It’s that time of year again. For docu-nerds the Museum of Modern Art’s annual Documentary Fortnight is a chance see the most innovative doc films from around the world. This year, MoMA’s 13th edition, features 20 feature-length documentaries delving into topics like African art, an anti-nuclear campaign in Japan, the one-child policy in China, and African-American photography. The Latino films in the program (plus one from Spain) are just as varied. From Mexico to Brazil, to Williamsburg, Brooklyn and Spain they all look at what happens when politics, culture, and class bump up against each other. From the fight over immigration at the U.S. Mexico border to a social club dealing with gentrification in Brooklyn or mass protests in Spain these films give us a peek inside what happens when ideas clash and people stand up to empower themselves.
PURGATORIO: A JOURNEY INTO THE HEART OF THE BORDER
Directed by Rodrigo Reyes (USA/Mexico)
Saturday, February 22, 8pm and Sunday, February 23, 2:30pm
This compelling and provocative meditation on the Mexico/U.S. border presents the area as a Dante-esque place—beautiful, compelling, and brutal. In caméra-stylo (cinematographic and essayistic) fashion, a mosaic of characters and their actions present the flaws and the beauty of human nature and experience. 80 min. Followed by a discussion with director Rodrigo Reyes. New York Premiere.
Directed by Sebastián Díaz, Beyza Boyacioglu (USA)
Saturday, February 22, 2pm and Sunday, February 23, 5pm
Toñita’s is a portrait of the last Puerto Rican social club in South Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The short documentary dives into the microcosm of Caribbean Club (also fondly labeled ‘Toñita’s’ after its owner Maria Toñita), in order to talk about urban space, displacement and identity. The film zigzags between nightlife and daytime activities at the club, and the testimonies of its regulars. Music and dance constitute a crucial part of the film as Toñita’s is a love letter to Nuyorican culture. Followed by a discussion with directors Sebastián Díaz, and Beyza Boyacioglu. New York Premiere. Presented as part of the “Shorts Program: American Stories.”
Directed by Gabriel Mascaro (Brazil)
Wednesday, February 26, 4:30pm and Friday, February 28, 4:30pm
To explore the sociopolitical dynamics between housemaids and their employers in Brazil, the filmmaker gave cameras to seven young people for one week, and asked them to film their housemaids, effectively challenging and renegotiating the roles, intimacy, and power dynamics between employer and servant. New York Premiere.
Directed by Victor Kossakovsky and 32 students (Russia/Spain)
Tuesday, February 25, 4:30 pm and Wednesday, February 26, 8:00 pm
Russian filmmaker Kossakovsky and 32 students in the Master of Creative Documentary course at the Pompeu Fabra University documented mass protests that broke out on March 29, 2012, against the Spanish government’s austerity plans. While banks and shops closed down, Léon Minkus’s Don Quixote played on at the Opera House, becoming the film’s soundtrack.