The most hard-hitting documentaries on current affairs and human rights
curated by CineAgenzia
in conjunction with Médecins Sans Frontières
Internazionale has chosen the Palazzo delle Esposizioni again this year to present a fascinating new selection of current affairs documentaries selected throughout the world for the journalism fest in Ferrara and which will subsequently be visiting numerous other cities in Italy besides Rome. Of all the characters in the documentaries in this year's programme, perhaps only the Evangelical missionaries in Africa in God Loves Uganda make it through the whole film without once being assailed by doubt, in their case that their fundamentalist and homphobic propaganda in such a fragile country may be doing more harm than good. Apart from that, all the other films in the programme address, in different ways and different contexts, a typical experience of our age which is when people stop believing (too much) in something or in someone. For instance, in the leaders of a regime such as that of North Korea, from whom the illegal immigrants in The Defector are fleeing; or in the financial advisers whom the population of the charming town of Vik in Norway have entrusted with their taxes and their savings, trying in When Bubbles Burst to figure out what has happened to them. The Haitians who survived the devastating earthquake in 2010 are sick and tired of the unkept promises on the part of international agencies and NGOs given that, as Fatal Assistance reveals, the entire system of humanitarian aid needs to be overhauled; and we would be well advised, as Edward Snowden's disclosures have confirmed, to wonder whether all of those on-line services, apps and websites really are free after all... or whether they cost us our privacy, as we should read in the small print at which Terms and Conditions May Apply finally takes an in-depth look. The lead character in Marta's Suitcase has had to stop believing in the person she loved because it was precisely her husband that brought her to within an inch of her life and who still terrorises her in this dramatic, exemplary and extremely topical case of gender violence. But just as it is for Marta, who is struggling to start living again and to be able to feel safe when she steps outside her home, the important thing is that there should come a time to take stock of what certain experiences teach us. And just as we can react to natural and economic disasters, to the dogmas of a faith or a technology, to the tragedies of history or in our private lives, so we can also react to social injustice: in Fire in the Blood we see a random group of brave activists reacting to the global control of patents over life-saving drugs, an iron grip that is causing millions to die of AIDS in the Third World. In Powerless, on the other hand, it is a group of reckless Indian electricity pirates who side in their own way against inequality, armed only with a pair of pliars, fighting for a world in which there can be a little light, justice and hope for all. The entire programme of documentaries will be screened in the presence of Internazionale editors who will be introducing the films and the themes they address to the audience.
Palazzo delle Esposizioni - Sala Cinema
Admission via steps in via Milano 9a, Rome
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God loves Uganda - Cinema
directed by Roger Ross Williams. USA, 2013 (83 min.) - original version with Italian subtitles
introduced by Francesca Sibani (Internazionale) Stefano Campanoni (CineAgenzia)
Africa is the new front in the war against "sexual immorality" unleashed by the US Christian Right, which floods the continent with money and Evangelical missionaries every day. Abortion, condoms and gays are their primary targets. This film follows a group of enthusiastic soldiers of God in Uganda, where the action of the Evangelical churches has inspired a law against homosexuality that is one of the most restrictive such laws in the world.
Fatal assistance - Cinema
directed by Raoul Peck. France, Haiti, Usa, Belgium, 2012 (99 min.) - original version with Italian subtitles
introduced by Camilla Desideri (Internazionale)
Haiti, 2010: a massive earthquake rocks the island. The international community mobilises at once, humanitarian agencies and NGOs race to the island, and millions of dollars are earmarked in aid. Yet over two years after the quake, reconstruction is still a mirage. In this film, one of Haiti's leading film directors points the finger of accusation at the spectacular flop in the policy of aid for poorer countries.
