The films you must watch

CityPress - - Trending - Which of th­ese films do you think should win the Os­car, and why?

Car­tel Land Di­rec­tor: Matthew Heine­man Car­tel Land’s open­ing scene is spine-tin­gling. Against a starry desert sky some­where in Mex­ico, a group of men wear­ing bal­a­clavas are brew­ing metham­phetamine in bar­rels. Chem­i­cal smoke rises into the night as the leader ex­plains how an Amer­i­can father and son vis­ited them, and taught them how to cook the drug.

“We come from poverty. If we were do­ing well, we would be like you. But if we start pay­ing at­ten­tion to our hearts, then we will get screwed over,” he says.

Di­rec­tor Matthew Heine­man cuts to scenes of a thun­der­storm and a rain-splat­tered van loaded with the crys­tal-like drug mak­ing its way to the Mex­ico-US bor­der, a hard-core Span­ish rap track in the back­ground. It’s like Break­ing Bad, ex­cept way more in­tense. Car­tel Land is a har­row­ing look at the Mex­ico-US drug trade, fu­elled by ruth­less car­tels. And when I say har­row­ing, I mean it. Be­tween shots of drug traf­fick­ers and shootouts be­tween civil­ians and gang­sters, you can’t help but won­der how ex­actly they filmed that. This is a re­mark­able achieve­ment. What Hap­pened, Miss Si­mone? Di­rec­tor: Liz Gar­bus Sur­pris­ingly, this is the first full-length doc­u­men­tary made about leg­endary singer and ac­tivist Nina Si­mone. And wow, does it linger in your mind af­ter­wards. ( See full re­view in side­bar.) Amy Di­rec­tor: Asif Ka­pa­dia The Amy Wine­house biopic is an in­ti­mate look at the cost of celebrity, but more than that, it’s an at-times heart­break­ing look at a hu­man be­ing de­stroy­ing her­self. Though quite con­ven­tional in for­mat, Amy is so com­pelling be­cause it pieces to­gether her life us­ing in­ter­views from two of the peo­ple who caused so much of her heartache. Here we see Wine­house’s on-again-off-again part­ner, Blake Shel­don, at his most can­did and most atro­cious, and we meet her father, Mitch Wine­house, who was ab­sent through­out her child­hood and ex­ploited her fame for his own gain dur­ing her adult­hood. Fans will be mes­merised by this can­did col­lec­tion of rare footage as we travel with her from the dawn of her ca­reer to the very bit­ter end.

Joshua Op­pen­heimer Texas-born di­rec­tor Joshua Op­pen­heimer’s The Act of Killing, nom­i­nated for a 2014 Os­car, was lauded for tran­scend­ing the tra­di­tional doc­u­men­tary for­mat. The Look of Si­lence is a com­pan­ion film to that mas­ter­piece. Both ex­am­ine the af­ter­ef­fects of the In­done­sian Geno­cide of 1965/66, which saw be­tween 500 000 and a mil­lion peo­ple killed by a govern­ment purg­ing the coun­try of “com­mu­nist forces”. The per­pe­tra­tors, some of whom in­di­vid­u­ally killed up to a thou­sand peo­ple, are now re­garded as he­roes of the rev­o­lu­tion. In The Look of Si­lence, Adi Rukun, a man whose brother was killed by a group of men who live down the road from him, con­fronts the killers. Rukun is an op­tometrist who gains ac­cess by of­fer­ing the killers a free eye test in their homes. As he checks their vi­sion, he slowly starts ques­tion­ing them about their in­volve­ment in the geno­cide. Each scene brims with the un­bear­able legacy of the coun­try’s vi­cious past, and it is so breath­tak­ing to wit­ness that you feel hum­bled. The fact that per­pe­tra­tor and ac­cuser were will­ing to be filmed is an ode to Op­pen­heimer’s skill as a doc­u­men­tar­ian, and his two films have ap­par­ently opened up new con­ver­sa­tions in In­done­sia. A sub­tly dev­as­tat­ing film. Win­ter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Free­dom Di­rec­tor: Evgeny Afineevsky In 2013, thou­sands of Ukraini­ans gath­ered in Kiev’s In­de­pen­dence Square to protest then pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych’s veto of a de­ci­sion to al­low their coun­try to join the Euro­pean Union. The protest was made up mainly of young Ukraini­ans and stu­dents, and was so peace­ful that some said it looked more like a mu­sic fes­ti­val. With­out provo­ca­tion, mil­i­tary forces were sent in and used tear gas, ba­tons and un­due force to break up the gath­er­ing. This sparked what was to be­come the Ukrainian rev­o­lu­tion, which saw Yanukovych ousted and a new in­terim govern­ment formed in the for­mer Soviet coun­try. Film maker Evgeny Afineevsky un­packs the 93 days of clashes in the streets of Kiev. His on-the-ground ap­proach is like that of a war correspondent and it makes for breath­less, in­ti­mate view­ing. AND THE WIN­NER WILL BE...

Amy will prob­a­bly take the tro­phy, but the most de­serv­ing is The Look of Si­lence. All th­ese doc­u­men­taries are stream­ing on Netflix Catch The Os­cars 2016 live on Mon­day,

Fe­bru­ary 29, at 3.30am on DStv chan­nel 103. The re­peat is on M-Net

(chan­nel 101) at 7.30pm SMS the key­word OS­CAR and your an­swers to 35697. You can also email trend­ing@city­press.co.za. SMSes cost R1.50. Please in­clude your name and prov­ince

WHAT HAP­PENED, MISS SI­MONE?

AMY

WHAT HAP­PENED, MISS SI­MONE?

CAR­TEL LAND

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