Documentaries

The Act of Killing (2012), Indonesia
It is not hyperbole to call The Act of Killing an epochal film. Directed by Joshua Oppenheimer, an American based in Denmark, the documentary brings viewers into the minds of mass murderers, illuminates a horrific piece of recent history that few know anything about, and could end up ushering in a new era in Indonesian politics and identity. There has probably never been a film that bears even the slightest resemblance to The Act of Killing and it is highly improbable we will ever see anything like it again.

See the trailer here:

Read the Imdb review here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2375605/

Camp 14 – Total Control Zone (2012), North Korea
Camp 14 recounts the dramatic life of Shin Dong-hyuk, a political prisoner born in a North Korean re-education camp, who managed to escape when he was 23. Shin Dong-hyuk recalls stories of forced labour, hunger, beatings and torture, which are supported by the testimonies of a former Commander of the Guards at Camp 22 and an ex-secret policeman. Strong revelations about North Korea’s political prison camp are uncovered. Through the use of interviews and animated sequences, the film portrays a world where violence and repression are performed with impunity by the State’s forces.

The brutal conditions in which prisoners are kept and treated in political prison camps are an important dimension of a broader discussion about human rights violations in the context of armed conflicts. Camp 14 is a perfect illustration of the problems that situations of political repression and violence pose to the protection of human rights.

See the trailer here:

Read the Imdb review here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2149190/

Workingman’s Death (2005), Indonesia, Pakistan and China
A beautiful documentary by Austrian director Michael Glawogger depicting the precarious and dangerous working conditions in five different countries: Indonesia; Ukraine; Nigeria; Pakistan and China. It covers five different occupations: coal miners; sulphur extractors; butchers at a slaughter market; scrap metal merchants and steel workers. The Working Man does not exist in Glawogger’s masterpiece; he has been replaced by a manual labourer, whose work does not dignify him, rather it deprives him of dignity and often even life. The documentary emphasises the breach between developed and third world countries, whose natural resources are being exploited as well as the workforce.

See the trailer here:

Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields (2011), Sri Lanka
The award winning Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields was broadcast by Channel 4 in June 2011. This documentary featured amateur video from the conflict zone filmed by civilians and Sri Lankan soldiers which depicted “horrific war crimes”. The video filmed by civilians included harrowing scenes during and after intense shelling of civilian targets, including hospitals, by the Sri Lankan military. The “trophy video” filmed by Sri Lankan soldiers showed disturbing scenes of blindfolded victims being executed and dead bodies of naked women being dragged onto trucks by soldiers as they made lewd remarks about the victims. The documentary also included interviews with civilians who managed to survive the conflict, United Nations staff based in Sri Lanka during the conflict, human rights organisations and an international law expert. The documentary was made by ITN Productions and presented by Jon Snow, the main anchor on Channel 4 News.

See the trailer here: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/sri-lankas-killing-fields

Blue Gold: World Water Wars (2008)
Water is the source of human survival. Yet water has become a commodity: corporate giants force developing countries to privatise their water supply for profit and corrupt governments exploit water for political gain – at the cost of their own homes.

Blue Gold follows worldwide examples of people fighting for their basic right to water, from court cases and UN Conventions to violent revolutions. Across the globe people are standing up and demanding their right to water.

For more information: http://www.bluegold-worldwaterwars.com/
To see full length film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1a3tjqQiBI

Bomb Harvest (2007), Laos

Laos is the most bombed country, per capita, in history. During the Vietnam War, 260 million American bombs rained down upon the country. Many still remain, unexploded and lethal. Bomb Harvest follows bomb disposal specialist Laith Stevens as he trains a team to dispose of a live bomb found unexploded beneath a rural school. The situation is only worsened by Laos’ poverty, which has triggered a deadly illegal market for bomb metal – with children the primary bomb scavengers. This vivid portrayal of the aftermath of war presents the difficulties of enjoying human rights in a post-conflict society, where life is often gambled away over a scrap of metal.

See the trailer here:

Burma VJ (2008), Burma/Myanmar
When Buddhist monks lead a massive but peaceful uprising against the Burmese military regime in late 2007, courageous young citizens armed with small handycams document the human rights abuses around them during the regime’s crackdown. Though risking torture and a life in jail, the video journalists (VJs) smuggle their tapes out of the country to foreign news agencies. Via satellite, the images are broadcast back to Burma. It is the VJs’ footage that makes the international community a witness of ongoing human rights violations and keeps the revolution alive on TV screens all over the world.

See the trailer here:

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry (2012), China
Ai Weiwei is an artist, activist and one of the most outspoken critics of China. Against a backdrop of strict censorship and an unresponsive legal system, Ai expresses himself and organizes people through art and social media. In response, Chinese authorities have shut down his blog, beat him up, bulldozed his newly built studio, and held him in secret detention. The film is the inside story of a dissident for the digital age who inspires global audiences and blurs the boundaries of art and politics. First-time director Alison Klayman gained unprecedented access to Ai while working as a journalist in China. Her detailed portrait provides a nuanced exploration of contemporary China and one of its most compelling public figures.

Please see the trailer here: http://aiweiweineversorry.com

Courage Unfolds (2011), Asia
The film highlights the issues faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Asia as a way to make the Yogyakarta Principles accessible in layman’s terms. This set of 29 international legal principles – articulated in 2006 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia by a group of experts from around the world – addresses the application of international law to human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The video shows how the Yogyakarta principles are a relevant and effective tool that LGBT activists can use in their advocacy for human rights.

See the trailer here:

The 10 Conditions of Love (2009), China/ Uyghur
The film is about a love story – of a woman, a man, a family, a people and a homeland. It is the story of Rebiya Kadeer, activist for the Uyghur community in China. To her people she is a leader; to China she is a terrorist.

See the trailer here:

For more information: http://www.10conditionsoflove.com/about.html

Read the Imdb review here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1512237/