Director Steve Loveridge has been a friend and collaborator with the rapper M.I.A. since they met as film students, but what saves his first documentary Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. from the pitfalls of an adoring, glossed-over portrayal is the simple decision to take her seriously.
Miriam Makeba is an artist, a symbol, and a woman in the fractured documentary Mama Africa, but never all three at once. Mika Kaurismäki toggles between these roles in his 2011 biography of the South African singer and civil rights activist.
Mariam Shaar is a problem-solver – she has to be. After starting the catering company Soufra (it translates as something like “a bountiful dining table”) to provide work for refugee women, Shaar finds that the food industry offers more than sustenance.
For all the outrageous cosplay and assless trunks on display, director Tristan Ferland Milewski is more interested in exploring the interior lives of gay men in Dream Boat, his sincere and reverent feature documentary debut.
The makers of Trafficked walk a fine line, embedding their advocacy in an action film and conveying the horror of sexual slavery without edging into exploitation. Director Will Wallace achieves this balance by emphasizing the inner lives of enslaved women even as the men who peddle them see them as meat.