Doc Fortnight 2022, MoMA’s documentary film festival, is online to members and in-person at the Museum of Modern Art in Midtown, Wed, Feb 23 – Mar 10. 🇧🇷🇫🇷🇲🇽🇵🇭🇪🇸
This year’s 19 features and 10 shorts focus on environmental issues and the fragility of life in a rapidly changing world. That’s smart programming because the two issues are profoundly interlinked.
Destroying the environment doesn’t just hurt the Earth, it hurts us. War and human migrations in West Asia (Syria) and Central America were both initiated by drought. The climate of Mother Earth has been in a stable period for about the last 10,000 years. We have pushed ourselves into a period of instability. Nobody knows where that leads.
The opening night film is “Bunker,” Jenny Perlin’s documentary about survivalists living in bunkers to prepare for the end of the world.
The closing night film is “The United States of America,” James Benning’s documentary of vignettes that show how the history of each American state is etched into the landscape. Benning made a similar short film in 1975. Together his two films are bookmarks to a period of immense change.
In fact, the 1970s was when Exxon’s own scientists warned its executives that their petrochemical products would destroy life as we know it. Exxon responded with a climate change denial public relations campaign that is one of the roots of the political nonsense in the U.S. today.
We’ve known we are headed for trouble for the last fifty years, but nobody has done anything serious about it. The art world gets it. Do we?
Latin Films at Doc Fortnight 2022
The Museum of Modern Art holds one of the world’s great film collections. Their festival curation reaches beyond cinema in the direction of great art. In this strange pandemic moment, if you don’t see the great beauty of life, you missed it. Non-English films screen with subtitles.
Screening Fri, Feb 25 at 7pm with filmmaker Q&A:
- “Inner Outer Space,” is Laida Lertxundi’s, visual poem about the interplay between the world and our own states of mind. 🇪🇸
- “El Lado quieto” (The Still Side) by Miko Revereza and Carolina Fusilier, explores an abandoned Pacific resort island “Capaluco” with the Philippine legend of the Siyokoy sea monster. That’s not such a stretch. The Pacific Spanish galleon route used to run between Acapulco and Manila. The North Equatorial current leads to the Philippines. The Equatorial Countercurrent leads to Mexico. Culture spread in both directions. The title is an interesting use of Spanglish. The key image is a beautiful metaphor for things that come out of the sea. 🇲🇽🇵🇭
Screening Sat, Feb 26 at 4pm with filmmaker Q&A:
- “Sem Deus Sem Demônio” (No Kings), Emilio Mello’s tale about the children in a fishing village in Brazil’s Caiçara Indigenous community. Indigenous peoples just want to live the way they always did, but the government wants to take the forests and develop the land underneath them. 🇧🇷
Screening Sun, Feb 27 at 2:30pm with filmmaker Q&A:
- “Pénélope mon amour” (Penelope My Love) is Clair Doyon’s love letter to her daughter who was born autistic with Rett syndrome which causes a progressive deterioration in speech and motor skills. Medical attempts at a cure are finally abandoned to let things be as they are. 🇫🇷
Screening Sun, Feb 27 at 5pm with filmmaker Q&A:
- “Vida comienza, vida termina” (Life Begins, Life Ends) is Rafael Palacio Illingworth’s tale that mixes a film shoot of gaucho’s in Argentina with documentation of his family struggle with his wife’s cancer treatments in Zurich, Switzerland. Nothing turns your world upside down like slowly losing a family member. Some people think Magical Realism is a literary construct. Many Latins see it as the real magic of life.
The great beauty of life is here at MoMA’s Doc Fortnight. Don’t miss it.