In The Palyul Elementary School, a teacher named Palden Nyandrak offers us a close look his pupil’s daily life — from the classroom to the playground. Yak Dung explores how manure provides everything from heat and light to children’s toys and Buddhist figurines.
In the early 1970s, two bloody uprisings at tobacco and chocolate factories in Lebanon held the promise of popular revolution and women’s emancipation. But when the Lebanese civil war erupted only a couple of years later, the cultural significance of the women and workers’ movement was wiped clean from the country’s collective memory.
Lorello and Brunello are twin bachelor-brother farmers in Grosseto, Italy. In director Jacopo Quadri’s patiently observed study of their life and work, the gentle rhythms and cycles of nature cast an irrevocable spell. The Biondi Brothers are a taciturn pair, what we learn about them comes from an aged relative named Ultimina, who talks to the camera while collecting her mail. She adores her nephews, but not so much their hapless cousin Giuliano and his truant pigs.
Originally created to protect the Green Bank Radio Telescope from terrestrial radio transmissions, the National Radio Quiet Zone in West Virginia, is home to a community of people who suffer from electromagnetic hypersensitivity.
After the trauma, turmoil, and dislocation of war, how does one begin to pick up the pieces and heal? In 2010, Syrian-Canadian filmmaker Amar Chebib headed to Syria, just months before chaos broke out, to film a short documentary about traditional Sufi music. Five years later, the friends he encountered on his trip are dispersed around Europe, and have become refugees like so many others who were forced to flee Aleppo.
Bing Liu focuses his camera on his tight-knit group of skateboarding friends in this deeply personal study of young adulthood, offering insight on the construction of masculinity, and its relationship to cycles of violence.
Each September, Bolot Tagaev and his family practice a centuries old tradition, harvesting walnuts in one of the oldest walnut forests in Kyrgyzstan. Over the course of a single season, director Zaheed Mawani gracefully captures delicate sequences such as a child interacting with a snake, or sacks of walnuts being laid gently across an attic bed. Stories attached to the forest are told and retold over the fire at night, adding a mythic dimension.