DOC NYC 2016: More Reviews

November 15th, 2016 by chocko

Here are more short reviews of movies playing during DOC NYC, America’s largest documentary festival. Be sure to take a look at their website or pick up a program and find something that you can get into. Get your tickets and head over to either IFC Center (323 Sixth Ave at West Third Street), SVA Theatre (333 West 23rd Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues) or Cinepolis Chelsea (260 West 23rd Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues). The festival ends on Nov. 17. See you there!

Dirs: Ricki Stern, Annie Sundberg
This documentary is powerful, emotionally uplifting and at times, heart breaking and difficult to watch. The movie is about the aftermath of the bombing that took place at the Boston Marathon in 2013. Three people were killed and hundreds were injured. Following two explosions near the finish line at our nation’s oldest marathon, chaos continued as a manhunt began to capture the suspects. The movie chronicles the investigation and capture of the killers but also follows the courageous stories of several survivors that suffered serious injuries in the bombing. The movie follows the survivors for the next three years as families and loved ones are pushed to the limits in their attempts to recover physically and emotionally from nearly losing their lives. Marathon is a must see.
MON NOV 14 8:00PM (CC)

Dir: Jessie Auritt
The movie is a fun coming of age story of a talented nine-year-old girl, Naomi Kutin. Naomi is a typical Orthodox Jewish pre-teen living in New Jersey, but when she puts on her weightlifting belt and a barbell loaded with weights is placed in front of her, stand back because Supergirl is in the building. She psyches herself up to powerlift by pacing around and letting out menacing grunts and roars. After competing and breaking a powerlifting records, she finds herself on television, making headlines and becoming a social media sensation. The movie follows Naomi for three years as she juggles going to school, dealing with cyberbullies, staying healthy and getting ready for her Bat Mitzvah. My favorite scene in the documentary is the part after Naomi falls short in a competition and a bunch of massive weightlifters noticed her dismay and offered words of encouragement. This inspiring documentary is Jessie Auritt’s debut as a feature film director and is definitely worth watching.
SUN NOV 13 4:30PM (SVA)

Dir: Diedie Weng
This documentary mostly takes place in a rural mountain valley in Northern China where we follow the slow-paced lives of an old grumpy beekeeper Laoyu and his young son, Maofu who returns home after a year working as a migrant worker in the city. Maofu feels disconnected and his relationship with his aging father is put to the test when old school and new school ideas are put on the table. Maofu wants his family to develop a brand for their honey, but his father wants his son to focus on the traditional beekeeping techniques he’s mastered for the last 50 years. It is a slow moving movie that might send you to sleepy town but there are some fun moments. Besides the bees, the family has a dog, cat, chicken, pigs and two geese. There is a moment while watching this documentary when I realized that the geese have taken over the movie. There’s one in particular that follows Maofu and his father everywhere they go. There’s even an entertaining scuffle between the goose and their dog. There’s a goose in every shot of the film, I’m pretty sure of it.
SUN NOV 13 7:15PM (CC)

Dir: Jerry Rothwell, Reuben Atlas
This movie takes viewers into the world of rare wine auctions and the lifestyles of the wealthy and powerful. The central character is Rudy Kurniawan, a young man of mystery with money to burn and a lover and collector of rare wine. Rudy had a warm personality and made many friends in Hollywood while raking in the dough selling rare and vintage wine at auctions. Laurent Ponsot, a wine producer in Burgundy, France suspects somebody is selling counterfeit versions of his wine through a top auction house. Laurent goes into Sherlock Holmes mode and his investigation brings him all across the globe but all roads lead to the Rudy Kurniawan. This movie was a fun eye opening romp into a world I was totally unfamiliar with. The movie is exciting to watch and is my favorite out of all the documentaries I’ve seen at the festival.
MON NOV 14 8:45PM (CC) + THU NOV 17 12:30 (IFC)

Dir: Damani Baker
This documentary is about the filmmaker’s 1982 journey from California to Grenada with his mother, a black activist and teacher. Around this time in America, President Ronald Reagan’s war on drugs was destroying black communities across the country. Along with fellow activist, Angela Davis and her family they set out to start a new life in a Utopia for black people. At the time, Grenada was overthrown by Maurice Bishop who spearheaded an Afrocentric revolution. The revolution didn’t last too long along with the socialist utopia after the U.S. military invade the island. The movie features footage of Damani’s return to Grenada in 1999 along with interviews that put what went down in Grenada and America at the time in a greater perspective within black history and activism.
TUE NOV 15 1:00PM (IFC) + THU NOV 17 7:45PM (IFC)

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