MOVIE OF THE WEEK, October 26, 2018: LIYANA

motw logo 1-35Profound and poignant, the documentary affirms the value of story and storytelling as emotional relief and an element in healing for those who’ve been traumatized — the five orphaned children followed in this extraordinary documentary and, by extension, the survivors of war, rape, genocide, drought, starvation, extreme poverty and other disasters around the globe. Movies can matter. Liyana clearly does.

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LIYANA – Review by Loren King

Liyana is an innovative blend of documentary and animation that tells a moving story of resiliency and the power of imagination. Directors Aaron and Amanda Kopp follow orphaned children in Swaziland, who’ve suffered traumas from abduction to assault; and most have lost parents to AIDS (Swaziland has the highest HIV prevalence rate in the world). Well-known South African actress, activist and storyteller Gina Mhlophe leads the kids in storytelling sessions that are therapeutic.

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LIYANA – Review by Cate Marquis

In Amanda and Aaron Kopp’s touching documentary, an acclaimed South Africa storyteller, Gcina Mhope, guides a group of orphans in Swaziland as they craft their own fairy tale story about a girl named Liyana. The children live in a peaceful rural compound, surrounded by mountains and rolling fields, but their lives before they came to this idyllic spot have been anything but peaceful.

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FAHRENHEIT 11/9 – Review by Diane Carson

Fahrenheit 11/9 sounds a clarion call to political action. As with his politics, Michael Moore’s documentaries have never been subtle. So Fahrenheit 11/9 comes as no surprise with its compelling, vibrant approach to contemporary American issues. To support his case regarding our appalling milieu, Moore tackles a range of topics from President Trump’s bellicose comments to teachers’ strikes; Flint’s water crisis; Parkland, Florida shootings; and more.

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JANE FONDA IN FIVE ACTS – Review by Jeanne Wolf

If you thought you knew Jane Fonda after decades of watching her life and art unfold in the public eye you’re in a for a surprise. Susan Lacy’s HBO documentary Jane Fonda in Five Acts takes you deeper than ever before into the Hollywood legend’s personal successes and failures, her hopes and dreams, and her true grit.

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SCIENCE FAIR — Martha K Baker

Science Fair studies young scientists in competition. As one who never had the intellectual mettle or the mentors for a science project, I approached Science Fair, a National Geographic documentary, with traumatic stress. I came away from its lessons in tears, impressed with all those teenagers from all those countries, placing in the world of science.

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RYUICHI SAKAMOTO: CODA – Review by Diane Carson

Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda profiles this talented, humble composer. Some rare, wonderful individuals have the gift of modeling ways to approach life and persevere in the face of illness. One of those amazing people is Ryuichi Sakamoto, an award-winning Japanese musician and an environmental activist. In the documentary tribute to him, Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda, director Stephen Nomura Schible captures his spirit, his art, and his inspirational approach to society.

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OVER THE LIMIT — Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Marta Prus’s documentary Over the Limit about world champion Russian gymnast Margarita (Rita) Mamun has perhaps unavoidably drawn comparisons to I, Tonya, Black Swan, and even Whiplash, comparisons which – while gesticulating towards the power dynamics inherent to supposed ‘success’ in a given field – undermine one single, crucial fact: this is a real story, not a made-up one or a fictionalised retelling.

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