Snow Day? Documentaries to the Rescue

January 29, 2014

By Katrice

If you've been following me long, you know I'm a documentary hound. My queue seems endless and I love it that way. So, if you're snowed in {just about anywhere in the country right now}, I've got you covered with my third installment of must-see factual films.


1. Happy People: A Year in the Taiga 
It's interesting that I'm writing about this documentary in the midst of Atlanta's snow disaster, but I guess that makes this entry even more apropos. "Happy People: A Year in the Taiga" gives a striking and unforgettable view of life in the heart of the Siberian Taiga. Deep in the wilderness, far away from civilization, 300 people inhabit the small village of Bakhtia at the river Yenisei with only two ways to reach this outpost: by helicopter or boat. There are no telephones, running water or medical aid; and the locals, whose daily routines have barely changed over the last centuries, live according to their own values and cultural traditions. "Happy People: A Year in the Taiga" follows one of the Siberian trappers through all four seasons of the year to tell the story of a culture virtually untouched by modernity. Amazing.
2. IMAGINARY WITNESS
You will almost never get a list from me without a doc about World War II in the mix. "IMAGINARY WITNESS" examines Hollywood's attitude towards one of the most horrific events in world history  the Holocaust, telling a provocative and mostly unknown story of the 60-year relationship between Hollywood and the atrocities of Nazi Germany. With scenes from over 40 Films, rare newsreels, and interviews with leading scholars, filmmakers, and witnesses to the events portrayed, the doc takes the viewer on a 60-year journey from the American ambivalence and denial during the heyday of Nazism, through the silence of the post-war years, and into the end of the 20th century. It explores not only the question of how an industry that sells fantasy has dealt with one of the most horrifying episodes in modern world history, but also how the movies themselves reflect America's ever-evolving relationship to the events of that era. At the core is an ethical and moral debate about portrayal.



3. Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country
Through the cameras of the independent journalist group, Democratic Voice of Burma, we get a rare view of the 2007 clash in Myanmar.While 100,000 people protested in the streets, the countryʼs repressive regime that has held them hostage for over 40 years, foreign news crews were banned to enter and the Internet was shut down. The Democratic Voice of Burma, a collective of 30 anonymous and underground video journalists recorded these poignantly historic and dramatic events on handycams and smuggled the footage out of the country, where it was broadcast worldwide via satellite.

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