10%: What Makes a Hero?
What makes a hero? What compels someone to stand up for what’s right, to defy social pressures and fight for one’s beliefs? Award-winning director Yoav Shamir (“Defamation,” TCFF ‘09) sets off on a quest in pursuit of the elusive “hero gene” that takes him around the globe, from his home in Israel where activists stand up against the occupation of Palestine; to Congo where primatologists study social structures in bonobos; and on to New York where a “subway hero” risked his life to save someone who fell on the tracks. With a fearless and wryly playful style, Shamir’s film is a fascinating look at morality that will challenge your preconceived notions of heroism.
For the last two decades, Doug Block has supported his documentary filmmaking career by moonlighting as a wedding videographer. 112 Weddings later, he has amassed hundreds of hours of footage of couples on their big day when their love was new and energetic. But what are their marriages like years later? Who has kept the spark and who has lost it? Block revisits nine couples to see how their marriages are (or aren’t) working out, asking the difficult questions about what it takes to make a relationship work. From ecstatic celebrations to intimate and candid present-day interviews, “112 Weddings” explores love and the true meaning of commitment with curiosity, humor, and heart.
This year’s great music doc gives an all-access pass to the star-studded 12-12-12 benefit concert at Madison Square Garden, featuring performances by a who’s who of the last half-century of rock and pop music, including Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Eric Clapton, Kanye West, Alicia Keys, and more. Set against the backdrop of Hurricane Sandy’s devastating effects on New York City and ongoing recovery efforts, directors Amir Bar-Lev (“The Tillman Story,” TCFF ‘10) and Charlie Lightning mix energetic performance footage with casually hilarious candid moments from backstage in this expertly made concert doc.
Joining the great genre of improbable heist movies is the true story of government protestors who used the Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier fight at Madison Square Garden as cover to handily defeat J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI at the height of the Vietnam War. Meet the members of the Citizens’ Commission to Investigate the FBI, who used crowbars instead of computers to expose government records to the media in March, 1971. Retold by the participants, confessing on camera for the first time, and through archival footage combined with compelling reenactments, we see the fascinating parallels between Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, and this small group of dedicated academic activists who exposed thousands of files from a regional FBI office.
5 Broken Cameras
We’ll never forget having Emad Burnat and his family here in Traverse City for sold-out screenings that helped launch the film’s successful run to an Oscar nomination bid. When Palestinian farmer Emad Burnat purchased a video camera to record the birth of his son Jibreel, the joyous family moment coincided with the invasion of Israeli bulldozers set to make way for Jewish colonists. Burnat joined in his town’s peaceful resistance against the advancing settlers, documenting his involvement with the five titular cameras that became casualties of the ongoing border conflict, smashed or shot over the course of five years of harrowing demonstrations. The resulting footage, which Burnat reconstructed collaboratively with Israeli filmmaker Guy Davidi, presents a microcosm of an international tragedy reframed through the lenses of one family’s experience. A brilliant, wrenching, devastating film, not to be missed.
5 to 7
Maybe there are some people you are meant to love, and some you are meant to marry—this idea, and the French “cinq à sept” affair (liaisons scheduled during that hazy time between leaving work and arriving home) are explored in this gloriously romantic, Audrey Hepburn-esque love story. After Bérénice Marlohe (“Skyfall”) and aspiring writer Anton Yelchin (“Star Trek”) fall in love at first sight, it takes time for him to accept the open relationship she has with her husband, but soon he’s attending the married couple’s dinner parties with the husband’s mistress in attendance, too. His parents (Glenn Close and Frank Langella) are memorably slower to accept the concept, and eventually, he has to decide if the 5 to 7 window is enough. A funny and earnestly sentimental crowd pleaser, “5 to 7” has the power to change the way we think about relationships.