Two new documentaries — one a shrewdly incisive work of journalism, the other a delicately elegant tale of injustice and friendship — tell all-but-forgotten histories of Black America. Of America.
As credulous — or con-artist cheaty — as its demon-hunter protagonists, but lacking their charm. Worse, it can’t even be bothered to justify and satisfy the procedural approach to its mystery.
I bawled my eyes out in aching nostalgia with this absolutely delightful dive into the creation of the educational TV show and its carefully crafted chaos that had an outsized impact on Generation X.
“Hunger Ward,” an unvarnished vérité look at starving Yemeni children and the medics trying to save them, best encapsulates the human experience of pain and resilience that all the nominees embody.
An electrifying philosophical fantasia that imagines four towering figures of 1960s America arguing over how to navigate racism as Black men. Enraging, but also thrilling, bursting with cinematic joy.
Beautiful in its style, enraging in its substance, this skewering of the FBI’s surveillance of the civil-rights icon is essential for understanding the near-term roots of white supremacy in America.
The retro pastel optimism is ironic, but the dark stuff slips by in subtext. This bold, colorful tale, recalling classic superhero films, could be happening in a parallel universe… a much nicer one.
A triumph. McQueen brings history to life and makes it sing with zest and passion, with a spirit that endures beyond the strife. A celebration of Black joy alongside a raging against Black oppression.
In an intimate yet shattering documentary, Black British activist Femi Nylander searches for “the imperial history they didn’t teach at school,” and finds it. Heartbreaking, provocative, illuminating.
Apart from the value of its explicatory gloss on anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafly, there is entertaining, gratifying drama in the clash of so many complex feminist women working against her.