The following films portray societies shaped by extreme violence, war and the effort to come to terms with past and present atrocities. In some of these films conflict, oppression and occupation still comprise the harsh reality and grim experience of the people living in these societies. In some the violence has abated, but the painful memories and wrongdoings are yet to be incorporated into the public discourse and consciousness. What these films share is the question of how to make a claim for justice, how to represent those who were, and still are, silenced, and how to reconcile the injury that took place. The films draw on the voices of both victims and perpetrators, striving not only to recover the victims’ hidden stories, but also to expose the dark logic of the oppressive parties. Therefore, they reflect on the disturbing condition of impunity: the impossibility of reconciliation, and the absence of justice.
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.
Nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary, 5 Broken Cameras is a deeply personal first-hand account of life and nonviolent resistance in Bil’in, a West Bank village where Israel is building a security fence. Palestinian Emad Burnat, who bought his first camera in 2005 to record the birth of his youngest son, shot the film and Israeli filmmaker Guy Davidi co-directed. The filmmakers follow one family’s evolution over five years, witnessing a child’s growth from a newborn baby into a young boy who observes the world unfolding around him.
Israel has the only army in the world to draw women for mandatory military service. Here, female soldiers share their perspective on a seemingly endless war and the moral challenges inherent in their relationship to the Palestinian population. The women look back critically at the way they handled the power that was placed in their young hands at the young age of eighteen and courageously answer the painful questions that were never asked during their time in the army. Did they really smile in these pictures?
Ingoma Nshya is Rwanda’s first and only all women’s drumming troupe. Made up of women from both sides of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, the troupe offers a place of support, healing and reconciliation. When the group decides to partner with two young American entrepreneurs to open Rwanda’s first ever ice cream shop, these remarkable women embark on a journey of independence, peace and possibility. SWEET DREAMS interweaves intimate, sometimes heart-wrenching stories, with joyous and powerful music to present a moving portrait of a country in transition.
For 20 years, the government of President Museveni in Uganda has been battling the insurgency of the Lord’s Resistance Army in the northern part of the country. Having failed to end the conflict militarily, the government of Uganda invited the International Criminal Court to investigate the activities of the LRA with the intention to prosecute the rebel leaders, who are responsible for the most egregious human-rights abuses that have been perpetrated in the conflict. By following Uganda’s politicians at the Hague we witness a story of the miscommunication and different perceptions of ‘justice’ and peace.