October 21, 2019

Screen Time: Week of October 21

From Erica Gornall's  'Saudi Women's Driving School,' which premieres October 24 on HBO. Courtesy of HBO

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


Saudi Women’s Driving School, which premieres October 24 on HBO and will stream on HBO NOW, HBO GO and HBO On Demand, tracks the year since Saudi Arabian women were first legally permitted to drive. Directed by Erica Gornall, the film takes viewers inside The Saudi Women’s Driving School, the largest such complex in the world, as well inside the lives of Saudi women who are actively challenging their country’s gender dynamics, despite the ongoing risk of censure and jail time.

Now streaming on Netflix is Ghosts of Sugar Land, from Bassam Tariq, which follows a group of Muslim Americans in the suburbs of Houston as they trace the disappearance of their friend 'Mark,' who is suspected of joining ISIS, having converted to Islam before entering college and then having disappeared after leaving cryptic notes on social media. Winner of the Short Film Jury Award for Nonfiction at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, Ghosts of Sugar Land races the guilt, fear and sadness of these men as they try to piece together what happened to their friend.

Stay Close, an animated doc from Shuhan Fan and Luther Clement, follows fencer Keeth Smart as he recounts his pursuit of Olympic glory all the way to the 2008 Games in Beijing. Now streaming on The New York Times Op-Docs.

Intelligent Lives, from Dan Habib, takes viewers into the lives of three young people living with an intellectual disability who challenge perceptions of intelligence as they navigate high school, college and the workforce. Intelligent Lives premiers October 22 on America ReFramed/WORLD Channel.

The Criterion Channel, in commemoration of the 100th birthday of Shirley Clarke, is rolling out her entire canon, one reflective of her passion for jazz, modern dance and abstract expressionism and how she incorporated those disciplines into her own vérité aesthetic. Her 1985 work Ornette: Made in America captures the creative evolution of trailblazing jazz artist Ornette Coleman, from his groundbreaking harmolodics structuring to the epic sweep of his compositions.