Hot Docs 2018 kicks off on Thursday, April 26. Here’s Elissa’s Top 5 films to catch at this year’s festival.
Obscurro Barroco takes us on a journey through the forests of Brazil into the heart or Rio Di Janeiro’s nightlife, focusing on carnival and queer space. Brazillian transgender icon Luana Muniz (1961–2017) poetically narrates this journey with lines from Clarice Lispector’s Agua Viva. Obscurro Barrocco is a vivid and enticing film that feels more like a dream.
Director Samara Grace Chadwick returns to the small community outside of Moncton, New Brunswick that was gripped by a string of teen suicides in the late 90s. Chadwick speaks to her former classmates and teachers about this experience from nearly two decades ago. Diaries, VHS tapes and newspaper clippings help those who are left to piece together their memories of what happened. 1999, Chadwick’s directorial debut is an emotionally raw and vulnerable film.
The Game Changers
The Game Changers is a slick and persuasive documentary that looks at how we fuel our bodies. Oscar winning director Louis Psihoyos (The Cove) and narrator/producer UFC fighter James Wilks speak to nutritional scientists and high performance athletes who endorse and/or follow plant-based diets. Both the science, which is edited and presented with lovely graphics and the anecdotal stories of the athletes make a strong argument for the benefits of a plant based diet.
Golden Dawn Girls
Films exploring the global rise of hate groups is a topic of a number of docs at this year’s festival. Whether it’s imbedding with alt-right activist Richard Spencer or profiling a Czech neo-nazi, these films tend to focus on the men who are part of and often lead these movements. In Golden Dawn Girls Norwegian filmmaker Håvard Bustnes follows three of the women who took control of Greece’s Golden Dawn after the men in their movement were put in jail. Bustnes is given an exceptional amount of access to the Golden Dawn from the inside as well as the current leaders attempts to massage and control their image in the press, with the Greek public and in the documentary itself.
Yellow is Forbidden
Yellow is Forbidden is the latest from New Zeland director Pietra Brettkelly. Her 2015 film A Flickering Truth played at TIFF and documented the restoration of the Afghan Film Archive in Kabul, Afghanistan. Her latest follows Chinese designer Guo Pei’s Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week debut. Guo Pei’s work is stunning and complicated, and is sure to look beautiful captured in this documentary.