Not only my friend Miriam (who is about to make an interesting documentary herself by the way) has been inspired by IDFA; I too was very moved and thrilled by the documentaries I've seen. So here's a short impression:
Lucanamarca gave a balanced account of how people deal with the atrocities that were committed by the Sendero Luminoso in Peru. One of the filmmakers also produces the Peruvian Kids News Program NAPA (No Apto Para Adultos), so we attended the showing with a large Freevoice delegation.
The second documentary I saw was Hair India. In this film it's wonderfully shown how this world does not make sense: a poor Indian family goes on a long journey to give away their only possession - their hair - as offerings to their gods. The temple then sells all the long hair to an Indian hotshot businessguy, who has it combed, wrapped and shipped. The hair is flown to Italy, where it is treated and made into perfect hair extensions, which are sold at ridiculously high prices. 'Great Lengths' is worn by the biggest stars.. Yeah, it's all about the money.
Burma VJ - Reporting From a Closed Country was awarded twice (VPRO award and Human Rights Award) and rightfully so. It's a great portrayal of the courage and determination many Burmese journalists show. The Democratic Voice of Burma, and other Burmese media, deserve all the credit they can get. Keep it up, guys!
Shared Children was the only Dutch documentary I saw and it was quite moving as well. It tells the story of two brothers who have to deal with the fact that their parents are divorced and now have new families. This leads to many conflicts of loyalties and confusion. The filmmaker, Frans Bromet, has a great way to show Dutchness in its purest form.
Man on Wire was the last one I saw and it completely lifted my spirits after all those 'heavy' films. How great to see that someone can do the impossible! On August 7th 1974 Philippe Petit walked a wire between the Twin Towers of World Trade Center in New York, wow... The magic is even more intense since those buildings have disappeared from the Big Apple landscape.