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6 Documentaries not to miss at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival

HRWFFKicking off with a screening of Kim Longinotto’s new documentary Salma, the Human Rights Watch Film Festival will take over various cinemas in London to raise awareness for breaches of the most basic rights that we as a people should all be granted.

Documentaries often show us a hidden reality, raise awareness of breaches of justice and teach us about the world around us, and so they do at the HRWFF in London this week. Until 22 March the Curzon cinemas in Soho and Mayfair, the Ritzy cinema in Brixton and the ICA London are screening documentaries which focus on basic human rights and violations thereof.

Here are some of the documentaries we recommend you see:

Camera/Woman – 17 March 5.30pm at the ICA & 19 March 6.15pm at the Ritzy

Khadija is a Moroccan divorced mother. An unfortunate combination. She is a thorn in the flesh of her mother and brother and the laughing stock of her neighbourhood, ut bnot just because of her unmarried status or because as the breadwinner she has to work. These are certainly factors but it doesn’t help that as a camerawoman filming weddings and pre-wedding parties she has to work evenings and often comes home late. Together with her friend Bouchra, Khadija shows us the catch 22 that is her everyday live.

Rafea: Solar Mama – 15 March 6.30pm at the ICA & 16 March 4.30pm at the Ritzy

An uneducated Bedouin mother from the Jordanian desert gets the chance to study to become a solar engineer, bringing power her community. However, learning about electrical components without being able to read, write or understand English is the easy part because taking up this opportunity means she can lose everything, including her children. (Read more)

In the Shadow of the Sun – 15 March 6.30pm at the Curzon Soho & 21 March 9pm at the Ritzy

The audience at IDFA rated it their second favourite out of a possible 300 films – and with just cause. Harry Freeland’s new documentary In The Shadow of the Sun is a phenomenal piece of filmmaking which doesn’t just tells us but also truly lets us feel the heartbreaking fear and pain that albinos in Tanzania experience on a daily basis. (Read more)

The Act of Killing – 18 March 6.15pm at the Ritzy & 19 March 6.15 at the Curzon Soho

This unusual documentary portrays aging Indonesian war criminals reenacting their crimes, not with a sense of regret or to raise awareness in order to prevent these crimes from occuring in the future, but with a sense of pride. Media have praised this doc as surreal and frightening and we recommend you don’t miss it.

The Gatekeepers – 15 March 9.15pm at the Ritzy & 16 March 6.40pm at the Curzon Soho

Unprecedented honesty and the shocking truth it uncovers are key in this series of interviews with six former heads of the Shin Bet, Israel’s much feared intelligence and security agency. This strong feature offering never-before-seen archival footage and never-before-heard arguments regarding the nations counterterrorism campaign was a justified contender in the race for the genre’s 2013 Academy Award.

The Law in These Parts – 16 March 4pm at the Curzon Soho & 17 March 4pm at the Ritzy

In 1967 when Israel conquered the West Bank and Gaza, they understood that to apply Israeli law in the occupied territories would be tantamount to granting the Palestinian people citizenship. As a result almost overnight a million Palestinians suddenly found themselves under a completely new and unknown legal system. Alexandrowicz’s film reveals the little known stories of the men who drew up these new laws and then implemented them upon an occupied people over a forty-year period. (Read more)

To see the full schedule of documentaries screening at London’s Human Rights Watch Film Festival, please visit the festival’s website.


Written by

Alexandra Zeevalkink is a Dutch-born journalist living in London who founded DocGeeks in August 2011 in order to have a legitimate excuse to watch every documentary under the sun. She freelances for various publications and writes mainly about documentaries and the film production industry. When she is not blogging or watching films, she enjoys theater, photography and reading loads of books. She is always on the look out for potential partnerships with other creative minds.

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