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March 6

Counters

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Nowadays, not even Japanese society is safe from the threat of ultranationalists. Activists, who often do not act wearing kid gloves, have taken it upon themselves to combat xenophobia. In recent years, hostility aimed primarily towards the Korean minority in Japan has fuelled the growth of the Zaitokukai movement, at whose demonstrations the worst possible threats have often been made shielded by the right to free speech. State inaction has triggered the activity of anti-fascist groups. One of the most radical anti-nationalist crusaders is the impulsive and violent Takahashi, who makes no secret of his past among the yakuza. It is this film that conclusively credits him with changing the attitude of legislators to hate speech. The film features an unconventional style – where the filmmakers are not afraid of using anime or manga elements but develop a drama that features real people, not cartoon characters. Show more

2D CS/ES 12 info

Gwendolyn

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This intimate documentary reveals the dramatic life misadventures of 65-year-old Gwendolyn Leick – a unique woman with great inner strength, an immigrant from Western Europe, anthropologist, and world weightlifting champion. What predetermines our life course, the battles we fight, and our moral fibre? Do specific circumstances play a role? These key questions are addressed in this film about the tireless winner Gwen and the momentous challenges she has faced. Formerly from Austria, but long living in London, she is a researcher and writer, as well as a perceptive mother, partner, and friend, who never planned to become a weightlifter. Nevertheless, even in this sport, as in the case of the many other roles she has held in her life, she has achieved success. Inconspicuous but charismatic Gwen is proof that a strong will is enough to overcome any barrier as long as one is willing to accept the rules of the game. Show more

2D CS/ES 12 info

The Red Soul

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At the end of the 1980s, eight per cent of Russians considered Stalin a great man and hero. Surveys today put this figure at 52 per cent. What do modern-day Russians admire about the Stalin era and what do they not want to know about it? Millions of people died in labour camps and executions at the hands of Stalin. Nevertheless, in current Russian society there is a tendency to downplay the horrific side of Stalin's rule and to focus on his alleged virtues. The Dutch film maker Jessica Gorter travelled to Russia on behalf of the people whose families were affected by Stalin's terror, even those who believe that Soviet totalitarianism is preferable to democracy. The victims' children visit places in the middle of forests where mass graves continue to offer new testimony about the atrocities of the gulags. Their memories of the appalling violence perpetrated against innocent people are confronted with the naive nostalgia of those who see today's era as chaotic and cruel compared to Stalin's. Show more

2D CS/ES 12 info

Before My Feet Touch the Ground

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Israeli student Daphni Leef led a quiet life in downtown Tel Aviv. Everything changed when she had to move out of her apartment and found it almost impossible to find housing at an affordable price. In 2011, she moved her furniture and other belongings to her parents’ home, left her apartment, and set up a tent in central Tel Aviv. This marked the start of young filmmaker Daphni’s protest against high housing prices, which had doubled over the previous five years. She served as an inspiration to others and, within a short time, tents flooded first the centre of Tel Aviv and subsequently other cities across the country. People came together to call for social justice. The protest has unpredictably grown into a mass movement of hundreds of thousands of people, and Daphni has become the face of their campaign. How has she managed to withstand the tremendous pressure, and to face media interest as well as criticism? After six years, she goes back over the events in the film. Show more

2D CS/ES 12 info

For Akheema

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Daje is 17 and she has just been expelled from high school. She lives in a rough suburban neighbourhood in St. Louis, Missouri, where African American teens are much more worried about surviving to see the age of 18 than they are about graduating from high school. “What you got shot with? A 22mm? Or a 38mm?”, asks a classmate with interest. No one can walk into a court-monitored alternative school without being thoroughly searched. For many adolescents, this institution is their last chance to get a high school diploma and fulfil the associated dream of a better life. This fly-on-the wall documentary, which has received awards at many American film festivals, tracks Daje for the two years preceding her final exams. Her maturity is tested not only by many traditional issues, such as arguments with her mother, and her first love, but also as a result of the much more fatal pitfalls of the complicated social environment she comes from. In addition, in the nearby Ferguson suburb, a wave of protests rises after a policeman shoots 18-year-old Michael Brown. Show more

2D CS 12 info

Primas

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Both lost their childhood. Although Rocío and Aldana seemingly experience the common misfortunes and joys of adolescence, deep inside there is a hole they will forever be trying to fill. At a tender age, the girls were victims of sexual assault. In addition to her deep psychological scars, Rocio also has burn marks that serve as daily reminders of what she lived through. Yet, neither of them gives up. They have each other, their loved ones, their diaries, and the courage to speak out. Their pain never goes away, but it becomes easier to bear each time they talk about the experiences, dance, or paint. Intimate narration reveals, with the utmost sensitivity, the layers of their stories. This film shows the unbreakable spirit of two young women at the threshold of adulthood – sometimes in poetic shots (such as when Rocio, replaying a dream, glides across the beach as a crocodile girl), at other times in images from ordinary daily life – and provides a creative tribute to their vitality. Show more

2D CS/ES 12 info
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