2020-09-13T00:15:41+00:00Categories: Docs in Review|

Suspension Director/ Simón Uribe Watched on Vimeo Rating 2.5/5   Suspension is a road movie about an actual road, the notorious “Springboard of Death” in the Columbian Amazon. It’s a long and perpetually winding one-lane asphalt and dirt track connecting a midsize town to villages in the jungle mountains, and it is prone to landslides, accidents, and gridlock. Despite its size and length, delivery trucks, buses and passenger cars depend on it day in and day out. The road has been around since 1944, and it seems like the government has been talking about replacing it for just as long. A few years ago, crews began work on a sleek new modern highway, advertising it with a high-tech computer model that townspeople could watch as if contemplating a dream. It’s a dream that apparently will never be fulfilled. It’s difficult to understand what exactly tempted director Simón Uribe to make a documentary about this out-of-the-way engineering project. He spends some time with the folks who live in the area, all of whom lament that they’ll never see the road completed in their lifetime, and none of whom make much of an impression. There is a short sequence of a modern expanse being built across a gorge, which gives us an idea of the scope and difficulty of the project. But when a rainstorm sends the construction crew under cover, it also seems to signal the end of the road-building when the funding runs out. The half-finished bridge then becomes a sightseeing destination and a playground for [...]

The Fight

2020-09-07T14:29:53+00:00Categories: Docs in Review|

The Fight Directors/ Elyse Steinberg, Josh Kriegman, Eli B. Despres Watched on Amazon Rating 4.5/5    The Fight is a greatest hits mix tape of President Donald Trump’s assault on the United States Constitution. It is also a stirring portrait of the American Civil Liberties Union which, despite their protests to the contrary, is probably the only organization standing between Trump and tyranny. The ACLU lawyers profiled in the film are tireless defenders of our civil rights, but they will be the first to say that they will not save us from dictatorship, that they are merely working the justice system to protect and defend our right to organize, protest, engage, and vote. Yet, at this perilous moment–September 2020–in Trump’s four-years’ long slaughter of democratic norms, The Fight assures us that the ACLU is in democracy’s corner. The Fight is a ceaselessly stirring, inspiring, gritty, and enraging account of five key cases during Trump’s reign of terror. Let’s capitalize them for maximum effect: The Muslim Ban, the Separation of Children at the Border, the Census Citizenship Question, the Military Transgender Ban, and the complicated case of Denying Abortion Rights to an Undocumented Immigrant. That’s quite a list, and a viewer may avoid the film thinking it is nothing more than a montage of tedious courtroom melodramas. It is anything but. A trio of directors, Elyse Steinberg, Josh Kriegman, Eli B. Despres, a platoon of camerapeople, a squad of editors, and even an animator, deftly avoid wonky and arcane legal theories in favor of a humanizing and intimate focus on the [...]

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