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‘Toto and His Sisters’ (Nanau, 2014) reviewed by Depo Olukotun


Toto and His Sisters’, the title of the new documentary from Alexandre Nanau, is,  as titles go, unremarkable and innocuous enough. Likewise the Emmy Award-winning director, in the promotional text accompanying it, merely promises  “the astonishing family story of Toto (10) his sisters Ana (17) and Andreea (15)”. Neither of these things prepares you in…

Depo Olukotun | 29/06/2015
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‘Diaries and Communities’ – Czech Underground Cinema of the 1980s, reviewed by Jo Varney


Since the Velvet Revolution of 1989, Czechoslovakia’s underground movements have been slowly rediscovered and the numerous communities of musicians, poets and fine artists accorded their proper place in history. Meanwhile, underground films from the 1980s – and the stories of the men and women who made and watched them  – have languished undiscovered for nearly…

Jo Varney | 25/06/2015
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OPEN CITY DOCS 2015: ‘Together’ (Shabaev, 2014) reviewed by Robin Ashenden


Watching Denis Shabaev’s Together, his documentary about a road trip from Russia to Scandinavia with his nine-year-old daughter, you remember the words of the late, great television writer Dennis Potter: ‘Present tense… that’s all a small child lives in. So a wet Tuesday afternoon can actually be years long, and it – childhood – is…

Robin Ashenden | 21/06/2015
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OPEN CITY DOCS 2015: ‘Daniel’s World’ (Lišková, 2015) reviewed by Ollie Buxton


In the wake of the convictions of Gary Glitter and Rolf Harris, the post-mortem dissection of Jimmy Savile’s character, and murmurings of a historic cover-up that protected and enabled paedophiles going right to the heart of British politics,  the topic of sexual criminality has perhaps never been such an acutely sensitive area, at least within…

Oliver Buxton | 16/06/2015
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OPEN CITY DOCS 2015: ‘The Waiting Point’ (Drndic, 2013) reviewed by Valenka Navea


Croatian director Masa Drndic describes her filmmaking as ‘documenting everyday life… where figures, spaces and situations mirror shadows’ – and certainly one gets a strong sense of the philosophical aesthetic in her films, which grasp these metaphorical ‘shadows’ through a creative use of sound. Layers of meaning are added above the central narrative, but what’s really…

Valenka Navea | 15/06/2015
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OPEN CITY DOCS 2015: ‘Naked Island’ (Gudac, 2014), reviewed by Judith Fagelson


Growing up in post-communist Croatia, documentary-maker Tiha Gudac lived a relatively normal life. She played with her friends, went to school and spent her summers camping with her grandparents. But throughout all this time a shadow hung over her family history.  After decades of silence, the aptly named Tiha (Croatian for “silent”) decides to uncover…

Judith Fagelson | 12/06/2015

Open City Docs Festival: London 16th – 21st June 2015

For details and listings of the 2015 Open City Docs Fest (16 – 21 June) – which this year includes works from Czech Republic, Romania, Croatia and Russia, please click on the right-hand image.    

Robin Ashenden | 09/06/2015
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Documenting Ukraine: Theatre – George Genoux and Natalia Vorozhbit at GRAD, reviewed by Jo Varney


A four-day festival Documenting Ukraine was held last weekend in London bringing together Ukraine’s leading names in documentary cinema and theatre. The theatre section, hosted at GRAD in Central London, comprised two live performances in their main gallery space: acclaimed German theatre director Georg Genoux performed his solo multimedia piece, Anyone Can Be Saint Nikolai,…

Jo Varney | 23/05/2015