docs combo

Source: NEON / NEON / Les Films d’ici / AGC Studios

‘Amazing Grace’, ‘Three Identical Strangers’, ‘Dead Souls’, ‘Fahrenheit 11/9’

Fionnuala Halligan, chief film critic and reviews editor

Three Identical Strangers

Dir. Tim Wardle
A shocking film that keeps delivering body blows long after most stories have played out. Contact: Submarine Entertainment

Tim Grierson, senior US critic

Amazing Grace

Dir. None credited
Fans of gospel music and Aretha Franklin have long dreamed of seeing the footage Sydney Pollack shot during the Queen of Soul’s recording of her titanic 1972 live album Amazing Grace. After years of legal wrangling and Franklin’s passing in August, that documentary now emerges as an electric snapshot of musical history in the process of being made. Contact: William Morris Endeavour

Allan Hunter

Nae Pasaran

Dir. Felipe Bustos Sierra
A timely, rousing testimony to the way in which individual acts of conscience can make a difference in the wider world. Felipe Bustos Sierra’s labour of love tells of Scottish factory workers in the 1970s who refused to carry out vital inspections of engines in fighter jets used by the military junta in Chile. An absorbing, wide-ranging and deeply emotional story. Contact: Debasers Filums

Wendy Ide


Dirs. Ian Bonhote, Peter Ettedgui
This portrait of the fashion designer Alexander McQueen not only tells his life story, from Cockney wide-boy to couture enfant terrible, it also captures something of the violent brilliance of his work. Contact: Embankment Films

Lee Marshall

Monrovia, Indiana

Dir. Frederick Wiseman
Donald Trump is hardly mentioned once in veteran documentarian Frederick Wiseman’s latest clear-eyed observation of an American community. But the anguished US liberal question of ‘How did that happen?’ is answered eloquently in this melancholy portrait of an Indiana farming town, whose mostly white, blue-collar inhabitants seem to occupy a strange limbo filled with empty rituals. Contact: Doc & Film International

Lisa Nesselson

Fahrenheit 11/9

Dir. Michael Moore 
Michael Moore entertains and educates on the most important topic around, besides the imminent death of ecosystems friendly to human survival: the fate of participatory democracy. What Moore presents cannot be dismissed as predictable lefty blather — he’s too good a journalist for that. His belief in the power of cinema and of ordinary citizens “armed” with common sense is contagious. Contact: AGC International

Jonathan Romney

The Hidden City

Dir. Victor Moreno
A city symphony from the underneath, Victor Moreno’s almost abstract documentary maps the tunnels and hidden networks below Madrid to hauntingly immersive effect. Superbly photographed by Jose A Alayon, it is a dazzling but darkness-steeped exercise in mapping the real while also liberating the imagination. Contact: Shellac

Sarah Ward

Dead Souls

Dir. Wang Bing
The survivors of China’s anti-rightist campaign could never forget its horrors, and Wang Bing ensures Dead Souls’ viewers won’t either. A punishing but absolutely crucial documentary, it spends most of its weighty 496 minutes cataloguing traumatic testimonies that haven’t faded with time. Contact: Doc & Film International