Tag: UK-truestory

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This bittersweet little documentary about a Parisian newsstand will change the way you look at a kiosk forever: they’ll no longer seem like transitory stops on the way to somewhere, but a destination themselves. Director Alexandra Pianelli, whose family has run this particular newsstand for four generations, shoots from inside the tiny cabin, from where she and her mother dispense newspapers, magazines, directions, and friendly conversation with anyone who stops by.

Anyone who’s seen Agnès Varda’s Daguerréotypes — her fond portrait of the traditional shopkeepers of Rue Daguerre, the street she lived on — will recognize the same warmth and humane curiosity in The Kiosk, which documents a quickly fading way of life and the community that clings to it. As Pianelli movingly shows us, the kiosk is an invaluable fixture in the lives of an assortment of locals: regular customers (particularly elderly ones, who perhaps visit more for the company than the magazines), a big-hearted homeless man, and fellow vendors like Islam, a Bangladeshi asylum-seeker and fruit-seller who uses the kiosk to hide his merchandise so that French police don’t confiscate it. The decline of printed material that the film documents isn’t just a threat to the family business, then, but the very concept of a truly joined-up society itself.

Genre: Documentary

Actor: Aliénor de Nervaux, Damien Fourmeau, Gérard Jacq, Marcel Cierniak, Marie-Laurence Fay

Director: Alexandra Pianelli

Over 100 hours of footage were shot for this documentary chronicling the fraught journey that thousands make to reach the US-Mexico border — but, watching the 93 minutes that made the cut, you get a sense that this is the story that was meant to be told. Editor Sofia Machado whittled down reams of footage into this gently conveyed single account of one woman’s journey. Twenty-nine at the time of filming, Lilian and her four children fled a violent husband and bleak prospects in Guatemala, setting out as part of a migrants’ caravan undertaking the 4000km-long journey separating them from the brighter future they hope is waiting for them in the US.

She meets exploitation, xenophobia, and other perils on the route (not least The Beast, the dangerous freight train she and her kids must hop to reach safety). Remarkably, though, there’s much solidarity and generosity to be found on the way, too, as Lilian and her kids forge moving family-like bonds with fellow migrants. What’s more, as the documentary unfolds, quiet revelations emerge, making it clear that Lilian is also looking for a type of liberation that many on the road already have — a dream that this documentary suggests might blessedly be closer than she originally envisioned.

Genre: Documentary

Director: Danilo Do Carmo, Jakob Krese

A great example of a documentary that covers a marginalized community without imposing the gaze of a detached, "superior" filmmaker, Last Days at Sea chronicles daily life in a Filipino fishing town but remembers to contrast its images of hardship with the care of a community. There are times when the film's director, Venice Atienza, might insert herself into the picture a little too much, but for the most part this movie feels uniquely co-authored by the people it follows on screen. A subtle sadness permeates through every interaction, as memories are brought up of those who used to live here, and as those who remain acknowledge that everyone is fated to leave the warmth and safety of the town at some point—an injustice if ever there was one.

Genre: Documentary

Actor: Cleofe Betonio, Cresente Betonio, Emibie Paño, Florecita Paño, John Russel Rey Paño

Director: Venice Atienza