In North Philadelphia, the Raineys are a regular African-American family who stay strong and loving despite ongoing adversity. Jonathan Olshefski’s powerful documentary follows Christopher and Christine’a, their teenage daughter Patricia (PJ), and Christine’a’s older son William over a ten-year period. The spectacular power of Quest comes from its complete lack of sentimentality. Its unflinching honesty reflects how the Raineys themselves are unapologetically candid, and relentlessly courageous. This is a family with a deep bond of love and faith, and this timely film has a lot to teach us.
The myth of the mermaid spans the globe from the Amazon to the fjords of Scandinavia. Throughout history, the figure of the half-fish, half-human has surfaced with regularity, from the three-thousand- year-old Assyrian figure of Atargatis to the Mami Wata water spirits of West Africa. Modern mermaids are just as diverse, as Ali Weinstein’s charming new film illustrates.
From Egypt’s post-Arab Spring elections to Israel’s “Apartheid Road” to Turkey’s sprawling Syrian refugee camps, journalist Jesse Rosen- feld moves swiftly between countries and areas of conflict as stories surface. Freelancer on the Front Lines reveals how the news is made and disseminated. More than just informing his readers of disturbing events, Rosenfeld hopes to evoke real change through his writing.
When James Pollard is given a terminal cancer diagnosis, he sets about orchestrating his own death. Like any good theatre producer, he researches options into different modes of burial, and the best means and methodologies of preserving his body after death. This may sound slightly morbid, but the practicality, and often surprising amounts of humour, with which James contends with his situation allows for an openness and freedom in dealing with death.
Family life in all its complicated and humble glory is the heart of Mahdi Zamanpour Kiasari’s film. Butterfly follows Zainab, an indomitable young woman, as she goes about daily routines on her family’s farmstead in rural Iran.