World politics have taken some unexpected and, arguably, unwelcome turns in recent times and the world of film and TV is beginning to reflect this with a must-see range of current affairs-focused films about to be released at both film festivals and in the cinemas. Politics, from present-day issues surrounding race, freedom, technology and citizenship to past conflicts, are currently at the forefront of film-making and the raft of political documentaries and non-fiction films being presented next month at Sheffield Doc/Fest, a world-leader in documentary festivals, reflect this. Here are your must-see political documentaries:
Jo Cox: Death of an MP
The British MP Jo Cox was murdered just days before the EU election. Through the testimony of those closest to the crime - including Jo's family, detectives who investigated the murder, and those who knew her attacker - this film reveals the complex set of circumstances that caused one man with extreme political views to commit an act of terrible violence.
Armed With Faith
At the Afghan-Pakistani border of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where landmines and suicide bombings are frightfully commonplace, Award-winning filmmakers Asad Faruqi and Geeta Gandbhir and Academy Award-nominated producer Sharmadeen Obaid Chinoy show that the real war is still fought at home. They embed with the local bomb squad, whose members describe different yet sadly identical scenes of pain and temerity, and whose families brim with anxiety that their loved ones will not make it back one day.
Freedom for the Wolf
In an attempt to understand what 'freedom' means in different cultural contexts, sociologist-turned-filmmaker Rupert Russell traverses the globe to find out how people - particularly the younger generations - are fighting for it. Sensitively researched, the documentary features interviews with key counter-political players around the world as well as commentary from today's most eminent scholars.
In this personal exploration of the politics of turbulent post 9/11 Pakistan, filmmaker Mohammed Naqvi goes in search of a leader who can keep him safe in a climate of escalating terror attacks. He finds himself drawn to the exiled enigmatic General Musharraf, filming him over four years. The former president hopes to govern once again, but is soon accused of treason.
Wilders follows right wing populist Geert Wilders as he runs for Dutch Prime Minister. The filmmakers obtained exclusive access to Wilders, who has lived under 24-hour security protection for the past 12 years due to threats on his life. This film unearths the man behind the media mask, providing many revelations about "The Dutch Donald Trump."
Strike A Rock
Two years after the Marikana Massacre left 37 mine workers killed, filmmaker Aliki Saragas finds that the women of Sikhala Sonke ("We Cry Together") are still struggling for justice."Ma" Primrose Sonti is the matriarchal founder of the group, who hopes to take the fight to parliament as a newly elected MP. Her close friend Thumeka must now continue the work at home, but will she be able to overcome her sense of trepidation?
Featuring interviews with Winnie Mandela herself, filmmaker Pascale Lamche depicts the activist and former first lady of South Africa as a deeply complex political figure in her own right. Dedicated to the liberation of black South Africans, she and her family, friends, and foe provide different perspectives on her deep yet problematic impact on the country's struggle for racial justice.
After 14 years at the highest levels of the British Foreign Service, Carne Ross resigned over his country's lies about the Iraq war. He embarked on an extraordinary search for new forms of social and political organisation in America, Europe and, most remarkably, Syria. An inspiring journey into the possibilities of a better society.
Following the referendum that saw the UK vote to leave the EU by a small margin, filmmaker Timothy George Kelly travels up and down the British isles to meet with people from both sides of the ballot. Supplemented by thoughtful observations that take into account complexities of race, labour, and the environment, an uncomfortable image of Britain today emerges.
Politics, An Instruction Manual
Fernando León de Aranoa shows how a mixture of brilliant malcontents brought together by the 2011 social and economic crisis in Spain dared to challenge the country's bipartisan system by starting a new party from the ground up. Palpitating with a vital energy that defines moments of great change, the film is an inside look at the exhilarating and frustrating work of movement-building worthy of the party's name: Podemos,"We Can".
Filmed over six years, Poitras brings viewers closer than they have ever been before to Julian Assange and those who surround him. Risk is a portrait of power, principles, betrayal, and sacrifice when the stakes could not be any higher. From the director of the Academy Award- winning CITIZENFOUR.
An Insignificant Man
Emerging from the 2012 anti-corruption protests, the formation and rise of the Aam Aadmi Party (Common Man's Part, AAP) in India was an explosive, yet unexpected, result that filmmakers Vinay Shukla and Khushboo Ranka inadvertently documented. As its frontman Arvind Kejriwal gains greater political prominence, they were given total access to the agony, heartbreak, and euphoria of a new people's movement.