION) analyzes the complexities of his relationship to his native country of Lesotho from his new hom...
Is This Just a Story?
Directed by Yugantar • 1983 • India
The Yugantar Film Collective’s most successful and widely seen film sheds light on the issue of domestic violence in Indian society. Created in collaboration with the feminist activist collective Stree Shakhti Sanghatana, this short, improvised narrative film ...
Directed by Yugantar • 1983 • India
SUDESHA tells the story of a woman who is a village activist in the Chipko Forest Conservation Movement in the foothills of the Himalayas. In this area, people depend entirely on the forest for their daily needs of firewood, food, and water. But the forests ha...
Directed by Cinda Firestone • 1974 • United States
In 1971, after their peaceful protest failed, over a thousand inmates at New York’s Attica Correctional Facility took guards and staff hostage and seized control of the prison yard—a four-day uprising against inhumane living conditions that woul...
The Day After Trinity
Directed by Jon Else • 1981 • United States
Starring Paul Frees, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Hans Bethe
This essential, Academy Award–nominated documentary offers an urgent warning from history about the dangers of nuclear warfare via the story of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the enigmatic physicist and al...
The Reagan Show
Directed by Pacho Velez and Sierra Pettengill • 2017 • United States
Starring Ronald Reagan, Nancy Reagan, Barbara Walters
Composed entirely of archival footage, The Reagan Show is an ingenious work of media analysis about the original performer-president’s role of a lifetime. Teasing apart the ...
The Village Detective: A Song Cycle
Directed by Bill Morrison • 2021 • United States
Starring Gísli Fannar Gylfason, Erlendur Sveinsson, Peter Bagrov
During the summer of 2016, a fishing boat off the shores of Iceland made a most curious catch: four reels of 35 mm film, seemingly of Soviet provenance. Unlike the film find explored...
The American Sector
Directed by Courtney Stephens and Pacho Velez • 2020 • United States
For eighteen months, Courtney Stephens and Pacho Velez traveled the U.S. to document sections of the Berlin Wall that are on display in over seventy-five locations, ranging from the serious (Fort Benning) to the bizarre (Main S...
Directed by Barbara Kopple, Cathy Caplan, Thomas Haneke, Lawrence Silk • 1990 • United States
Fourteen years after her watershed documentary HARLAN COUNTY, USA, cinema-verité pioneer Barbara Kopple returned to the subject of union organizing in this eye-opening look at class struggle and solidar...
Directed by Abbas Kiarostami • 2001 • Iran
Starring Abbas Kiarostami, Seifollah Samadian
In 2000, Abbas Kiarostami traveled to Africa at the request of the United Nations to document a humanitarian crisis unfolding in Uganda, where 1.5 million children had been orphaned by civil war and AIDS. Wo...
Directed by Adam Khalil and Zack Khalil • 2016 • Canada, United States
INAAT/SE/ reimagines an ancient Ojibway story, the Seven Fires Prophecy, which both predates and predicts first contact with Europeans. A kaleidoscopic experience blending documentary, narrative, and experimental forms, INAAT...
Directed by Leigh Ledare • 2017 • United States
Twenty-eight strangers shuffle into a nondescript room, where they sit down for day three of a radical social experiment orchestrated by taboo-breaking artist Leigh Ledare. Veering between brutal honesty, righteous indignation, manipulative cagines...
Directed by Shivendra Singh Dungarpur • 2012 • India
Starring P. K. Nair, Krzysztof Zanussi, Lester James Peries
An engaging, heartfelt look at one man’s battle to preserve his nation’s cinematic heritage, CELLULOID MAN is an intimate portrait of legendary Indian archivist P. K. Nair, who founde...
Directed by Jeff Malmberg and Chris Shellen • 2017 • United States
Once upon a time, villagers in a small town in Tuscany came up with a remarkable way to confront their issues: they turned their lives into a play. Every summer, their piazza became a stage and residents of all ages played a part...
Directed by Naziha Arebi • 2018 • Libya, United Kingdom
An inspiring love letter to sisterhood and the power of sports, this courageous, gorgeously shot documentary from Naziha Arebi follows three women as they attempt to establish the first female soccer team in postrevolution Libya—a dream met...
Here the Seats Are Vacant
Directed by Shiva Sanjari • 2016 • Iran
The lives of Iranian women working in film changed drastically after the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Shahrzad was sold by her father when she was only twelve years old, and was forced to dance in a cabaret in Tehran. Years passed and she became a famous ac...