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Framing Disaster: Stunning Images at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival

Framing Disaster: Stunning Images at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival

Over at Tomorrow Unlimited, I’ve written up a brief report on this year’s Human Rights Watch International Film Festival, which is marked by an exceptional number of beautifully made documentaries about the conflicts, injustices and atrocities of our current times. At last night’s opening benefit, talk circled around the number of docs that are stunningly photographed and about photography itself, namely such strong entries as “The Devil Came on Horseback,” “The City of Photographers,” and “Manufactured Landscapes.” There’s also “Sari’s Mother,” James Longley’s exquisitely constructed piece exorcised from “Iraq in Fragments,” and Laura Dunn’s lyrical Austin-based land-use expose, “The Unforeseen.”

This year’s HRWIFF seems to show that the activist doc has grown into a fully blooming aesthetic force. While none of these films will make the sort of mass impact that Michael Moore or “Inconvenient Truth” have, they do show the infinite creative possibilities of the form. As I write at the Tomorrow Unlimited site, “With images that are as beautiful as they are disturbing, you’ll be forced to look rather than turn away.”

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