Human Rights Watch

The Corporation, 2003

Appropriately presented with the sterile impersonality of a canned, droning informational video business presentation, Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott’s The Corporation is a wry and acerbic sprawling meditation on the psychology of a corporation as a human entity (as defined by the judicial system with respect to legal rights and responsibilities). Citing examples of blatant… read more »

Manufactured Landscapes, 2005

During the Q&A for Manufactured Landscapes, filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal indicated that the idea for the film came from photographer Edward Burtynsky’s comment that for every building that rises from the ground, there is a corresponding hole somewhere else where the raw materials have been mined for the construction. This idea of an overarching, interconnected, shifting… read more »

Wall, 2004

Favorably recalling the rigorous imagery, desolation, and despiritualized landscapes of Chantal Akerman (most notably, in the opening sequences of the U.S.-Mexican border wall and off-camera interviews of From the Other Side), Wall is an evocatively shot, visually understated, and meditatively paced exposition on the social, political, economic, and psychological repercussions of the Israeli government’s long-term… read more »

Sari Soldiers, 2008

The national unrest and confusion following the massacre of King Birendra and the Nepalese royal family by his son, Crown Prince Dipendra in 2001, and the subsequent dissolution of parliament by the ascended king, Gyanendra in response to an escalating Maoist insurgency, set the tone for Julie Bridgham’s compelling and incisive portrait of a broad… read more »

Born into Brothels, 2003

In 1998, photojournalist Zana Briski came to Calcutta’s red light district to live in the subhuman conditions of a typical area boarding house among the prostitutes in order to chronicle their existence and soon became drawn into the world of their children who, because of their parents’ involvement in the sex trade, are denied acceptance… read more »

Seoul Train, 2005

A smuggled video footage of a communal market in North Korea provides a profoundly sobering context to the grave, protracted, man-made humanitarian crisis caused by the government’s systematic diversion of international food aid to party loyalists at the expense of ordinary citizens (often from the rural provinces) as children scour the mud for occasional morsels… read more »

Deadline, 2003

Another highlight in what has proven to be an especially strong line-up for domestic-related human rights issues, Deadline follows the last weeks of outgoing Illinois governor George Ryan, a conservative Republican who had been closely following the cases uncovered by Northwestern University journalism students whose term project had led to the exoneration of 13 death… read more »

The Boys of Baraka, 2005

On a typical summer night in inner city Baltimore, a children’s game of cops and robbers shootout plays against the morbid backdrop – undoubtedly in familiar imitation – of a real-life police arrest of a teenager on a neighborhood street. A single statistic posted on black screen provides a sobering context to the children’s “art… read more »

Black Gold, 2006

A bold, impassioned, no-holds-barred look at the profoundly deleterious effects of artificial price setting by commodities trading in western financial markets (most notably New York and London) and the inherent inequity of the World Trade Organization’s policies on the livelihood of impoverished farmers in developing countries, Black Gold traces the lucrative coffee trail to its… read more »

Camden 28, 2006

A penetrating, affirming, and bracing examination of what the late Supreme Court Justice William Brennan would deem as “one of the great trials of the twentieth century”, filmmaker Anthony Giacchino’s Camden 28 broaches on similar issues of Bernadine Mellis’ The Forest for the Trees in the government – and specifically, the FBI’s – systematic abuse… read more »