November 13, 2019

Screen Time: Week of November 11

From Thom Zimny's 'The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash.' Courtesy of YouTube

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

Now available on YouTube Originals, The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash, directed by Thom Zimny, explores the artistic victories, the personal tragedies, the struggles with addiction, and the spiritual pursuits that colored Johnny Cash's life. The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash is nominated for an IDA Documentary Award for Best Music Documentary.

The Interpreters, from Andres Caballero and Sofian Khan, is streaming on Independent Lens through December 11. The film tells the story of how Afghan and Iraqi interpreters risked their lives aiding US troops--only to be left behind and extremely vulnerable in their own countries. Caballero and Khan follow three men over two years as they grapple with the choice of waiting in limbo for a Special Immigrant Visa or escaping to a freedom that  might never come.

As part of Mubi’s celebration of the late Colombian filmmaker Luis Ospino, The Vampires of Poverty, while more of a mockumentary, nevertheless calls to question the ethics of documenting, in this instance, an impoverished community. Two filmmakers travel around Bogota and Cali in search of images of poverty for their documentary, commissioned by German TV. Meanwhile, another film crew films these "vampire" filmmakers feeding off the misery of their marginalized subjects.

Streaming on The Criterion Channel is Clio Barnard’s 2010 film The Arbor, a mashup of documentary, performance and fiction as actors lip-synch to recorded interviews to tell the life of Andrea Dunbar, the brilliant, yet deeply troubled British playwright, whose dark upbringing in a notorious council estate in Bradford, England, fueled her work.

In commemoration of the 30th Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, presents The Fall of the Wall, a series of films from the Czech Republic, Russia, Estonia and Romania that recalls that revolutionary year and all that happened in various countries of the former Soviet Union--the euphoria of revolution and the uncertainty of new democracies--in the years that followed.