International Documentary Film Festival in the Groninger Forum

Each November, the Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam screens documentaries that reveal powerful and touching stories within a broad array of topics. Groninger Forum made it easier for the people living here to enjoy these documentaries, as they showed a selection of the portrayed documentaries. Those who don’t speak Dutch had no obstacles in understanding the content, as most of the documentaries were in English, or otherwise subtitled.

The beauty of the documentaries laid in the complexity of the stories that they revealed. Even though the subject of the movie had scientific data or real-life experience as a background, the directors managed to go beyond reality; stressing on emotions and feelings and therefore making the content easier to understand. The ‘’Austerlitz’’ documentary perfectly sustains this thought, when important events from history are not conveyed by historians or researchers, but by people visiting a concentration camp. The black and white images successfully linked the idea of the present with the past.
The advantage of this Film Festival stands in the coverage of such a wide variety of topics fulfilling even the most demanding tastes. If you are a music lover, ‘’Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary’’ will take you back in the 20th century of the jazz culture whereas the ‘’Raving Iran’’ Documentary will show you how Techno Music does not sum up to clubs and good life, but it can equal to life-changing decisions and dreams that cannot be reached. ‘’The Rolling Stones Olé Olé Olé: a Trip across Latin America’’ does not only relate to music, but also shows cultural features of Latin America.
‘’Houston, We Have a Problem’’ will attract an audience interested in history, Cold War and new revealing about the American intervention; ‘’Shadow World’’ presents a shocking analysis of the international weapons trade and the ‘’Zero Days’’ the possibility of a different war-cyber one.
In regard to the past’s year events, a couple of documentaries conveyed the reality of the refugees, two of them highlighting children’s perspectives. ‘’De Kinderen Van Juf Kiet’’ portrays the story of a migrant child trying to adjust to a Dutch school whereas ‘’Stranger in Paradise’’ successfully depicts with how much coldness and prejudice immigrants sometimes are received in foreign countries that were supposed to mean the beginning of a new life for them.

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Even if such heavy topics are the ground of the documentaries, Love is still one of the topics illustrated. ‘’LoveTrue’’ will conquest you by the depth of the meaning love in three different cases and their reality which is far from perfect.
One documentary that I found particularly unique and highly touching is the ‘’Life, Animated’’ which show how a boy suffering from Autism found relief in Disney cartoons. The mixture of pain with hope, achievements and creation was shaped in an absolute marvellous film. The combination of real images with Disney cartoons looked as natural as possible and emphasised how cartoons make one believe that everything is going to be good in the end.

All in all, the documentaries attracted the audience through their content, layout, accuracy, actuality and more important-the passion that the directors put into making them.
Don’t forget to attend the next Documentary Film Festival!

By Mihaela Breabin

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