In the 1990s many people in Kurdistan were taken into custody and interrogated under torture; their killers disposed of the bodies by throwing them out of helicopters, or burying them in acid-filled wells. Thousands were murdered/disappeared by paramilitary forces—such as Jitem and Hizbul-Kontra—that were financed and supported by the state, though they have always stuck to the line: “We didn’t do it.” The documentary ‘BÎR’ looks at the case of seven people, including four children, who were disappeared from the town of Kerboran [Dargeçit] in 1995, and tells the story of their families’ tireless search for their bones.
September 8th 11:00 AM -Rialto Theater
I chose this film because it taught me a piece of my own history that I didn’t know about. I was aware of the feminist movement in America in the 1970s. In my own public-school education, however, the feminist movement was always overshadowed by competing social justice movements of the 70s: civil rights, Vietnam, and the environmental movement. To hear that women in Boston were fighting for equal pay back in the 70s, and it is still a discrepancy that exists in our country was pretty disheartening. But this film explored one occupation during the feminist movement from a very positive perspective. While I beat my head against the wall hearing about the blatantly misogynist actions of the Alabama state senate, I can turn to this film to remind me that while the fight is never over, it is important to celebrate the wins. Even if they are small wins. Because that win can inspire another group of women in another decade or country to raise their voices and demand equity. While it sometimes feels like our government’s decisions are taking us back into the “dark ages,” I turn to Left on Pearl as a reminder that social change is not one event, it doesn’t happen overnight, and it almost never leads to perfect solutions. It is a process. And we have to engage in that process however uncomfortable or seemingly disorganized it may feel in order to be heard. Amy Peterson
This film offers a glimpse into a war-torn city (Kobane) in the Aleppo region of Syria, and of the young women who have joined the fight to reclaim control of the city from Islamic State militants. It struck me as amazing that high school and university-aged women could fight guerrilla warfare to defend their country and their communities, and still show playful, hopeful, almost innocent smiles. And then I remembered that there is no shortage of similar stories of young male soldiers coping with the ravages of war through humor and camaraderie. As a woman, I found this film inspiring and up-lifting. The male and female battalions appear to work well together with mutual respect for each other and a common goal of protecting their home town. It is an important story to be shared, for the sake of Syria, Kurdistan, and the women who would not stay at home waiting for peace.
Mangai Dir. Benjamin Schindler (Germany, 2019) 1 hr 28 min
smatteringly *Filmmaker in Attendance!
Sep 06, 2019 10:30 AM- The “B” George Theater Floor 1
This film is an honest and thorough visual journey through America and its obsession with religion, the occult, and reenactments of our often horrific history as a young nation. At first glance, I wondered where the story was headed. But the juxtaposition of civil-war reenactments and UFO-sighting recreations captured my intrigue, because the imagery all felt familiar despite lack of cohesion in subject matter. Perhaps it is a critique on the mistakes of our past, and perhaps it is a celebration of the diverse forms of storytelling that can be found across the thousands of miles from the Atlantic seaboard to the Pacific. In any case, I got the sense that while rich in narrative history and counterculture, we Americans are not the heroes… Amy Peterson