Cinema Escapist

Exploring the world and self through a cinematic lens

Documentaries

“Uncertain” finds empathy at the margins

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This documentary about a small Texas town helps us remember that, wherever we are, we're all part of the same human struggle.

Review: Under the Sun (Russia/North Korea, 2015)

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Russian filmmaker Vitaly Manskiy's Under the Sun is perhaps the most philosophical and artistic documentary I've seen about North Korea.

Review: Reach for the SKY (South Korea/Belgium, 2016)

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An empathetic, intimate documentary that chronicles students taking the Suneung, South Korea's all-important college entrance exam.

Review: Mr. Deng Goes to Washington (China, 2015)

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This documentary about Deng Xiaoping, father of China's "reform and opening", reveals as much about his country's present as its past.

Review: The Birth of Sake (United States, 2016)

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Erik Shirai’s The Birth of Sake is a warm love letter to the national liquor of Japan and the people who make it happen. Shirai...

Review: They Call it Myanmar – Lifting the Curtain (United States, 2012)

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Robert H. Lieberman’s They Call It Myanmar: Lifting the Curtain is an exceptional layperson’s introduction to modern Burma and its tribulations. However, those who desire...

Review: Stolen Seas (United States, 2013)

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Thanks to 2013’s Captain Phillips, public perception of Somali pirates is now tilted towards a military dimension of Navy SEALs coming and saving the day...

Review: Control Room (United States, 2004)

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More than a decade on, Control Room (trailer here) is perhaps more relevant and entertaining than it was upon its release in 2004. Set during...

Review: Under the Dome (China, 2015)

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We review Under the Dome, a seminal documentary on modern China's environmental crisis that some say is the country's An Inconvenient Truth or Silent Spring.

Review: Boxer’s Wings (South Korea, 2011)

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It is said that to win a Korean girl’s hand in marriage, you must first defeat her father in Starcraft. While this adage is likely...