By Film Threat Staff | January 21, 2006

The Museum of Modern Art presents 60 new works in Documentary Fortnight Expanded, its fifth annual exhibition of nonfiction film and media. The series, which is presented February 9-March 13, 2006, in The Roy and Niuta Titus Theaters, has been expanded this year as a result of the extraordinary number of high quality documentaries produced in the past 18 months. Documentary Fortnight Expanded includes a rich cross section of provocative work from around the world, dealing with a wide variety of themes, including the effects of war and immigration policies, the Iraq conflict, Latin American social matters, women’s issues, and gay lifestyles. Many of the directors will present their screenings, give first-hand reports of their experiences, and discuss the challenges of making documentaries. The series is organized by Sally Berger, Assistant Curator, and William Sloan, Department of Film and Media.

This year, for the first time, Documentary Fortnight Expanded includes a one-week run of a feature film, Natalia Almada’s award-winning Al Otro Lado (The Other Side, 2005), March 1-8. The film gives an account of the culture of Sinaloa, a state on the west coast of Mexico, and its tradition of corridos, or ballads, lionizing outlaws and smugglers. The series also features two programs of shorts on political and social issues made by filmmakers working with the New York-based nonprofit media organization Third World Newsreel.

Documentary Fortnight Expanded offers nonfiction perspectives on history, politics, culture, art, war, peace, and the human condition. First-time director Barbara Freed’s A Model for Matisse: The Story of the Vence Chapel (2005) tells the little-known story of artist Henri Matisse’s relationship with a nurse, and future nun, who doubled as his model. Three films dealing with gay issues are included in this year’s series. Jacqui Frost’s What Is Gay? (2005) provides us with a new view of gay families from the child’s perspective, while Michael Culpepper and Nikki Draper’s Bachelor Farmer (2005) examines life as a gay man or woman in rural Idaho. Barbara Hammer’s Lover Other (2005) chronicles the World War II struggles on the Isle of Jersey of two Surrealist artists who are half-sisters and lesbians.

Other films in the series include David Grabias and Nicole Newnham’s Sentenced Home (2005), about three young Cambodians who face deportation. Dennis O’Rourke’s Land Mines: A Love Story (2005) is one of several films in the exhibition to portray the brutality of war and its global impact. François Margolin’s The Little Soldiers (2004) asks whether the children fighting in Liberia’s civil wars can be rehabilitated. Kimberlee Acquaro and Stacy Sherman’s God Sleeps in Rwanda (2005) portrays five female rape survivors as they rebuild their nation.

For more info, visit the MOMA website.

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