This week we continue our dedication to recommending incredible films that will uplift and inspire. With picks that screened at both MVFF and DocLands festivals, as well as theatrical presentations at the Smith Rafael Film Center, our programmers selected three films that shine a light on individuals who refuse to back down in the face of all kinds of challenges.
MVFF SENIOR PROGRAMMER KAREN DAVIS SELECTS
WOMAN AT WAR
Director: Benedikt Erlingsson (Iceland, 2018) 100 min.
Iceland’s 2018 submission for Academy Award ® consideration is a warm and witty fable about a most unusual environmental activist. Halla (Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir) is an independent woman, a 50-year-old choir director with a secret identity as “The Woman of the Mountain,” a mysterious figure who engages in industrial sabotage with simple weapons (watch her disable an electrical pylon with her bow-and-arrow). But just as she is planning her biggest and boldest operation yet, she receives a letter saying a Ukrainian girl is finally available for adoption. With her eco-retirement on the horizon, this final job better be a good one. In Icelandic with English subtitles. (Richard Peterson)
“Woman At War celebrates the triumph of the human spirit facing near-insurmountable odds – much needed inspiration for our challenging times. It features a heart-racing performance by Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir.” – Karen Davis, MVFF Senior Programmer
MVFF AND DOCLANDS FESTIVAL PROGRAMMER KELLY CLEMENT SELECTS
Directors: Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi (US, 2018) 100 min.
From the makers of the mountain film classic Meru, documentarian Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and photographer-mountaineer Jimmy Chin, comes a stunning, intimate and unflinching portrait of free soloist climber Alex Honnold, as he prepares to achieve his lifelong dream: climbing the face of the world’s most famous rock, the 3,200-foot El Capitan in Yosemite National Park…without a rope. His project sets the ultimate standard: perfection or death. The filmmakers explore Honnold’s training, as well as the armor of invincibility that he’s developed over the years and that threatens to break apart when he falls in love. It’s both an inspiring portrait of an athlete and an edge-of-your-seat thriller. (Richard Peterson)
“With this breathtaking Oscar ® winner for Best Documentary of 2018 you’ll get to share the unforgettable experience of joining the first person to ever free solo climb Yosemite’s El Capitan. I was on the edge of my seat and you will be too.” – Kelly Clement, MVFF Valley of the Docs and DocLands Film Festival Programmer
DOCLANDS DIRECTOR OF PROGRAMMING JONI COOPER SELECTS
RUMBLE: THE INDIANS THAT ROCKED THE WORLD
Directors: Catherine Bainbridge, Alfonso Maiorana (Canada, 2017) 103 min.
If you love rock and roll, you will also love Rumble. Entertaining, educational and enlightening, this exhilarating doc dives deep into the electrifying and difficult history of Native Americans in contemporary music, focusing on several artists who helped shape the rock-and-roll landscape. Featuring a multitude of musicians, journalists and filmmakers who wax poetic about the pre-blues influence of native music on popular culture, Rumble really comes alive with its amazing performance footage. You’ll want to turn it up to 11 as you listen to Link Wray, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Charlie Patton, Jimi Hendrix and Robbie Robertson infuse indigenous styles into their music. Powerful personal stories of lesser-known artists like Mildred Bailey, Jesse Edwin Davis, Redbone and Randy Castillo expose a rich, largely unknown history of Native American musicians finding a way to keep on rockin in the not always Free World. (Brendan Peterson)
“From the moment I heard the first notes and jumped in guitarist Stevie Salas’ convertible for a roadtrip through the American West in Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World, I was hooked. This cinematic and exhilarating doc held such discoveries for me, discoveries that I felt compelled to share with DocLands’ audiences. The entire film is a revelation. Sure I knew the heritage of Buffy Sainte-Marie and Robbie Robertson, but I had yet to learn who wrote the iconic song Rumble and why I’d never heard of Link Wray.” – Joni Cooper, DocLands Director of Programming
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