MOVIE: THE INFILTRATORS
DIRECTED BY: CHRISTINA IBARRA; ALEX RIVERA
A documentary that should stand out for being relatable to our current climate on immigration in the United States is The Infiltrators. It is a mixture of reenactments and live footage, captured from 2014-2016, documenting a group of undocumented citizens that risk their well-being by submitting themselves to detainment at the Broward County prison. It is all in order to infiltrate the immigration system in our country, prove to others that good people are being held in custody, and help those that have been wrongfully imprisoned without given an easy path to citizenship. One of the funny facts of this film is how it takes place two years prior to the arrival of Trump, making it concrete proof that his tactics have always been fear based, racist cries to rile people up against immigrants. Although I did not love the acting in some of the reenactments and the ending felt incomplete, there is a lot to absorb and learn from watching The Infiltrators.
MOVIE: KNOCK DOWN THE HOUSE
DIRECTED BY: RACHEL LEARS
The headlining person of interest in the excellent documentary- Knock Down the House will be the notorious AOC- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has made a massive impact and impression on the United States government already. However, I want audience members to know that Knock Down the House is not just about one person, it is about four specific women, three running for the house of representatives, in an election year that saw massive increases in women and people of color. This was an election that had a surge of working class people, hearing the call, and committing to serving this country. This documentary captures West Virginia senate candidate Paula Jean Swearingen working with less money to run against Joe Mancin, or Nevada candidate Amy Vilela, whose story is so passionate and heartbreaking that I would vote for her in any race. Knock Down the House is an impressive capturing of a political moment in time and a strong representation of the movement that is taking place in the United States of America.
MOVIE: HAIL SATAN?
DIRECTED BY: PENNY LANE
Speaking of documentaries that will get you talking, how about a movie about the religious group known as The Satanic Temple? Director Penny Lane has a history of making films that are unique and ultimately fascinating too. Hail Satan? is another massive hit, capturing interviews and footage of various people involved in the United States chapters of the Satanic Temple. They span from Santa Cruz, California to Detroit, Michigan and various other locations across the U.S. What Hail Satan? does a great job of doing is showing how real these people are in their beliefs for uniting as a group and fighting against those who believe that the United Stats is only a Christian nation. As someone who stopped being a believer of Catholicism a long time ago, I grabbed onto the films message of pointing out the hypocrisy of the world. If that message needs to be spread by people of a Satanic Temple, than so be it. Besides, Penny Lane does a great job of revealing that they all seem like very nice people. Hail Satan? I guess so.
MOVIE: MIKE WALLACE IS HERE
DIRECTED BY: AVI BELKIN
When we think of impressive interviewers, Mike Wallace might be the best of all time. In a lot of ways he created the “gotcha” moments on television, from his days on Night Beat or The Mike Wallace Interview show, and his powerful years on 60 Minutes, he rose to the top as the premiere journalist to interview controversial or powerful figures. In Mike Wallace is Here, director Avi Belkin uses Wallace's own words, interviews, and coverage of his work to create a fast moving documentary. I was reminded of other documentaries, such as Maria by Callas or Listen to Me Marlon, but this is more focused on the central relationship that a journalist has with his subject, the digging questions they must ask, and how Mike Wallace was clearly, one of a kind.
The Doc10 Film Festival is in its fourth year and yet, this is the first time I am covering this fantastic festival, taking place April 11th-14th at the Davis Theater in Chicago. It's no surprise that this festival continues to become popular. Year after year, the documentary form grows as the type of storytelling that audiences want to see, from true crime stories, to unique people that deserve their lives to be talked about, and inspiring journalism, documentaries continue to breathe life into us. Similar to years past, this looks to be another successful program, put together by the Chicago Media Project and featuring a collection of films that will be talked about till award season. Here are a few of the documentaries that AMovieGuy.com thinks you must-see: