Friday, November 11, 2016

DOC NYC capsule reviews DEATH BY A THOUSAND CUTS and FINDING OSCAR,


DEATH BY A THOUSAND CUTS
Film documenting the tension between Haiti and the Dominican Republic over the use of their natural resources. The Dominican Republic set up a conservation policy which has allowed the country to remain green and lush.  Haiti did not and 90% of its forest has been lost causing all sorts of problems. In particular the country has been unable to produce wood charcoal and as a result poachers are crossing the border to chop down trees and make charcoal. The border war lead to the death of a Dominican park ranger which inflamed tensions.

Good look at what is bound to become an even greater battle world wide- fighting over natural resources. Illustrating the human cost on a human level the film beautifully explains why conservation matters and it forces us to ponder what we are supposed to do to not only prevent it but correct the inequality and stop the violence. There are no easy answers as this film reveals.

DEATH BY A THOUSAND CUTS plays Sunday the 13th and Tuesday the 15th of November at DOC NYC

FINDING OSCAR
Produced by Steven Spielberg and Frank Marshall FINDING OSCAR is the story of Guatemala’s Civil War which left hundreds of thousands dead, many murdered by the government who wanted to wipe out anyone they thought might even remotely be a danger to them. The film focuses on the massacre of the village of Dos Erres which was wiped out one day in 1982 and on the story of Oscar, one of to boys who survived the massacre.

Good look at the terrible things that happened in Guatemala is a bit uneven in the presentation. The first half or so feel like a rushed TV documentary where they are trying to tell you a great deal in a short amount of time. The second half, with the aftermath of the massacre and the search for Oscar  is much better. The split results in a weird feeling in that what initially seemed like a film about the wrongs done, shifts to become a very personal story.  It;s an odd shift that kind of deflates the film as a whole.

That Oscar's story is moving and by the time it comes to an end I was wiping a tear from my eye.

FINDING OSCAR plays November 13 at DOC NYC

For ticket and more information for these films go here.

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