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Performative Documentaries

Curated by: Laliv Melamed

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This collection is dedicated to films which explore and emphasize the notion of performance. Either employed strategically or implicitly by the film’s subjects, in order to provoke or to resolve, in ways of resistance or a form of compliance, performance emerges as a major means to pursue social truths and social change.

New Currents Collections
Especially curated by Film Platform, aim to explore new directions and developments in documentary craftsmanship. They are organized according to major aesthetic trends and fields of influence which permeate documentary filmmaking today.

Performative Documentaries Collection

Part of the New Currents Collections

  • Ukraine Is Not a Brothel
    Ukraine Is Not a Brothel
    Director: Kitty Green   | Year of production: 2013
    Country of production: Australia | Language: Russian, Ukrainian (with full English subtitles available)
    Running Time: 78 min.

    Ukraine’s topless feminist sensation, Femen, has stirred up a press frenzy across Europe. Femen bare their breasts to protest the international perception of Ukrainian women as either brides for sale or commodities of sex tourism. With a first-time intimate glimpse into the world’s most provocative feminist organization, we see how Femen fight their naked war against patriarchy. However, before they take the world by storm, these bold and beautiful women must first confront the perverse and contradictory forces that power their own “titillating” organisation.

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  • Art/Violence
    Director: Batoul Taleb   Udi Aloni   Mariam Abu Khaled   | Year of production: 2013
    Country of production: USA | Language: Arabic, English, Hebrew (with full English subtitles available)
    Running Time: 75 min.

    Following the lead of their beloved director and peace activist, Juliano Mer-Khamis, who was murdered on April 4th, 2011 outside the Freedom Theater in the Jenin Refugee Camp in the West Bank, they use their imagination in an unpredictably brutal environment creating an artistic rebellion; a vivid and brave portrayal of a young, active generation of Palestinians.

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  • The Act Of Killing
    The Act Of Killing
    Director: Joshua Oppenheimer   | Year of production: 2012
    Country of production: Denmark, Norway, United Kingdom | Language: Indonesian (with full English subtitles available)
    Running Time: 159 min.

    In a country where killers are celebrated as heroes, the filmmakers challenge unrepentant death squad leader Anwar Congo and his friends to dramatise their role in genocide. But their idea of being in a movie is not to provide testimony for a documentary: they want to be stars in their favourite film genres—gangster, western, musical. They write the scripts. They play themselves. And they play their victims. This is a cinematic fever dream, an unsettling journey deep into the imaginations of mass-murderers and the shockingly banal regime of corruption and impunity they inhabit.

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  • The Tale of Nicolai and the Law of Return
    The Tale of Nicolai and the Law of Return
    Director: David Ofek   | Year of production: 2008
    Country of production: Israel | Language: Hebrew, Romanian (with full English subtitles available)
    Running Time: 54 min.

    With humor and irony, in a style of a tale, using an original mix genre language, the film tells the story of a Romanian worker who realizes his Jewish roots can reverse his fortune, once his Palestinian friends reveal to him the amazing advantages of a having Jewish grandmother.

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  • The Look of Silence
    The Look of Silence
    Director: Joshua Oppenheimer   | Year of production: 2014
    Country of production: Denmark, Indonesia, United Kingdom | Language: Indonesian, Javanese (with full English subtitles available)
    Running Time: 99 min.

    Through Joshua Oppenheimer’s work filming perpetrators of the Indonesian genocide, a family of survivors discovers how their son was murdered and the identity of the men who killed him. The youngest brother is determined to break the spell of silence and fear under which the survivors live, and so confronts the men responsible for his brother’s murder – something unimaginable in a country where killers remain in power.


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