In our previous article we looked at the Five Must-See Documentaries at this year’s Soho London Independent Film Festival. For our second “Must See” list we take a look at entries to the festival that have come outside of the U.K.
Inhale (19 mins) – Iran
What’s it about? Ebrahim’s chronic insomnia has caused tension between him and his wife, Marziyeh.
Why you should watch it? A masterfully created drama. Both the two leads Mehrdad Bakhshi (“Ebrahim”) and Neda Asadi (“Marziyeh”) play wonderfully off each other to build the tension in their relationship. The true pay off for this film comes at the end.
Hatshepsut (25 mins) – U.S.A
What’s it about? To bring Egypt into a Golden Age, Pharaoh Hatshepsut, a woman, publicly appeared, and fought as a man – but loved as a woman. A true tale of love and courage despite everything.
Why you should watch it? Hopefully this gets commissioned for its own series. From set designs and costumes this drama is fully emerses itself in ancient Egypt. The storytelling is magnificent too.
Lumen (5 mins) – France
What’s it about? At the end of the tunnel or beyond the corridor, the promise of light project our shadows and rekindles our hopes. This is what this man tells us: stuck in a black page of his life that brings him to nothing, he desperately seeks the ray of light that will rekindle his flame.
Why you should watch it? The brilliance of the film is how much it can convey with no dialogue. It works perfectly as a short film, and allows audiences to debate different interpretations of how literal or metaphorical the ending is.
Hello Sunshine (13 mins) – U.S.A
What’s it about? Roz Pichardo is more than a domestic violence and gun violence survivor, she’s a warrior. Despite of – or because of – being thrown off a bridge by an abusive ex-boyfriend, the unsolved murder of her brother, and the suicide of her identical twin sister, she’s able to channel her trauma into service by helping the often-forgotten people of North Philadelphia.
From giving comfort to families of murder victims to saving the lives of over 500 men and women in active opioid addiction, Roz knows that her healing and her survival depends upon healing others.
Why you should watch it? Despite Rox Pichardo’s backstory, the documentary does a great job of highlighting Rox’s incredible journey of overcoming rather than a focus on the traumatic events that happened throughout her life. Rox speaks with great honesty and openness about her experience, as a result we are treated to a lovely a heart warming look at someone who has now dedicated her life to helping others.
Sheer Qorma (30 mins) – India
What’s it about? Sheer Qorma is a story of belonging and acceptance, identity and family, and how it comes together under one roof, as resilient, queer Muslim women and non-binary characters of colour, choose to embrace love that exists beyond their personal beliefs and social moralities.
Why you should watch it? The well developed characters and great script writing are really the key highlights of this film. Writer / director, Faraz Arif Ansari has done a great job in the exploring the interpretation of beliefs within a complex family dynamic.
If you liked these films check out the rest of the film selection by clicking the link above and seeing the full programme for the Soho London Independent Film Festival.