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March 16

China’s Forgotten Daughters

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China's notorious one-child policy may have been abandoned in its strictest form, but the consequences for the affected generations will last forever. Especially for the women who have been deprived of their families. The film produced by Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Ruby Yang follows the search for an abandoned daughter who has met the same fate as so many others: a blue-collar family needed male offspring to help the father with his blacksmith's shop, meaning that the first-born girl had to disappear from the picture. Thousands of girls ended up in children's homes, and today they are trying to find their families and seek reconciliation through various organisations. She believes in a happy reunion, but unfortunately the reality is more complicated. The filmmakers chose to take an observer's approach without much stylisation, focusing on raw emotions and authenticity. The film takes an unbiased and complex look at a trauma that permeates the whole country. Show more

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Love and Empty Words

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Wanda was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 5 years ago. Now she relies entirely on her husband. This intimate film shows the strength of love and how it endures even when faced with an incurable disease. An old joke asks “What’s the name of that German who hides my things?” Alois Alzheimer was the first to describe this disease causing dementia and evoking dread rather than laughter. For Adam and Wanda it is a true test of their relationship when Wanda’s condition starts to rapidly deteriorate. Everyday tasks, such as personal hygiene, going on a walk together, or a doctor’s visit, become almost unresolvable. Adam selflessly cares for her 24/7: feeding her, washing her, changing her diapers and constantly reminding her of when they were young, in love and looking forward to their future together. Now that he is old, does he still have the strength to care for his beloved wife who no longer recognizes him and cannot remember his name? Show more

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Queen of Hearts

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This close-up portrait of Lizette Risgaard, the first woman to lead Danish trade unions, documents her difficult task as she tries to revive a failing organization’s original standing. In 2015, Lizette Risgaard was elected by a large majority to head the Danish Confederation of Trade Unions. This almost unknown office worker was soon one of the most powerful women in Denmark. A staunch trade unionist in both body and soul, she immediately initiated radical changes in order to return a significant role to an organization that had lost about 500,000 members in recent years. This meant not only reaching a compromise with right-wing politicians but also adopting unpopular, yet necessary, measures. Will she succeed in negotiating good conditions for a new 3-year collective agreement, renew faith in the community, and win the hearts of union workers? Show more

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Heart of Stone

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When he was 12, Ghorban arrived in France from Afghanistan after an arduous 12,000 km journey, but for years his new life was not the one he dreamed of as a child. The film tracks Ghorban for 8 years as the young refugee becomes first a teenager and then a mature young man. Before being taken in by a youth center, he slept on the streets, pinning his hopes on one day being able to attend school again. But after his traumatic experiences in Afghanistan he finds that even in France things are not easy. Moments of despair resulting from oppressive boredom and feelings of emptiness stemming from exploitation alternate with the first glimmers of a promise of a better future and first success. Ghorban’s story, framed by sessions with a psychologist, is a strong testimony of one human’s fate. Show more

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iIsland

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Only a handful of people inhabit the Croatian island of Biševo. Life on the island is far from ideal and change is needed, but the locals do not agree with the plans of the town hall. Every season, the 15 permanent residents of the island of Biševo in the Adriatic Sea face an onslaught of tourists heading for the Blue Cave. Otherwise life is very simple and runs at a slow pace. The locals fish and cultivate wine and good relations. The town hall, located in the port town of Komiža on the adjacent island, comes up with a project to rebuild the original school into a new multimedia centre for visitors. However, the long-time residents would prefer it if the mayor and the deputies supported the local community instead of the tourists, who should stay out of the islanders' way. Will young Lucijo and his neighbours try to resist the mayor's plans? Show more

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Good Neighbours

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This sensitively made film follows two best friends with a lofty ambition: for the world to stop seeing social isolation and old age as inseparable companions. A dead woman is found by chance in a small flat in Rotterdam. No one had looked for her for over ten years. Based on this report, active seniors Ada and Wilma decide to join a community volunteer organisation that runs a campaign against social isolation. Together they visit apartments door to door armed with a questionnaire to try to map the number of lonely seniors in their immediate vicinity. They listen to their stories, offer them company, but also the opportunity to come out of the house and engage in active social life. Show more

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Central Bus Station

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Tel Aviv's central bus station is one of the largest in the world. But the seven-storey concrete complex is straight out of a Kafka novel. People get lost here and the sixth floor is totally missing. Yonathan is able to navigate the maze of endless corridors, staircases and hidden rooms like no one else. The bus station and its incomprehensibility have become the meaning of life for him; in it he has found the perfect metaphor for his homeland, to which he has a complicated relationship. He accompanies tourists through the bowels of this extensive and illogically designed building, sharing with them the secrets it has revealed. And he meets a very diverse society – among the patrolling soldiers there are wandering African asylum seekers, Philippine salesmen and Orthodox Jews. This visually exhilarating and inventively edited film captures a closed world that works according to its own rules. Show more

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Village of Swimming Cows

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What happens when three neo-hipsters from Berlin arrive at a farm in eastern Poland? This humorous documentary shows what transpires when poetic ideas come up against tough rural reality. A trio of 30-somethings from Berlin decide to exchange their morning yoga for grazing cows and chopping wood in a small village in eastern Poland. They rent a wooden cottage from a local farmer and begin to settle here. Over time, they find that for those who have been here for generations, living in harmony with nature means something other than reducing their use of plastic or not eating meat. Mutual interaction is made difficult by barriers of opinion and language, and efforts at communication often result in frank and funny debates about alternative lifestyles, spirituality, vegetarianism and the relationship between humans and nature. Show more

2D CS/ES 12 info
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