I would especially recommend the following:
CHAPTER ARTS CENTRE – CARDIFF
Wadjda (PG tbc) -16th March
Director: Haifaa Al Mansour
Starring: Reem Abdullah, Waad Mohammed, Abdullrahman Al Gohani
Saudi Arabia/Germany, 2012, 1 hour 37 minutes, subtitles
A hugely appealing, heartfelt gem that will give you a rare glimpse into everyday Saudi society. Smart, strong-willed, tomboy Wadjda is often in trouble as she chafes at her lifes restrictions, but shell stop at nothing to earn the money to buy a bike. To shoot a film in a country where cinemas themselves have been banned for over thirty years is some kind achievement for any director. When that filmmaker also happens to be a woman, in a country where it is illegal for women to drive, let alone direct, is all the more impressive.
The Sun Beaten Path (PG) – 19th/20th March
Director: Sonthar Gyal
Starring: Yeshe Lhadruk, Lo Kyu
Tibet, 2011, 1 hour 29 minutes, subtitles
With vast, desolate landscapes and often dream-like sequences, this cinematic gem is a really authentic portrait of contemporary Tibet. Walking home to a remote part of Tibet through barren mountains and dusty wind-swept plains, the troubled Nyma is joined by an old man whose gently persistent good sense allows Nyma to gradually unburden himself. A simple tale, elliptically told that really shows how Tibet is now with smart Chinese buses speeding past Tibetan couples prostrating themselves on the hard shoulder all the way to Lhasa.
TALIESIN ARTS CENTRE – SWANSEA
5 Broken Cameras (15) – 18th March
Director: Emad Burnat, Guy Davidi
Israel, 2012, 1 hour 30 minutes, Arabic with subtitles
A powerful personal testimony that shows exactly what life is like in occupied Palestine. Palestinian farmer Emad Burnat, bought his first camera to record the birth of his youngest son. Over five years of village turmoil, Emad records as olive trees are bulldozed, protests intensify, Israeli settlers take their land, his cameras are smashed, and lives are lost. With overwhelming power it gives us a direct experience of what its like to be on the receiving end of oppression and dispossession. A defiant, hopeful, incredibly moving, hugely revealing film about how people struggle and survive such a life.
Chasing Ice (PG) – 19th March
Director: Jeff Orlowski
Starring: James Balog
USA, 2012, 1 hour 19 minutes
Winner of the Excellence in Cinematography Award Sundance Film Festival 2012
A phenomenal, passionate, unpreachy doc this provides insanely beautiful evidence of man-made climate change through time-lapse photography of the rapid retreat of the worlds glaciers. Twenty years ago National Geographic photographer James Balog was skeptical about climate change, then he started photographing ice. Now hes a man on a mission, setting up the Extreme Ice Survey a huge global project to remotely film the glaciers rapid disappearance using custom-built cameras designed to withstand 200mph winds and temperatures of minus 40 degrees. Thanks to the fabulous photography of the ice in all its glorious shapes and colours melting and constantly changing shape this is both extremely beautiful and extremely scary bringing home the reality of climate change like nothing Ive ever seen. If a single picture is worth a thousand words then Chasing Ice tells volumes.
- Wadjda (PG tbc) -20th March – see above