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Your search by 'Social Issues' identified 36 films

Morocco 2019 98 min.

Friendships aren’t always easy, as Samia, a young woman pregnant out of wedlock, finds when she’s grudgingly taken in by Abla, a single mother and grieving widow. But in this quietly stirring Moroccan drama, both women have something to learn through their improbable sisterhood.

After Parkland
USA 2019 92 min.

Filmed in the aftermath of the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, this documentary intimately chronicles the plight of grieving students and parents as they strive to come to grips with the unthinkable tragedy and search for ways to make sense of the senseless.

American Dharma
USA 2018 95 min.

The inimitable Errol Morris sits down with self-described “apocalyptic nationalist” and political strategist Steve Bannon in a documentary that will be irresistible to political junkies and blood-boiling to anyone who has deliberately avoided the news over the past few years.

United Kingdom 2019 89 min.

Martin is a fisherman in a small Cornish village turned vacation spot, where he’s at war with everyone: tourists, the neighbors who welcome them, even his own family. Shot in black-and-white on 16mm, this drama brings the conflict between tradition and modernity into high relief.

By the Name of Tania
Belgium 2019 85 min.

Documentary and narrative fiction merge in this spellbinding experimental tale of a young woman who travels up the Amazon from her small village to the gold-mining towns of northern Peru in search of a better life, only to get caught in the trap of violence and degradation set by poverty.

Castle of Dreams
Iran 2019 86 min.

Having abandoned his family some years ago, scoundrel Jalal reappears in the lives of his children, Sara and Ali, at a most inopportune time—only to escort them on a most inauspicious road trip in this subtly moving Iranian drama.

USA 2019 113 min.

Prison warden Bernadine Williams (Alfre Woodard) scrupulously maintains her emotional distance from everyone and everything—including a failing marriage and a botched execution. But with plans to carry out another death sentence underway, her nerves are starting to fray in this devastating drama.

The County
Iceland 2019 92 min.

Meet Inga, a middle-aged dairy farmer who’s channeling her grief over the death of her husband into a fight against both institutional corruption and the patriarchy behind it in this high-spirited drama from Iceland.

A Family Tour
Taiwan 2018 107 min.

The personal is political—never more so than in this sometimes comically absurd, often heartrending drama, loosely based on director Ying Liang’s own experience, about an exiled Chinese filmmaker whose only way to see her ailing mother is to travel to Taiwan and stalk the elder woman’s tour group.

The Fever
Brazil 2019 98 min.

Against a backdrop of destruction in the Amazon rainforest, this eloquent Brazilian drama centers on indigenous widower Justino, who long ago left his home with the Desana tribe to make a living in the city. Now it’s his daughter’s turn to leave for school—just as he’s contracted a mysterious fever.

Frances Ferguson
USA 2019 74 min.

Longtime fest guest Bob Byington is back with this hilariously cynical, occasionally hopeful comedy about a substitute high-school teacher who finds herself briefly incarcerated after a fling with a student. Turns out the worst thing that ever happens to you can also be the best thing.

The Great American Lie
USA 2019 99 min.

The American Dream may be the most enduring tale we as a nation tell ourselves. But is the guarantee of upward mobility in exchange for hard work—regardless of color, class, or creed—just a myth? This frank documentary asks whether we’re lying to ourselves about the even level of the playing field.

Happy New Year
Hungary 2018 102 min.

In this Carveresque Hungarian dramedy, a group of lifelong friends comes together on New Year’s Eve for a dinner celebration. When they decide to play a little game involving the messages they receive on their cell phones, secrets emerge to suggest their future will not be happy for long.

The Human Factor
United Kingdom 2019 108 min.

With unprecedented access to key players, this absorbing behind-the-scenes documentary reveals how, in the 1990s, the United States nearly achieved the impossible—securing peace between Israel and its neighbors. The lessons to be learned from the not-so-distant past couldn’t be more urgent.

The Infiltrators
USA 2019 95 min.

In this experimental documentary, a group of undocumented young people purposely get detained by ICE in order to infiltrate a for-profit detention center where people are held for years without due process. Their goal: to reunite detainees with their families by gaming the system from within.

Kabul, City in the Wind
Afghanistan 2018 88 min.

Against a backdrop of military occupation and suicide bombings, life goes on in the capital of Afghanistan, unfolding in this lyrical, achingly gentle portrait of ordinary people struggling to get by—among them hapless bus driver Abas and Afshin, ordained “man of the house” at the tender age of 12.

Love Trilogy: Chained
Israel 2019 112 min.

From a semi-improvised script by Israel’s Yaron Shani comes a forceful examination of toxic masculinity in the form of veteran cop Rashi, who sees himself as a force for good. But as he faces assault charges at work and fomenting rebellion at home, he’s bound to begin questioning his own authority.

France 2018 105 min.

In this searing documentary about rampant sexual abuse within a sect of ultra-Orthodox Jews, a man scarred by his childhood returns home to his old community on the outskirts of Tel Aviv in search of answers. Or apologies. Or reconciliation. Or vengeance. The truth is even he’s not sure.

