Screen Time: Week of November 16
Screen Time is your curated weekly guide to excellent documentaries and nonfiction programs that you can watch at home.
Premiering November 23 on Independent Lens, Erika Cohn’s Belly of the Beast tracks down a previously little-known story about enforced—and illegal—sterilization of female inmates in California's correctional facilities. For nearly 40 years after a 1979 law was passed in California banning enforced sterilization, this practice continued with impunity in prisons.
Premiering November 17 on WORLD CHANNEL, Drew Nicholas’ Blood Memory follows Sandy White Hawk, who at age 18 months was stolen from her Sicangu Lakota family as part of America’s Indian Adoption Era and placed with white missionaries 400 miles from her reservation. She grew up, forced to renounce her cultural identity. Thirty years later, Sandy sought to restore her past—and uncovered the history of the national assimilative movement that targeted Indigenous children. She helped to organize the first annual Welcome Home Ceremony for Adopted and Foster Relatives of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe—the community from which she was removed over 60 years ago.
Beginning November 17, The Criterion Channel will stream six shorts by acclaimed Indigenous American artist Sky Hopinka (Ho-Chunk), whose work he deems “ethnopoetic”—a compelling exploration of Native American history and contemporary culture, framed with his singular cinematic interpretations of homeland and landscape.
Premiering November 22 on Showtime, Belushi, from R.J. Cutler, documents the meteoric life of comic artist John Belushi, who, from his early days with Chicago’s Second City Theater through his rise as the driving, iconoclastic force behind Saturday Night Live, through his superstar turns in Animal House and The Blues Brothers, transformed the art of comedic performance. But his demons soon derailed his creative energy, and he died of a drug overdose. The film, told through previous unheard audiotaped interviews with his collaborators, friends and family; a trove of footage from his all-too brief career; and animated scenes, captures the complicated and singular essence of an American icon.
Streaming on Mubi, Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda, from Stephen Nomura Schible, profiles composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, whose career has evolved from techno-pop stardom to Oscar-winning film composer. Following the 2011 Fukushima disaster, Sakamoto became an iconic figure in Japan’s social movement against nuclear power. As he battles cancer, his haunting awareness of life crises leads to a resounding new masterpiece.
Now streaming on New York Times OpDocs, Atención! Murderer Next Door, from Sean Mattison, takes viewers to Argentina, where family members of the victims of the tens of thousands of crimes committed during that country’s military dictatorship have, for the past 20 years, staged peaceful protests outside of the perpetrators’ homes and workplaces to raise awareness of the government’s brutal history.