View From the World

July 8, 2019

This year’s selection of View from the World unfolds 15 films that echo up-to-date worldwide stories that investigate perplexed characters as well as capture their intertwined realities and intimate worlds.

Filmed over three years and conceived as a cinematic ode to Afghan civilians, ANGELS ARE MADE OF LIGHT traces the lives of young students and their teachers at a school in the old city of Kabul. The director James Longley interweaves the modern history of Afghanistan with a present-day portrait of a working-class neighborhood by offering an intimate and nuanced vision through the viewpoints of many characters.

In MIDNIGHT FAMILY, the director Luke Lorentzen wanders around the Mexico City’s wealthiest neighborhoods, where the Ochoa family runs a private ambulance, competing with other for-profit EMTs for patients in need of urgent help. As the Ochoas try to make a living in this fraught industry, they struggle to keep their dire finances from compromising the people in their care.

Beniamino Barrese’s THE DISAPPEARANCE OF MY MOTHER follows the life of Benedetta, known as an iconic fashion model in the 60s, the muse of Warhol, Dali, Penn and Avedon and also as an activist of women’ rights. But at the age of 75, she becomes fed up with all the roles that life has imposed upon her and decides to leave everything and everybody behind. Her son Beniamino witnesses her journey and wants to make a film about her which turns into a battle between mother and son.

Director Thomas Heise picks up the biographical pieces of a family torn apart through the end of the 19th and into the 20th century. HEIMAT IS A SPACE IN TIME is about people who by chance found each other, only then to lose each other. Now it is their descendants, their children, and grandchildren who are beginning to disappear.

Iván Osnovikoff and Bettina Perut’s film unfolds in Los Reyes, the oldest skatepark in Santiago and it brings together teenagers from very different social and cultural backgrounds. The human world appears in stories of adolescents in transit to adulthood. In LOS REYES, we listen to their voices and see fragments of their bodies as part of the environment that surrounds the world of dogs.

Vitaly Mansky’s PUTIN’S WITNESSES is based on unique and strictly documentary testimonies of the true causes and consequences of the operation “Successor”, as a result of which Russia ended up with the President who still rules the country. The protagonists of the film are Mikhail Gorbachev, Boris Yeltsin, Vladimir Putin, and the Russian nation, as always being a silent witness of its own destiny.

From award-winning documentary filmmaker E. Chai Vasarhelyi and world-renowned photographer and mountaineer Jimmy Chin, comes FREE SOLO, a stunning, intimate and unflinching portrait of free soloist climber Alex Honnold, as he prepares to achieve his lifelong dream: climbing the face of the world’s most famous rock … the 3,200-foot El Capitan in Yosemite National Park … without a rope.

Suhaib Gasmelbari’s TALKING ABOUT TREES explores the friendship of Ibrahim, Suleiman, Manar, and Altayeb who have been friends for over 45 years. They left their motherland in the 1960s and 1970s to study film abroad and founded the Sudanese Film Group in 1989. After years of distance and exile, they are reunited, hoping to finally make their old dream come true; to bring cinema to Sudan.

How do you break centuries of tradition from within a religion? This is the question that accompanies Marie Skovgaard’s THE REFORMIST – A FEMALE IMAM as she follows Sherin who is opening one of Europe’s first mosques run by female imams. The members of the Mosque aim to confront and challenge the fear surrounding Islam and call for a new kind of it including a feminist agenda.

Director’s Roberto Minervini’s WHAT YOU GONNA DO WHEN THE WORLD’S ON FIRE happens in the summer of 2017 where a string of brutal police killings of young African American men sent shockwaves throughout the country. A Black community in the American South tries to cope with the lingering effects of the past and navigate their place in a country that is not on their side. Meanwhile, the Black Panthers prepare a large-scale protest against police brutality.

A MOON FOR MY FATHER charts a deepening artistic and personal relationship exploring the nature of skin, family, death, water, desire and, throughout, a powerful will to form. Akbari looks into the connection between her body and the political history of Iran, investigating the relationship between her own physical traumas and the collective political memory of her birthplace.

Werner Herzog and André Singer’s riveting documentary MEETING GORBACHEV, filled with unforgettable archive materials and based on three long interviews provides incredible access to, arguably, the world’s greatest living politician. Herzog, as an on-screen interviewer, does not disguise his affection, celebrating Gorbachev’s three remarkable accomplishments: negotiations with the U.S. to reduce nuclear weapons; cessation of Soviet control of Eastern Europe and the reunification of Germany; and the dissolution of the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc.

Eva – 25, drifter, Berliner, poet, pet-owner, sex worker, Virgo, recovering addict, housewife, feminist, model – declared privacy an outdated concept at the age of 14. This is the tale of a young woman growing up in the age of the internet, turning the search for oneself into a public spectacle, challenging you on what a woman „should be“. In Pia Hellenthal’s SEARCHING EVA you see the emergence of a generation, in which the concept of a fixed identity has grown old. A portrait of modern existence.

DIEGO MARADONA is an unforgettable story of God-given talent, glory, despair, and betrayal is the third film from Asif Kapadia, the Oscar-winning director of Amy and Senna, and is constructed from over 500 hours of never-before-seen footage from Maradona’s personal archive, used with the legend’s full support.

PUSH sheds light on a new kind of faceless landlord, our increasingly unliveable cities and an escalating crisis that has an effect on us all. This is not gentrification, it’s a different kind of monster. The director Fredrik Gertten follows Leilani Farha, the UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, as she’s traveling the globe, trying to understand who’s being pushed out of the city and why. “I believe there’s a huge difference between housing as a commodity and gold as a commodity. Gold is not a human right, housing is,” says Leilani.