Famous international documentary filmmakers take us on a journey from Pyongyang to New York, to Armenia, Ethiopia and Ireland.
This year’s official programme section Masters of Dox features new titles by famous international documentary filmmakers: Oscar winner Alex Gibney, a double Emmy winner Joe Berlinger, a winner of the honorary Golden Bear Claude Lanzmann, a master of essay documentaries Erik Gandini and renowned director Frederick Wiseman. The topics span from Pyongyang to New York, to Armenia, Ethiopia and Ireland, and unravel the history of North Korea, the importance of New York City Library, the atrocities of genocide in Armenia, the problems a Swedish surgeon encounters in Ethiopia, and what exactly happened in Ireland in the infamous year of 1994. The 14th ZagrebDox takes place from 25 February to 4 March at Kaptol Boutique Cinema in Zagreb, and from 2 to 4 March at CineStar in Osijek and Rijeka and CineStar Joker Split.
The Oscar-winning American director (Taxi to the Dark Side) Alex Gibney has directed a story about the unsolved mystery of a brutal mass homicide in Northern Ireland. The film No Stone Unturned (TRAILER) speaks about 1994, the year when Ireland beat Italy in the first round of the World Cup, but the euphoria came to a stop over a terrible tragedy: a massacre at a local pub with six fatalities. The documentary explores what happens when the government hushes the truth. Gibney’s multi award-winning work (Oscar, Emmy, Grammy) has been kept track of by ZagrebDox, so far screening several of his films (The Armstrong Lie, Zero Days, Casino Jack and the United States of Money, Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream etc.).
This year ZagrebDox for the first time presents a film by the great French director Claude Lanzmann. In his impressive biography it is hard to miss the fact that he was a friend of Jean-Paul Sartre’s and Simone de Beauvoir’s and that he joined the French Resistance as a teenager. He skyrocketed as an outstanding documentary filmmaker in 1985 with his iconic film Shoah, a nine-hour masterpiece about the horrors of the Holocaust. He received the French National Order of the Legion of Honour and a lifetime achievement honorary Golden Bear at Berlinale. The Masters of Dox will be screening his latest film Napalm (TRAILER), Lanzmann’s personal story about the unusual love he experienced briefly in 1958 in Pyongyang with Kim Kum-Sun, a Korean Red Cross nurse. They never saw each other again, but the memory hasn’t faded. He returned to North Korea in 2015 under the pretext of making a film on taekwondo, while in fact he retold the past, both his own and the one of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
With an Oscar nomination, two Emmys, a Sundance Audience Award and many other honours, in the past two decades Joe Berlinger has made a name for himself as one of the leading American documentary filmmakers. His most famous film trilogy Paradise Lost about the court process against three minors for atrocious ritual murders has been screened at all the important film festivals and won many prestigious awards. Thanks to Berlinger, after almost 20 years of served sentence for the crimes they didn’t commit, the three men were finally acquitted. In his latest film Intent to Destroy (TRAILER) he gathers historians, scholars and outstanding filmmakers in a discussion about Turkish genocide over Armenian people. The starting point was the film The Promise by Terry George, starring Christian Bale, Oscar Isaac and Charlotte Le Bon, a fictional rendition of the Armenian genocide.
In 2016 ZagrebDox hosted the renowned, multi award-winning Swedish director Erik Gandini and presented his films in a retrospective line-up (Sacrificio: Who Betrayed Che Guevara?, Surplus: Terrorized into Being Consumers, Videocracy and The Swedish Theory of Love). Gandini had a masterclass on essay documentary and this year the Masters of Dox section is showing his latest film The Rebel Surgeon (TRAILER), about a worthwhile decision of a Swedish surgeon who, tired of Swedish bureaucracy, goes to work in Ethiopia, to a hospital with limited resources and without suitable equipment. He saves lives with the help of improvised devices: cheap drills, plastic ribbons, bicycle wires and fishing hooks.
The opus of Frederick Wiseman contains almost 50 feature fiction and documentary films, the most prominent being The Last Letter, Titicut Follies, High School, Law & Order, Zoo, Public Housing and Boxing Gym, screened at ZagrebDox in 2011. Numerous awards have honoured his work, especially the lifetime achievement award he received at the Chicago International Documentary Film festival. His primary concern is research into American institutions, so this time he directs his focus on libraries. Ex Libris – The New York Public Library (TRAILER) has already won many prestigious awards, and the film was also long-listed for this year’s Oscars. Wiseman portrays the NYC library as a most democratic American institution, a place of welcome and cultural exchange for all the citizens of this cosmopolitan megalopolis.
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