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Screen Time: Week of May 27

By Tom White

From Frederick Wiseman's "Monrovia, Indiana.: Courtesy of (c) 2018 Civic Film, LLC

Screen Time is your curated weekly guide to excellent documentaries and nonfiction programs that you can watch at home.

In the latest installment of his brilliant canon, Monrovia, Indiana, Frederick Wiseman travels to rural, small-town America for a deep-dive into the day-to-day life--the institutions, the rituals, the mores--of this farming community. Monrovia, Indiana premieres May 31 on PBS.

Premiering May 28 on ESPN’s 30 for 30--just in time for the Indy 500--is Jenna Ricker’s Qualified, which tells the story of Janet Guthrie, the first woman to qualify for the fabled Memorial Day weekend race. In 1977, Guthrie earned a place among the prestigious field of 33. A year later, overcoming impossible odds and hostility from the male-dominated sport, Guthrie cobbled together her own team for a stunning success. Yet just when her career should have rocketed forward, it suddenly, inexplicably stalled. Qualified nonetheless celebrates a remarkable accomplishment of grit and verve.

Premiering May 28 on HBO, David Modigiani’s Running with Beto, a project of IDA’s Fiscal Sponsorship Program, tracks the quixotic journey of US Senate candidate--and now US Presidential candidate--Beto O’Rourke as he tries to unseat incumbent Ted Cruz in a battle for the future of Texas.

Now streaming on Netflix as part of its Remastered series, Sam Cullman’s The Lion’s Share plumbs the roots of the hit song “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” back to Johannesburg, South Africa in the 1940s. The film focuses on the surviving descendants of songwriter Solomon Linda and the quixotic efforts of author and journalist Rian Malan to reclaim for the family some of the fame and fortune that had enriched American publishers, songwriters and producers almost exclusively. 

Continuing POV’s online Playlist, Mikaela Shwer’s Don’t Tell Anyone (No Le Digas a Nadie) tells the story of Angy Rivera, an undocumented Colombian immigrant for the past 20 years, and now a YouTube activist for undocumented youth, as well as an advocate for survivors of sexual abuse.

Streaming for free on SIMA Studios' website, Mahdi Feifel’s A World Not Ours is an intimate portrait of a three-generation family in a refugee camp in southern Lebanon. The film is a sensitive and revealing study of belonging, friendship and family.