Screen Time

Screen Time

Starting last night, NHdocs, a.k.a. the New Haven Documentary Film Festival, is back. And with more than 100 features and shorts to choose from, moviegoers will have to make some tough choices over the next 10 days and nights.

Presented in the same order they’re screening, here are mine:

Disconnect Me | Details | Trailer
Almost 20 years after Super Size Me examined the effects of a 30-day fast food binge, Disconnect Me examines the effects of a 30-day technology fast. After locking away his smartphone, director Alex Lykos observes the personal effects of a month unplugged while making outside inquiries into “the social impacts of the smartphone and social media.”

sponsored by

The Yale School of Music

Crows Are White | Details | Trailer
Such an inscrutable title befits a film with such a beguiling description: “For over a thousand years, a secretive Buddhist sect has lived in an isolated monastery in Japan performing acts of extreme physical endurance in their pursuit of enlightenment. A filmmaker, struggling to reconcile his desires with his faith, sets off to the strict monastery in search of answers. Upon his arrival, his presence is not welcomed, and the only monk who will speak with him is an outcast who prefers ice cream and Slayer to meditation. Together they forge an unlikely friendship that leads them to higher truths and occasionally, a little trouble.”

The Age of Love | Details | Trailer
There’s been a lot of buzz for The Golden Bachelor, a new Bachelor spinoff that applies the reality franchise’s ridiculous chaste-harem format to an older age bracket. But The Age of Love, which “follows the playful and poignant adventures” of thirty seniors “discover how the search for love changes—or doesn’t change—from first love to the far reaches of life,” is bound to be much, much more insightful.

Rowdy Girl | Details | Clip
“I started to have real issues with the fact that I was lovin’ some animals and eatin’ others.” So says Renee King-Sonnen in this film about “a former Texas cattle rancher goes vegan and transforms her husband’s beef operation into a farmed animal sanctuary,” along the way discovering “the common ground between farmers and vegans—a shared mission of compassion and sustainability.”

Go through the Dark | Details | Trailer
“Guanglin is a blind boy in China who displays great skill at the ancient board game called Go, in which two players place black and white pieces on a grid in an attempt to dominate their opponent,” the official blurb says. “Raised by a single father with limited means, Guanglin faces deep societal prejudice against the blind.” But the trailer indicates a much more personal story, about a broken family dynamic and its heart-wrenching effects on a young boy. Helping viewers process that story will be director Yunhong Pu, during a post-screening Q&A.

Destiny | Details | Trailer
Destiny illuminates an inverted and only slightly more functional family dynamic, in which a daughter, Sahar, must care for her disabled father in a remote village in Iran. Her future is suspended between the duty she feels toward others and the longing to live her own life for her own reasons. And judging by the trailer, a resolution won’t be easy.

Joy | Details | Trailer
Set in a “forest paradise covered by a sea of clouds that constantly caresses the treetops,” Joy, a 22-minute short, follows Joy, the biological mother of two young boys and, in her capacity as a park ranger, the adoptive mother of “the only family of mountain gorillas” left in the forests of Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. “Joy feels this family of gorillas as her own, as an inalienable part of her identity, in which she sees all the behaviors of a human family reflected. She feels like a mother twice. Mother of a human family and mother of a wild family, who she believes are just humans like us, that long time ago decided not to leave the heart of the forest.”

Karen Carpenter: Starving for Perfection | Details | Trailer
Karen Carpenter, a musical prodigy and one half of the hit-making sibling duo The Carpenters, died at age 32 of complications from anorexia. She was, reportedly, “the first in a long line of celebrities to suffer from an eating disorder during an era when the vastly misunderstood phenomenon brought shame and public humiliation.” But in this film, “for the first time, we hear Karen Carpenter’s personal struggle in her own voice through never-before released recordings,” alongside contemporary interviews with “the legendary voices of those who knew her and were inspired by her music”: Carol Burnett, Belinda Carlisle, Olivia Newton-John and many more. The trailer promises “a stunning, unauthorized look at one of the greatest vocal talents in music history”—who was, by the way, born and raised in New Haven.

Written by Dan Mims. Image 1 features promotional imagery for Joy. Image 2 features a still from the trailer of Go through the Dark.

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