Manta Ray
Thailand 2018 105 min.

Near the coast of Thailand where thousands of Rohingya refugees have drowned, a local fisherman bonds with an injured stranger he has rescued from certain death. When the good samaritan himself disappears at sea, his new friend steps in to fill the void in this profound and multilayered drama.

Midnight Family
Mexico 2019 90 min.

This harrowing documentary follows the Ochoa family as they run a private ambulance service in Mexico City. In a sprawling metropolis that’s home to 9 million people but fewer than 50 public ambulances, they compete with other for-profit EMTs for patients while struggling with their own ills.

The Miracle of the Sargasso Sea
Greece 2019 121 min.

The tiny Greek town of Missolonghi is the kind of place where the residents are as miserable as any eel they process in the local factory. But as the secrets they’ve long harbored seep out into the open, their jaded police chief sees a chance for redemption in this pitch-dark psychological thriller.

Mr. Toilet: The World's #2 Man
USA 2019 86 min.

As the founder of the World Toilet Organization, Jack Sim knows that the lack of access to bathrooms is a global health crisis. By “turning poop culture into pop culture,” he’s on a crusade to improve sanitation for billions of people in this surprisingly funny, heartfelt, and complex documentary.

USA 2018 75 min.

In 2011, Stephen McCoy set out to make a documentary about Boston’s homeless, dubbing the outcasts and addicts whose lives he captured with his camcorder “nightcrawlers.” Little did the budding filmmaker know that, a few years later, he’d be one of them. This is his video diary.

Noah Land
Turkey 2019 109 min.

What is love? What is faith? What is honor? While drawing, with deep sensitivity, a portrait of a terminally ill father whose son is struggling to uphold his wish to be buried beneath a tree that’s believed to be holy, this Turkish drama also grapples with timeless moral and existential dilemmas.

USA 2019 110 min.

In Pahokee, a small agricultural town in the Florida Everglades, many young people share one overriding goal: to get out. This nuanced, engaging documentary follows four high-school seniors as they face the challenges that await us all on the cusp of adulthood.

USA 2019 86 min.

This raw, intimate portrait of a young woman confronting the complexities of the adult world over the course of a summer in Harlem is at once timeless and bracingly contemporary. Make note of director Rashaad Ernesto Green and co-writer/lead actress Zora Howard as talents to watch.

Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project
USA 2019 87 min.

For more than 30 years, 24/7, eccentric activist Marion Stokes obsessively recorded American television news programs, preserving the truth even as networks secretly dropped their archives into the trashcan of history. This fascinating time capsule of a documentary explores her priceless legacy.

USA 2019 86 min.

Digging through the vast collection of his father’s home videos, filmmaker Sasha Joseph Neulinger enlists his family to help him retell the story of childhood abuse that tore them apart—and to reveal the even darker secret at its core—in this devastating but ultimately hopeful documentary.

The Right to Rest
USA 2018 103 min.

This locally produced documentary takes a look at Denver’s burgeoning homeless population in the context of a likewise-growing homeless-rights movement. How do governmental policies designed to turn Denver into a “world-class city” impact its most vulnerable citizens?

USA 2019 96 min.

The National Enquirer pumps out salacious stories that stretch the limits of journalism, truth, and often decency—but it’s a potent cultural (and arguably political) force. This entertaining documentary examines the tabloid that has fed our obsession with the rich and famous for decades.

Scheme Birds
United Kingdom 2018 90 min.

Growing up on the hardscrabble outskirts of Glasgow, teenaged Gemma has already seen enough trouble to last a lifetime. But there’s so much more to come in this startling, clear-eyed but compassionate documentary, which does its subject the justice she deserves by daring to show her just as she is.

17 Blocks
USA 2019 96 min.

For 20 years, the Sanford-Durant family has been using a video camera to record their daily lives in one of America’s most dangerous neighborhoods—just 17 blocks from the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. This searingly personal documentary gives new meaning to the term “raw footage.”

China 2018 95 min.

In this visually dazzling, fabulistic work of stop-motion animation from China, a high-heeled mother shoe survives in a fascistic dystopia by disguising herself as a male shoe in order to care for her young daughter (also, you guessed it, a shoe).

So Pretty
USA 2019 83 min.

Combining narrative fiction with documentary and 16mm film with cellphone footage, Jessie Jeffrey Dunn Ravinelli captures the daily lives, challenges, dreams, and desires of four trans and queer youth in New York City.

Sorry We Missed You
United Kingdom 2019 100 min.

When Ricky takes a contract job as a delivery driver, his struggling family hopes they’ve finally gotten the break from debt they so badly need. But the fine print on that contract is about to be writ large, and it will take a toll on them all in this stirring drama from British director Ken Loach.

Young Ahmed
Belgium 2019 90 min.

Renowned Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne won the Best Director award at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival for this complex, engrossing drama about a young Muslim teen on a road to radicalization that seems to have no off-ramp.

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