Wedding venue

What documentaries to watch at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival

The Tribeca Film Festival offers one of the most diverse menus of new documentaries New Yorkers can see in one place. There are biographies of musicians ranging from Sinead O’Connor at Little baby at The document. sports personalities like Colin Kaepernick, John McEnroe, Derek Jeterand Jeremy Lin have their own profiles. Activists and politicians, including Al Sharton, Rosa Parksand Rudy Giulani (in the form of a musical, of all things) are also represented. dream walls, a document about the torturous renovation of the Chelsea Hotel that we previously presented in Berlin, also makes its New York debut at the festival. Beyond these immediately and easily pitchable titles, there are a few others that should not be overlooked at Tribeca.

During the 2018 midterm elections, Rachel Lears and her team tracked several women challenging the political establishment and running for office. The resulting movie, Knock down the house (2019), ended up capturing the successful campaigns of future “Squad” members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Cori Bush. Now Lears has done some sort of sequel, Until the end, which again follows Ocasio-Cortez, joined here by a trio of young activists, as they fight for the Green New Deal and “Build Back Better” plans. As the title suggests, it’s a portrait of the growing desperation we face in our efforts to enact some sort of climate change legislation as the window of time remaining in which we can take meaningful action closes.

Of After Sherman (2022), dir. Jon-Sesrie Goff

While Tribeca tends to favor traditional documentaries, there are a few more experimental and impressionistic films in the mix. With After Sherman, Jon Sesrie Goff uses an array of techniques, including sporadic animations and archival material, to explore his hometown and the land his family has owned since they bought it over a century ago, shortly after the emancipation of slaves in the United States. Goff contrasts the transformation his family and their community have wrought on the land with the evolution of a historic plantation next door into a fashionable wedding venue. The film’s “opposing gaze” investigates what has changed and what hasn’t changed over the painfully long story arc.

Of Matter (2022), dir. Jennifer Tiexiera and Camilla Hall

An ambitious project takes a step back to probe the documentary field as a whole. Topicct tracks the main characters of high-profile non-fiction films, seeing how the experience of being scrutinized in this way has impacted their lives. They range tracks from newer movies like the ones from 2015 The pack of wolves or 2013 The place to older works such as those from 2003 Capture the Friedmans and even the pivot of 1994 Hoop dreams. Revisiting these films with new considerations around the ethics of non-fiction storytelling and the responsibility directors have to their subjects, the documentary poses thought-provoking questions for filmmakers and audiences alike.

Of liquor store dreams (2022), dir. So Yun Um

Kristy Guevara-Flanagan Parts of the body is a deep dive into how sex scenes are shot for film and television, offering critical, first-hand insight into the literal construction of the “male gaze” (and attempts to avoid it). In liquor store dreams, So Yun Um explores the milieu of Korean immigrant liquor store owners in Southern California, primarily through the story of her own family’s store. Shot against the backdrop of the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests, it examines the tensions between different POC groups and how these times underscore an even greater need for solidarity and cooperation than ever before. With The wild, Tessa Louise-Salomé tells the life story of Jack Garfein, who survived the Nazi concentration camps and became an influential Hollywood director and co-founder of the Actors Studio. There’s a ton to see at the festival, whatever your interest.

The Tribeca Film Festival runs June 8-19 at various locations in New York City, with some programs online.