Image from the documentary 09:11 Zulu - Special Forces at the job

09:11 Zulu - Special Forces at the job

  • Year 2006
  • Director Viktor Franke
  • Country Afghanistan
  • Duration 55 min.

Story
Embedded as a war journalist filmmaker Viktor Franke joined the Dutch and US Special Forces for more than two months in the heart of enemy Taliban lines in Uruzgan. In vivid detail the film shows how the special forces operate in enemy territory. At the end they are ambushed, a fierce fight entails that lasted or more than an hour. After a short cease fire they are attacked again; Viktor's camera runs out of batteries, he picks up a gun and fights for his life.

Social Interest
WHAT IS IT THAT DRIVES MENTALLY STABLE, more than average intelligent, super fit and adequate men to eagerly delve into the Heart of Darkness, to chopper into the Valley of the Shadow of Death, accompanied only by existential fear and complete trust in 'the guy next to ya'. That is the bold question to which filmmaker Vik Franke likes to have an answer. A first for an embedded filmmaker.

Historic Relevance
Uruzgan is the desolate, barren central province in Afghanistan, birth ground of mullah Omar. The Taliban have maximum latitude, drugs traffic is the feeble main economic force and political power is executed along medieval lines. This is the theater in which the 21st century hi-tech special forces operators move around in Chinook helicopters, covered by Apache helicopters, upping against invincible and experienced warriors who have already ousted the Mongols, the English and the Russians.

Political Relevance
In the words of Rudyard Kipling: When you are wounded and left; On Afghanistan's plains; And the women come out; To cut up your remains; Just roll on your rifle; And blow out your brains; And go to your God; Like a soldier. In the past 200 years Afghanistan has been occupied many times by foreign forces, but in the end the Afghan 'rebels' have always come out victorious (See 'The Devils Wind'). The Russian occupation and the following civil war have left Afghanistan in rubbles. Although the world has a duty to help rebuild the nation, the question is: will we succeed?

Controversy
November 20th 2006 "09:11 Zulu" was broadcast on Dutch national television. The press was all over the film & questions were asked in Parliament to the Secretaries of Defence and Foreign Affairs about some strong political statements the soldiers had made in the film. This turbulence was stronger then a month earlier, when Viktor Franke was also all over the newspapers & TV on the incident. By actively participating n the fight, Viktor Franke had violated the neutrality of the press.

Buy the DVD
You can buy the DVD or order the film for broadcast or theatrical release through the following links:

  • Vik Franke's homepage
  • Autlook Films Sales

Image from the documentary 3 Years, 3 months, 3 days

3 Years, 3 months, 3 days

  • Year 2011
  • Director Nicolas Franik & Anouchka Lazarev
  • Country France
  • Duration 56 min.

Story

Didier has a great life, but somehow he feels that something had always been missing for him to be truly happy. In his view, there is only one possible solution: remove himself from the world and go on what Tibetan Buddhists call the Three Year Retreat. The film follows Didier through the critical stages just before he is about to leave his life behind: his partner, his house, his friends, family and freedom. He discusses his motivation, doubts, resolution and difficulties when facing the choice that means so much to him. This is the story of an adventure directed inward, embarking on a journey of self discovery.

About the retreat

This film shows images of the Karma Ling Institute in France, part of the international Buddhist Sangha Rimay community. The Karma Kagyu is the largest lineage within the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism. The three year retreat is a way of training serious practitioners in the core teachings and practices of the Karma Kagyu lineage. People wishing to undertake the traditional three years retreat must first get permission to do the retreat from the Retreat Master. The pre-retreat is a two month period for learning the rituals, music and torna making used during the retreat and receiving teachings needed to begin the retreat. The schedule is similar to the retreat schedule. During retreat the retreatants will not be allowed to use the phone or to see anyone outside the retreat. All the retreat practices are done in Tibetan and retreatants need to be able to read Tibetan quickly before they come to the pre-retreat training.

Image from the documentary 30 Years of Darkness

30 Years of Darkness

  • Year 2012
  • Director Manuel Martin
  • Country Spain
  • Duration 55 min.

Story
The extaordinary story of Manuel Cortes told in this film seems unreal. However, the story of his life is familiar to hundreds of other Spanish people, fearing the repression of the infamous regime of dictator Franco after the Spanish Civil War. Former Mijas mayor Manuel Cortes has been hiding in a small hole inside his house for 30 years. Obviously, the effects of the dictatorship and civil war on a personal level must have been immense. The documentary gives a much deserved attention to this hidden aspect of the Franco era and is also a beatiful piece of art because of the animation used to capture Cortes his years in hiding.

