Documentaries Turning National Issues Into International Controversies

by on February 25th, 2015
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Whistle-blowing documentaries capture the attention of moviegoers who want to know more about issues with international importance. Some of these films feature themes concerning government conspiracies, insider look at historical events, and revelations about famed spiritual or religious movements.

“The Sorrow and the Pity” (1969)

The controversial French documentary “The Sorrow and the Pity” mixes archival footage and interviews with German and French personalities from World War II, particularly those who witnessed or were involved in the Holocaust. The film provides revelations about the French government’s collaboration with the Nazis as part of a collective secret to persecute the Jews, including Jews with French citizenship.

The documentary provides a range of accounts on the nature of the occupation and issues like xenophobia, antisemitism, communism, and fascism during the period. Because of its delicate, serious subject matter, “Sorrow and the Pity” was unable to air on French television for many years.

“The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” (2003)

“The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” also called “Chavez: Inside the Coup,” chronicles unexpected events shot by an Irish film crew surrounding Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Focusing on the events leading up to a coup d’etat that saw the removal of the president from office for two days, this riveting cinematic piece offers unique, dramatic footage of the ultimately unsuccessful insurrection. The film features rare, genuine audio-visual content about what happened in the government’s internal circle during those times.

This award-winning documentary examines the key incidents during the coup; including the role played by Venezuela’s private media; the protest march and violence that happened; and the formation of an interim government led by business leader Pedro Carmona and its subsequent collapse, which paved the way for Chavez’s return to office. The filmmakers spent about seven months following Chavez and his staff and interviewing ordinary citizens in 2002 until the coup unfolded in 2003. From there, they also captured footage of protesters and other significant political upheavals inside the presidential palace known as the Miraflores.

“David Wants to Fly” (2010)

“David Wants to Fly” is an expose of Transcendental Meditation (TM). It follows a young German filmmaker’s pursuit of his idol, filmmaker and TM practitioner David Lynch, which leads to a journey of inspiration, doubt, and disillusionment.

It provides clips of interviews with Lynch, Indian gurus, a former disillusioned financier of the movement, a shaman woman, and other people involved in the organization. The filmmaker travels from one exotic locale to the next, from Holland to India, to learn more about TM. In between, he, along with his girlfriend, also encounters his own spiritual touches, insights, and convictions about the subject matter.

This critically acclaimed documentary is filmed with intriguing flair, challenging society’s views on faith, spirituality, and double standards. It offers well-mounted, investigative research that adds spiritual zest to the film’s storytelling. From an artist’s documentation of something that inspires him, the film soon raises the doubts and fears of what TM is all about.

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