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March 8

Stranger in Paradise

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What do you actually want from Europe? Do you think of us as a sort of Garden of Eden, whose fruit you can harvest as you wish? Exhausted immigrants, who have just survived the sea to arrive on European shores, continue to hear such questions. And, sometimes, they even hear something else. The documentary’s protagonist Valentijn Dhaenens, a Belgian actor, assuming the role of a mentor, confronts immigrants at his lectures with some of the typical European attitudes towards their arrival. Should we caution them about potential problems? Or support their dreams for a better life? Who will get a chance to stay in Europe? How do we decide? One thing is certain: far more complicated mechanisms than the mere determination and will of foreigners lie behind entering “paradise”. Under which scenario will one of the greatest stories of our time – the story of migration, hope and disillusion in which everyone is forced to play a role – develop? Show more

2D CS/ES 12 info

The Poetess

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A woman's mere public appearance is a violation of morality in conservative Saudi Arabia. Saudi poet Hissa Hilal did the unimaginable – she starred in a television show. Million's Poet is no ordinary talent contest. The superstars sought among contestants from Muslim countries do not have to sing or dance, but to recite their own poetry. The professional and lay judges decided that Hissa would become the first woman to take part in the contest, and her bold poems soon made her a star of Western and Arab media. Her open criticism of conservative norms and religious gender taboos earned her enthusiastic applause, but also death threats. The film presents the story of a woman who is able to combine her deep religious beliefs with profound criticism of theocratic dogma. Show more

2D CS/ES 12 info

Cocaine Prison

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A unique insight into life in an overcrowded Bolivian prison, where prisoners must pay US dollars for each night of their stay in a cell. The film illustrates how the judicial system works in a country that is one of the world’s largest cocaine producers. Criminals connected to the cocaine trade usually end up in the infamous San Sebastian prison. The twenty-year-old Hernan, captured during his first attempt to move cocaine across the border, also finds himself in the old colonial house that contains the prison. While he tries to familiarise himself with the rules of life behind bars, his sister Daisy tries to help him. She visits him in jail, consults with lawyers who give her contradictory advice, and even contacts members of the drug-trafficking network to ask for help from the boss for whom Hernan had been carrying cocaine. The film manages to get up close and personal with people who are mainly struggling to become more than disposable accessories. Show more

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Golden Dawn Girls

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The leaders of the notorious Greek extremist party, Golden Dawn, have been in custody for four years and are awaiting trial. Their daughters, mothers and wives are entering the scene in order to keep the movement alive. “What happened to Greece?” Norwegian filmmaker Håvard Bustnes asks at the beginning of his film. In order to better understand why a movement proclaiming racial superiority, violence and hatred has gained such popularity in what is the cradle of European democracy, he decided to make a documentary about the women who stand behind it. Careful of what they say in front of the camera, they – unfortunately for them – no longer watch their mouths when they think that nobody is filming or listening. Their unguarded opinions, combined scenes from the various actions organised by the women fighters of Golden Dawn, create an impressive yet disturbing picture of what is happening in today’s Greece, at a time when it is throttled by austerity measures. Show more

2D CS/ES 12 info

Alicia

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Over the course of three years, nine-year-old Alicia has changed. At first she was just sad, then rebellious and eventually aggressive. What happens to the soul of a child that has been yearning for years for love and a home? Alicia was born to an underage mother in Dutch institutional care. After a year of living with her parents and three years at foster homes, she finds herself in a nursing home, but unlike most other children she cannot find a new family. Her mother keeps sporadic contact with her, but enough to make the girl wish she could go home with her. As time goes by, Alicia's frustration grows, turning into aggressive rage and keeping her ever further away from her dream of having a loving family. Show more

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Kolyma - Road of Bones

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There is a road running though Siberia’s Kolyma Region that is built on the blood, sweat, and bones of Soviet gulag prisoners. Along this route, Polish director Stanislaw Mucha meets a diverse range of both comic and serious figures, who he used to build a mosaic of today’s life in this remote and frigid Russian region. Life must go on, even when hundreds of thousands of people killed by Stalin’s regime lie underfoot and the local inhabitants often run into mass graves. The present overwrites the past, and life overwrites death. The last surviving witnesses to the horrors of Kolyma live side by side with the next generation, some of whom don’t even know the word gulag. The journey along this road of bones – the longest burial ground in the world – opens up a fascinating view of distinct and eccentric personalities, each of whom copes with the harsh local genius loci in their own way. Show more

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A Batter Man

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Attiya was 16 when she met slightly older Steve in high school. It was the first serious relationship for both of them and the couple soon began living together. But it almost cost the young woman her life. Steve beat Attiya practically every day during their two-year relationship. He called her racist names, thrashed her with his fists, shook her until she fainted. "I thought this was what relationships are like," recalls the troubled Attiya in a therapy session, also attended by Steve. "I expected him sooner or later to kill me." Twenty years after their break-up, they agreed to meet in front of the cameras and explore deep-seated wounds. This intimate film sensitively examines the process of healing souls damaged by domestic violence, seeks its causes and how to pay life's debt to the victims. Show more

2D CS 12 info
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