The Last Fest Report: Full Body 2022: Half 3


Russian opposition chief Alexei Navalny and footage of his poisoners in Daniel Roher’s NAVALNY

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My protection of the twenty fifth Annual Full Body Documentary Movie Competition now concludes with my musings on the final three docs I watched whereas exercise-biking, and carrying pajama pants – the one pluses to having to observe the competition’s choices at dwelling as a substitute of on the Carolina Theatre, and the encircling venues in downtown Durham, N.C. Right here’s hoping we will all get again to that in 2023. I’ve made this joke earlier than, however when Full Body does return in full impact from all of the pandemic-set situations, this system will probably be nothing however documentaries in regards to the pandemic. Yeah, it’s not likely that a lot of a joke.

Anyway, onto Daniel Roher’s NAVALNY, which has been likened by many critics to a thriller for its detailing of the investigation into the poisoning of Russian opposition chief Alexei Navalny. The 44-year outdated anti-authoritarian was contaminated with a nerve agent, later to be revealed as Russian president Vladimir Putin’s “signature poison,” on a flight dwelling to Moscow from Siberia in 2020. After recuperating from a coma in exile, Navalny goes undercover in Germany to search out the boys behind the assassination try, and additional expose the wide-ranging corruption of Putin’s regime with the assistance of journalist/hacker Christo Grozev.


The media-savvy Navalny is a charismatic, jovial dude who makes an excellent protagonist/narrator for the movie, as he takes us via the paces of his procedural, which entails an elaborate proof board (also referred to as a “loopy wall,” or “homicide map”) – , a wall coated in footage of individuals, newspaper clippings, charts, and so on. linked with strings – and, funnily sufficient, tik tok movies. One of many movie’s most important moments comes when Navalny, posing as a fellow conspirator within the poisoning plot, will get a Federal Safety Service (FSB) scientist to substantiate in nice element how the state-sanctioned homicide endeavor went down.


NAVALNY is certainly an exhilarating portrait of a pushed man, and his mission, and is the most effective movie I skilled at Full Body 2020. Search for it on the competition circuit now, and, with hope, in theatrical launch later, earlier than it finds its eventual dwelling on HBO and CNN, the shops chargeable for its manufacturing.


Subsequent up, Jon Ayon’s doc quick NO SOY ÓSCAR, which insightfully shows s rather a lot in its 15-minute operating time because it follows the journey of the filmmaker via the treacherous border areas between the U.S. and Mexico in the hunt for the realm the place Salvadoran migrants Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his younger daughter, Angie Valeria, drowned. 

Whereas it contemplates harrowing, heady points, the movie is extra meditation on the which means of the totally divisive, and lethal harmful border wall which Ayon describes as a “Trump impressed, ridiculous monstrosity of concrete and metal.” NO SOY ÓSCAR received the President’s Award for Greatest Quick at this 12 months’s fest, however no phrase but as to its availability both theatrically or streaming within the coming months. I’ll maintain you posted. 

Lastly, a really fascinating doc that ended my Full Body 2022 expertise properly, Yaara Bou Melhem’s UNSEEN SKIES, which explores the work of panorama artist, photographer, geographer, and creator Trevor Paglen, who focuses on learning mass surveillance. We witness his processes by way of his time-exposure images displaying the streaks of sunshine left by categorized satellites taken within the Nevada desert, as his prepares to launch a 100-foot-long mylar sculpture into area, a $1.5 million mission dubbed Orbital Reflector.

The mission runs into purple tape because it apparently didn’t match into Trump’s idea for House Pressure, however the bureaucratic trouble doesn’t deter Paglen from his life’s ardour of watching the skies. The movie has a shiny look, but it surely effectively accommodates Tom Bannigan’s cinematography, which captures the rocky terrain, and the milky method above it so stunningly that it actually makes this the doc with probably the most eye-popping surroundings on the fest this 12 months. Bou Melhem’s movie equally honors expertise, and artwork, however like lots of the finest docs at Full Body (or docs generally) it most celebrates perseverance within the face of odds it doesn’t matter what measurement. 

In order that’s my protection of Full Body 2022. Whereas there have been a very good variety of worthwhile docs, the competition as an online-only occasion is carrying skinny. There have been instances all through the four-day occasion that after I took a break from the movies and would do different stuff, that I might virtually neglect the fest was occurring, and that’s unacceptable in my world. This will’t be the way it goes down subsequent 12 months, new strains of coronavirus be damned. Come April 2023, this factor higher be again on in full. You hear this lowly blogger? You Full Framers get on it!


Extra later…


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