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April 29, 2013 | by  | in Arts Film |
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Documentary Edge Festival 2013

Here’s a hard truth: you understand very little about the world. As a member of the Wellington liberal intelligentsia, you no doubt have a great many opinions on issues such as asset sales. However, when quizzed on Bolivian politics or the culture of Cameroon, your knowledge will likely be quite scant. Thankfully, documentaries can remedy our limited understandings. They have the ability to expose us to different perspectives, situations and ideas. For the purposes of your global education, here is Salient’s guide to the highlights of the Documentary Edge Film Festival 2013.

The Island President: For some, climate change is no longer just a theory, but a devastating reality. The Island President follows the efforts of Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed to combat the catastrophe that threatens his nation’s existence. Hopefully the film will provide some challenging insights, instead of sticking too closely to the simplistic David vs Goliath type narrative.

The Invisible War: As its name suggests, this film delves into a culture of rape and sexual assault within the US armed forces that is largely hushed up. Likely to be a grim but essential watch.

How to Survive a Plague: A harrowing but inspiring look at how AIDS activists fought for proper treatments, despite a clear reluctance on the part of governments or companies to affect any real change. At the risk of sounding a little corny, it serves as a poignant reminder of the power of human courage in the midst of utter despair.

Propaganda: Here’s a bit of a change. Instead of being a penetrating examination of the nature of disinformation, Propaganda is a North Korean indoctrination film filled with anti-Western rhetoric and wild accusations. Sure, it might start to grate after the first half-hour but it’ll likely be entertaining and informative nonetheless.

Shadows of Liberty: Not all media outlets are as trustworthy and impartial as your dear old Salient; many are subject to the whims of executive boards and the ‘profit imperative’. Shadows of Liberty explores the phenomenon of corporate dominance of the American news media. While it seems unlikely to shed any new light on the subject, it should give us left-wingers some authority when we complain about media bias.

The Documentary Edge Festival 2013 runs from 5-19 May at Reading Cinemas and the Film Archive.

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