Marta's suitcase - Cinema
directed by Günter Schwaiger. Austria, Spain, 2013 (76 min.) - original version with Italian subtitles
introduced by Maysa Moroni (Internazionale)
Marta is a Spanish woman who has been brutally assaulted by her ex-husband, who almost killed her. He is due to come out of prison soon and she is certain that he is going to try again. The Männerwelten Association in Salzburg, Austria, offers assistance to violent men to help them change their mode of conduct. Through the testimonials of Marta and of one of the men in care in Salzburg, the film tells of the horror of gender violence and of how it can be countered.
Msf (un)limited - Cinema
directed by Peter Casaer. Belgium, 2011 (53 min.) - Italian version
introduced by Ettore Mazzanti (Médecins Sans Frontières)
With Msf (Un)limited, Médecins Sans Frontières has decided to take a look devoid of all rhetoric at its own history. Through the personal testimonies of those who worked in Rwanda during the genocide in 1994, in Srebrenica during the slaughter in 1995, in Chechnya and in Afghanistan, or of those who have found themselves combating the pandemic of AIDS, Msf (Un)limited tells of the effectiveness and the limitations of MSF's intervention; of the way its approach has evolved over time and of its need to be truly independent; of the importance of bearing witness and of the dilemmas and compromises it has encountered along the way; and of the challenges facing it in the future.
Powerless - Cinema
directed by Deepti Kakkar and Fahad Mustafa. India, 2013 (78 min.) - original version with Italian subtitles
introduced by Junko Terao (Internazionale)
In the Indian city of Kanpur with its population of three million, over 400,000 people have no electricity. Loha Singh is an electrician specialising in katiya, the floor cables used to illegally hook up to the mains. Risking electric shocks and blackouts, he clambers up electricity poles to bring electric power to the poorer stratum of the population. He is pitted against Ritu Maheshwari, the inflexible manager of the local electricity company tasked with rebalancing the company's books, which are in the red on account of theft and of unpaid bills. Their battle mirrors the contradictions of the Indian economic miracle.
The defector: escape from North Korea - Cinema
directed by Ann Shin. Canada, 2012 (71 min.) - original version with Italian subtitles
Dragon is a trafficker who helps North Koreans citizens to flee their country and then illegally cross the border into China, Laos and finally Thailand, where they can seek political asylum. Their journey is long and perilous. They can be detained at any moment and shipped back to their country, where the regime comes down extremely hard on fugitives. Korean-Canadian director Ann Shin followed them on their journey and in this film she tells their stories.
When bubbles burst - Cinema
directed by Hans Petter Moland. Norway, 2012 (92 min.) - original version with Italian subtitles
introduced by Alessandro Lubello (Internazionale)
In a globalised economy it is becoming more and more difficult for countries, companies and individuals to protect themselves against risk on the financial markets. The Norwegian town of Vik is an enlightening example of this. This idyllic mountain village with a population of 2,800 has been sucked into complex and murky investments that have taken it to the brink of bankruptcy. But what is it that generates unpredictable bubbles and catastrophic crises? To find out, this documentary investigates the global economy's hidden workings in the company of Nobel prizewinners, famous economists and financial brokers.
Fire in the blood - Cinema
directed by Dylan Mohan Gray. India, 2013 (84 min.) - original version with Italian subtitles
This is the story of how pharmaceutical multinationals and Western governments have obstructed access to generic drugs against AIDS in the southern hemisphere, resulting in millions of deaths, and of how a random group of people have decided to challenge them. Ranging from South Africa to India, this documentary probes the right to health in the free market era.
Terms and conditions may apply - Cinema
directed by Cullen Hoback. USA, 2013 (79 min.) - original version with Italian subtitles
introduced by Annalisa Camilli (Internazionale)
What really lurks between the lines of the terms and conditions you have to agree to before opening an account on a social network or downloading an app? That is what this documentary investigates through worrying examples and a few hilarious cases, revealing what governments and corporations do with users' "personal" information. Whatever your privacy settings, your data is collected and your online behaviour recorded, seriously jeopardising the future of civil liberties as the recent Snowden case has confirmed. Click after click, we are gradually moving into a situation where we are constantly being monitored.