In this category I will include films which deal with different political, historical or ideological issues in a way that is new, interesting and/or balanced and fair.
Das Leben der Anderen, 2006, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
An agent of the East German secret police is spying on a couple and gradually becomes more and more absorbed in their lives. This film manages to present a political situation without reducing any of its characters to ideas, ideals or simple motivations.
Cronica de una fuga, 2006, Adrián Caetano
This is the story of a goalkeeper kidnapped and thrown to jail by his own government in Buenos Aires, 1977. He was just one of the so-called “missing generation”.
Rojo amanecer, 1989, Jorge Fonz
True story of a family living in Plaza de los Tres Culturas, Mexcio City, on the vicious day of October 2, 1968, when protesting students were slaughtered under yet to be uncovered and understood circumstances, by yet to be made responsible people.
Ceský sen (Czech Dream), 2004, Vít Klusák, Filip Remunda
This is a (fake) documentary made by two film-students about the means of manipulating the masses through a well-organized marketing campaign for a supermarket, which also serves as a commentary of the Czech campaign for joining the European Union. Simple, funny and thoughtful, just deceptive enough to make its own audience pose some questions about the authenticity of the events presented in the film.
Kongekabale (King’s Game), 2004, Nikolaj Arcel
Political thriller about the mess we’re in when it comes to figuring out seemingly simple political situations loaded with ambition and corruption. It also features some of the best Danish actors.
La haine, 1995, Matthieu Kassovitz
Attempt to present life in a Parisian ghetto, with all its prejudices, conflicts, and, of course, the people who inhabit them. Excellent dialogues, exquisite acting and overall, a powerful sense of reality.
Train de vie, 1998, Radu Mihăileanu
One of my favourite films, the story of an entire Jewish village that dissapears before its inhabitants being deported, as told by the “village idiot” who, as always, is not so idiot as he seems. It is funny, romantic and sad at the same time. Just brilliant film-making.
Va, vis et deviens, 2005, Radu Mihăileanu
Same director as Train de vie, same powerful story-telling. In 1984, Ethiopian Jews were recognized and taken to Israel. A Christian mother gives her son away, asking a Jewish woman whose boy just died, to take him away forever. The film follows the boy’s new, Jewish life, until his adulthood when he returns to Africa as a doctor to find his mother.
Europa, 1991, Lars von Trier
The complex aftermath of World War II proves to be too much to understand and impossible to survive for a young American.
The Dancer Upstairs, 2002, John Malkovich
The suffocating atmosphere and haunting uncertainty that comes with detective job in South America is presented from a human rather than political perspective.
Hotel Rwanda, 2004, Terry George
This is the true story of a hotel and its manager during a bloody conflict in Rwanda, 1994, that resulted in more than a million victims.
Katyn, 2007, Andrzej Wajda
In 1940, Polish officers were slaughtered by the Soviet army in Katyn forest. This film presents the tragic events and the subsequent public reactions/opinions about it.