You probably won’t have heard of Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne. Maybe you vaguely recall them picking up a few awards at Cannes, but the filmmakers have somewhat flown under the radar of the international press. Here we celebrate the Belgian duo’s remarkable socio-realist films.
Client Nine is ostensibly a factual documentary about the fall of New York governor Elliot Spitzer, a married democrat who was found in 2008 to have seen prostitutes over a two year period. However, director and producer Alex Gibney expands his feature beyond the sex scandal, investigating the Republican enemies that Spitzer made in his tireless persecution of the money men on Wall Street, and whether a man that stood for so much should be brought down over something so (relatively) little.
Following hard on the heels of sensational exposés including An Inconvenient Truth and End of the Line, GasLand seeks to turn a harsh spotlight on yet more outrageous behaviour by arrogant US energy corporations. Whether it quite manages to be the call to arms it aspires towards is another matter.
Marketed during its Edinburgh Film Festival run as “the Afghanistan war film that renders all others unnecessary”, Restrepo is the work of two war correspondents who’ve seen more action than most. An artfully documented account of 15 months embedded in Afghanistan’s deadly Korangal valley, this film captures the highs and lows of warfare from the viewpoint of the men who were there. An intimate account of friendship and firefights in one of the world’s most dangerous environments.
Tracing the history of the U.S. 101st Airborne Division, best known to many as the company of soldiers portrayed in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers, this three part documentary series relives the do-or-die missions of the paratroop regiment that played a key role from World War II through to Vietnam. Featuring dramatic testimony from the men who were there and using rare footage from the Division’s own film archives, The Real Band of Brothers offers a captivating inside view of armed conflict – but the lack of a firm relation to the Steven Spielberg tele-drama may leave some viewers disappointed.
For explorer George Mallory, Mount Everest was to be man’s last great conquest – The Wildest Dream. But during a fateful expedition in 1924, Mallory disappeared behind a wall of cloud just a short climb away from the mountain’s peak. He was never seen alive again. Did Mallory make it to the summit 30 years earlier than the recognised record holders? This intriguing documentary intends to find out. But although watching it is by no means an uphill struggle, sadly its makers possess only a fraction of Mallory’s bravery.