Political Relevance
After the Spanish monarchy was overthrown in 1931, the second Spanish republic became increasingly divided between the extreme left and the extreme right. The Spanish Civil War between the Republicans and the Nationalists lasted until 1939, when finally the Nationalists prevailed. General Franco ruled Spain as a dictator until his death in 1975. The Francoists took control of Spain through comprehensive attrition warfare. This involved brutal treatment and executions of Spaniards found guilty of supporting the values promoted by the Republic such as regional autonomy, liberal or social democracy, free elections, womens rights and the practice of religions other than Catholicism. .

Image from the documentary A is for atom

A is for atom

  • Year 1992
  • Director Adam Curtis
  • Country United Kingdom
  • Duration 46 min.

Content
The concluding part of the BBC television documentary series Pandora's Box, A is for atom elucidates on the history of nuclear power in the US, Great Britain and the Soviet Union. The documentary covers the history of men's harnessing of the atom as it began with the apocalyptic atom bomb, to later more peaceful uses of the same technology. The documentary consists of archival footage accompanied by narration and interviews with those who were involved in the respective scientific, political and economic administrations.

Background
The documentary argues how scientists who had aided in the development of the atomic bomb felt morally obligated to develop a more peaceful use for the power of the atom. The enthusiasm for a utopian society powered by a new limitless energy source quickly dissipated as political and economic powers started to intervene in the implementation of the technology. Their desire to make nuclear power not only practical but also profitable led to a cut in costs at the expense of safety.

Social interest
As the political and economic commitment to nuclear power greatly surpassed the technological possibilities it slowly became apparent that nuclear energy raised more obstacles than it could overcome. After several accidents at nuclear plants it emerged that the responsible scientist had deliberately concealed many of the involved risks and uncertainties. The neglect to inform the public eventually led to a change in public sentiment.

Argumentation
Although the documentary focuses on the negative aspects of nuclear power, it concludes, as the filmmaker did in The engineer's plot, that technology is not inherently wrong. It is only through the specific implementation by political and economic powers that it gains either a positive or negative connotation. The documentary highlights that science and technology can only create possibilities and that the history of nuclear power is as much a history of political, economic and social influences.

Pandora's Box
Pandora's Box is a six part BBC television documentary series written and produced by British television producer and documentary filmmaker Adam Curtis. Each part of the series focuses on social, political or scientific aspects of reality and examines the increasing influence and danger of political and technological rationalism.

About the filmmaker
Adam Curtis is a renowned British television producer and documentary filmmaker noted for making programmes which often make far reaching claims on grand subjects. The scale of his subject matter and his claims to the undisputable truth of his opinion often give rise to controversy. However, his documentaries always expound clear views on the subject and are structurally well argued. Curtis is known for his extensive use of archival footage and the narration of his own documentaries.

Awards
Pandora's Box won the 1993 BAFTA Award for Best Factual Series.

Image from the documentary A journey through hell

A journey through hell

  • Year 2007
  • Director Daniel Grandclément
  • Country Somalia
  • Duration 52 min.

Story
Not only Europe is considered as a refuge for Africans who attempt to flee famine and war in their home countries. In this confronting documentary the French journalist Daniel Grandclement follows people who are trying to make it to the Middle East. He travels inside a boat trafficking Africans to Yemen. It is very confrontational to see that anyone who complains is beaten or thrown overboard. When the boat approaches the shore, the refugees are forced to jump into the sea and swim to shore. But sadly many refugees can't swim or are so exhausted they drown.

Political Interest
The desperate political and economic conditions in Somalia and Ethiopia have led thousands of people across that region to attempt to cross the gulf of Aden to search for a better life in Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

Image from the documentary A meeting with Milton Santos

A meeting with Milton Santos

  • Year 2006
  • Director Silvio Tendler
  • Country Brazil
  • Duration 88 min.

Story
A privileged look at the world through the eyes of Milton Santos, the internationally renowned Afro-Brazilian geographer and intellectual. In this film, Santos discusses his critical views on globalization. His belief that an alternative globalization model could wholly enfranchise all citizens of the world gives the viewer a glimpse of hope for the future. An illustrious presence in 20th century social sciences, the man dubbed as "Geographys Philosopher" eloquently elucidates a developing world perspective on the global age.

About Milton Santos

Milton Santos (1926-2001) was a Brazillian geographer and had a first degree in law. He was especially well known for his sharp tongue and criticism. Despite his critical view on the contemporary world, he was a positive thinker. Santos wrote more than forty books. His work "O Espaco Dividido" (English book translation: The Shared Space) is considered a geography classic: in it Santos develops a theory on urban development in underdeveloped countries. Milton Santos won the Vautrin Lud International Geography Prize, which is the highest award that can be gained in the field of geography.