We pick out three films from the Documentary Award in a final look at this year’s Rushes Soho Shorts; featuring a 30+ year long vigil in the face of oppression, a man who decides to take on responsibility without power and the very personal accounts of women who don’t feel they meet society’s standards of perfection.
Abuelas – Afarin Eghbal
Combining stop motion, pixilation and live action with real-life testimonials from members of the ‘Grandmothers of May Square’, Abuelas frames the injustice of Argentina’s General Videla’s military dictatorship in the story of a grandmother who has waited over 30 years to see her granddaughter after she and her parents became members of the 30,000 ‘disappeared’. Afarin Eghbal’s approach of confining the story within the grandmother’s home is inspired; the device of individuals being excised from family photographs just one of many effective methods of demonstrating their forced absence.
Roger the Real Life Superhero – Cathy Macdonald
Even after seeing Michael Barnett’s real life superhero documentary Superheroes last year, I still approach the concept of people dressing up in spandex to ‘do good’ with a heart attack inducing amount of salt. That being said, I’m willing to make an exception for Roger, the star of Cathy Macdonald’s heartfelt documentary which saw me transformed from sceptic to banner waving supporter of its mild mannered hero.
Centrefold – Ellie Land
Spurred by reports read in the national press, Ellie Land’s Centrefold recounts the stories of women who have undergone labiaplasty surgery; not as a superficial vanity move, but rather as a way to restore self confidence in a world obsessed with physical appearance. Land’s combination of first person accounts with stylized animation gives an intimate account of the feelings of women normally too embarrassed to share their concerns.