CHICAGO – There has been an attitude shift in America in a couple of generations toward the poor and unlucky in life. What was once a campaign to end poverty and take care of that part of the population, has turned into a demonization of them. This is one of the main themes in “A Place at the Table,” an overview of the continuing hunger problem in America.
CHICAGO – One of the strangest problems in the United States, the richest country in the world, is “food insecurity.” Millions of Americans, lost in economic or working poverty, can’t keep pace with their food needs. The new documentary “A Place at the Table” dissects this social problem, and is co-directed by Kristi Jacobson.
CHICAGO – Normal job justification makes most people defensive. Imagine justifying an anti-terrorist organization. What weapons – besides the physical variety – would be available to you? Fear, jingoism and marginalizing of the “other” are a few of the defensives used by “The Gatekeepers.”
CHICAGO – One of the five documentaries nominated for an Oscar this Sunday is the incendiary story of “The Gatekeepers.” The film goes inside “Shin Bet,” the Israeli secret anti-terrorist agency. By interviewing ex-agency leaders, director Droh Moreh was able to gain insights into the moral failings of their activities.
CHICAGO – “Why do only third-generation Germans ask questions? The second generation didn’t ask what happened. You don’t understand and I’m glad you don’t understand.” These very insightful words are spoken by an old friend of Arnon Goldfinger’s grandmother as the filmmaker is deep into a fascinating investigation about his own past in the fascinating “The Flat,” a film that turns a personal story into a commentary on international denial and healing after World War II.
CHICAGO – The behemoth that is China, in both population and world dominance, has its underbelly exposed through the new documentary, “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry.” Written and directed by American expatriate Alison Klayman, this documentary of a famous Chinese artist named Ai Weiwei – whose dissident artistic expression woke up his fellow citizens and invited scrutiny from a angry government – is a one-of-a-kind story.
CHICAGO – “U.N. Me,” a risky and provocative documentary, is taking the United Nations to task for what they have become – an institution more interested in keeping the bureaucratic status quo than going forward with their original charter. Filmmaker Ami Horowitz, along with his co-writer and co-director Matthew Groff, pull no punches in their cinematic investigation.
CHICAGO – As a product of the post WWII era of global cooperation, the United Nations in New York City has arguably become a bloated and expensive paperweight, 67 years after its birth. Documentary filmmaker Ami Horowitz takes on this bloat with passion and some conspicuous points in “U.N. Me.”
CHICAGO – “Undefeated” takes some time to connect. It’s like a football team that starts slow and can’t quite find the right play calls for the first quarter. I’ll admit to being nonplussed at the start of the film as it seemed unfocused and a bit disconnected. Then something amazing happens.
CHICAGO – Wim Wenders has entertained audiences for over 40 years with his wide range of film subjects, both in narrative and documentary form. His latest film is the delicate and emotionally charged ‘Pina,’ an overview and exposition of his friend, the famous German choreographer Pina Bausch.