Samsara is a word that describes the ever turning wheel of life. It is a concept both intimate and vast – the perfect subject for filmmakers Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson, whose previous collaborations include Chronos and Baraka, and who, in the last 20 years, have travelled to over 58 countries together in the pursuit of unique imagery. Samsara takes the form of a nonverbal, guided meditation that will transform viewers in countries around the world as they are swept along a journey of the soul. Through powerful images pristinely photographed in 70mm and a dynamic music score, the film illuminates the links between humanity and the rest of the nature, showing how our life cycle mirrors the rhythm of the planet.
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In hidden basements, bedrooms and bars across London, “Chemsex” is a documentary that exposes frankly and intimately a dark side to modern gay life. Traversing an underworld of intravenous drug use and weekend-long sex parties, “Chemsex” tells the story of several men struggling to make it out of ‘the scene’ alive – and one health worker who has made it his mission to save them. While society looks the other way, this powerful and unflinching film uncovers a group of men battling with HIV, drug addiction and finding acceptance in a changing world.
‘Family Instinct’ is a film about incest – an illegal act, social taboo and a violation of religious norms. Zanda is a 28-year-old woman, worn out by hard work. Surrounded by poverty and despair, she is trying to survive with her two children in a god-forsaken Latvian village. Her hardships can be traced back to living in a relationship with her brother Valdis. When Valdis is put in jail, the local community forces her to make a difficult choice: to stay with him or with her children. Despite her ill fortune, she manages to express her love for the children, still hoping to save her family. The film offers a tragicomic but highly authentic insight into the bleak reality of Latvian countryside today.
With the rapid emergence of digital devices, an unstoppable, invisible force is changing human lives in ways from the microscopic to the gargantuan: Big Data, a word that was barely used a few years ago but now governs the day for many of us from the moment we awaken to the extinguishing of the final late-evening light bulb. This massive gathering and analyzing of data in real time is allowing us to not only address some of humanity biggest challenges but is also helping create a new kind of planetary nervous system. Yet as Edward Snowden and the release of the Prism documents have shown, the accessibility of all these data comes at a steep price. The Human Face of Big Data captures the promise and peril of this extraordinary knowledge revolution.
Johnny Cash: American Rebel is built around 12 essential Johnny Cash tracks spanning four decades that each deliver the passion, musicality and messages against war, injustice, racism and prejudice, including “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Jackson,” “San Quentin,” “Man in Black,” “Sunday Morning Coming Down,” “Ring of Fire” and “Hurt.” Each song illustrates a chapter in his life, as well the story of an ever-changing America from the 1950s to modern day, as told through interviews, archival concert footage, photographs and personal artifacts from the Cash family.