Focus: It Still Hurts

    • set 19 items

    Pre-empting the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, IDFA presents a focus program that explores our world as a post-war world. It Still Hurts is the largest focus program of IDFA 2019, with a range of titles that raise questions on the many ways contemporary life is still defined by WWII—from case studies about the cold war and postcolonialism to cinematic meditations on victims and perpetrators. Read more about the program in Pamela Cohn's longread.

    It Still Hurts


    • Madeleine Leroyer
    • 2019

    A compelling and empathetic investigative documentary about the passengers of a ship that sank off the Libyan coast during the 2015 refugee crisis. Through a variety of methods, researchers try to discover the identity of the victims.

    Atomic: Living in Dread and Promise

    • Mark Cousins
    • 2015

    Archive footage of protest marches, Cold War clanging of arms and nuclear disasters contrast with the sublime beauty of the atomic world and achievements in nuclear medicine. The atomic age is a nightmare, but it has also made dreams come true.

    Black Box BRD

    • Andres Veiel
    • 2001

    Through the life stories of two German men, Black Box Germany draws a picture of West Germany in the 1980s: a society riven by the legacy of World War II, which it had never fully processed.

    Born in Evin

    • Maryam Zaree
    • 2019

    The German actress Maryam Zaree fled the Iranian regime as a small child with her mother. She knows she was born in prison, but nobody ever talks about it. Now she wants to know why.

    Destruction and Return in al-Araqib

    • 2018

    What better medium for documenting a land-grabbing conflict than a map? Forensic Architecture helped Bedouins to set up an interactive archive of their village, to chronicle its destruction by Israeli troops.

    The Euphoria of Being

    • Réka Szabó
    • 2019

    During the making of a dance theater piece, a special friendship develops between director Réka Szabó and her two leads: the young dancer Emese Cuhorka and the elderly writer and activist Éva Fahidi.

    Heimat Is a Space in Time

    • Thomas Heise
    • 2019

    A chronicle of Germany through the prism of the director’s own family history. In voice-over, Thomas Heise reads documents from his family’s archive, accompanied by powerful black-and-white images of the “guilty” landscape of his homeland.

    In Mansourah, You Separated Us

    • Dorothee Myriam Kellou
    • 2019

    For the first time since the Algerian War of Independence, witnesses talk about the rural resettlement camps, shedding light on an appalling and neglected episode in history. Why have people kept silent for all these years?

    It Still Hurts Exhibition

    This exhibition showcases three pieces by research agency Forensic Architecture as part of IDFA’s special focus program It Still Hurts. In anticipation of the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, this program explores our post-war world. 

    Liberators Take Liberties

    • Helke Sander
    • 1992

    This monumental study takes on the widespread rape of women at the end of World War II, mostly—though not exclusively—at the hands of Russian liberators. After a long silence, the affected women and their children tell their stories.

    Ma'loul Celebrates Its Destruction

    • Michel Khleifi
    • 1985

    Each year on Independence Day, the former inhabitants of the Palestinian village of Ma’alul take their grandchildren to their ancestral ground. Together with many other villages, Ma’alul was erased from the map in the 1947-1949 Palestine War. 

    Mengele’s Skull

    • Eyal Weizman, Thomas Keenan
    • 2012

    This research project follows the high-profile forensic investigation of a body reported to be that of Nazi physician Josef Mengele. It marked a shift towards a new forensic approach to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

    Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr.

    • Errol Morris
    • 1999

    A mind-boggling portrait of Fred Leuchter, self-appointed authority on execution equipment and expert witness for Holocaust denier Ernst Zündel. He makes a trip to Poland to investigate if the gas chambers at Auschwitz really existed.


    • Molly Stuart
    • 2019

    Like most young adults in Israel, Atalya is required to join the army. She refuses, though, because there’s no way she’s going to participate in the oppression of Palestinians. We watch closely as she grows into a staunch human rights activist.

    Of Land and Bread

    • Ehab Tarabieh
    • 2019

    With the support of human rights organization B’Tselem, Palestinians made dozens of short films about the bullying and humiliation they encounter every day. From these, filmmaker Ehab Tarabieh edited this angry montage of provocations.

    Shadow World

    • Johan Grimonprez
    • 2016

    In addition to being a shocking analysis and an indictment of the arms trade, this revelatory film is an emphatic rallying cry for humanity, truth and love, and the courage to act against the prevailing morality.

    Torture and Detention in Cameroon

    • 2017

    An investigation into abuses in two prisons run by counterterrorist units in Cameroon. The crime scenes and the human rights violations that took place there are reconstructed using public sources.


    • Romuald Karmakar
    • 1992

    War is a drug, like a whirlpool you can’t get out of, says a British mercenary. In extensive interviews with two soldiers, director Romuald Karmakar investigates the culture and ethics of armed forces.


    • Li Ying
    • 2007

    War criminals are honored alongside fallen soldiers at Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine. Chinese-born Li Ying exposes the sensitive and largely unaddressed issue of Japan’s war past at a flashpoint for nationalists, demonstrations and riot police.