MUST WATCH! @hotdocs 2021 “Only I Can Hear”, “Portrayal”, “Secrets from Putomayo”, “Songs That Flood The River”, “Testimony of Ana” and “The Voice Break Choir” #HotDocs21

“I’ve always wanted to be deaf,” says 15-year-old Nyla. She’s the only hearing person in her family going back five generations and views her ability to hear as both a gift and a curse. Itaru Matsui and Heath Cozens weave together the fascinating experiences of four children of deaf adults—also known as CODAs—and the challenges and joys they face living between these two worlds.

“This moving and fascinating film about a young man’s investigation into his family’s unspoken secret unfolds like a taut thriller, placing the viewer beside him on his harrowing journey to get to the heart of this profound mystery. Both historical and deeply personal, “Portrayal” is a powerful human tale about the meaning of family, legacy, authorship, and the porous nature of truth.”

In 1910, the British consul in Rio de Janeiro, Roger Casement, undertook an investigation into allegations of crimes against humanity committed against indigenous communities by the British-financed Peruvian Amazon Company. Recording what he witnessed in a diary, Secrets of the Putumayo reveals a system of industrialized abuse and slavery that, once exposed, shook the foundations of the modern world. It is a story that we have tried hard to forget. More than a century later, the struggles of those same Amazon communities for rights to self-determination and basic justice endure in the face of new waves of market-led development. This film, by Brazilian film-maker Aurélio Michiles, translates into cinema my edition of ‘The Amazon Journal of Roger Casement’.

Oneida was a child when she learned how to sing alabados, traditional funeral songs used by black communities in Colombia to secure a safe return to the realm of the souls. When she was eight years old, a snake devoured her left leg, leaving her for life in a village set deep in the jungle and stricken by the terror of war.

In 2002, her village suffer one of the most cruel massacres in the country. Oneida fights her fears by writing songs that use the melody of alabados over lyrics that portrait her reality. Her scars are the source of her strength and her songs are the voice of millions that claim for peace in one of the longest wars in history.

In this poetic trip around the world, the oyster – with its sensual and lavish associations – acts as metaphor to explore human drives and desires. Linking stories of a New York burlesque dancer, French Michelin-starred chefs, a Swedish oyster diver, a Japanese pearl maker and a terminally ill English psychologist, the documentary by Willemiek Kluijfhout – narrated by the voice of desire – dives into the intricate nature of our deepest yearnings and quest for self-fulfilment.

Anaben Pawar is an elderly tribal woman accused of witchcraft in rural India. Through Ana,s story, we delve into a deep-rooted culture of patriarchy and examine one of the most monstrous attacks on women,s bodies in modern India: the witch hunt.

As the members of the Stockholm Boys’ Choir’s voices begin to crack, they are placed in a quarantine choir. As they inhabit this liminal space between boyhood and manhood, these young men share with us their most intimate hopes, fears, desires—and, of course, the music that is so central to their lives.

http://www.hotdocs.ca

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