Focus: The Villain

    • set 9 items

    Taking our cultural fascination with criminal infamy as a starting point, the focus program presents 10 films which look evil straight in the eye. All films in The Villain capture an intimate, sometimes terrifying confrontation between filmmaker and protagonist, showcasing a wide array of personifications and various strategies for getting behind the scenes of the criminal persona. In doing so, the program explores the overlap between fascination and identification, and the subjective bias that drives both humanization and disgust. Read more.

    Selected for The Villain

    Adriana’s Pact

    • Lisette Orozco
    • 2017

    The young filmmaker Lisette Orozco wanted to make a portrait of her aunt, but disturbing facts about her past soon start to emerge. Can she trust her own family? A painful search for the truth.

    The Brink

    • Alison Klayman
    • 2019

    Trump’s ex-strategist Steve Bannon is mobilizing leading European politicians for his populist movement. This subtle portrait dissects the method behind his mission, which he fearlessly pursues despite loss and vilification.

    El Sicario, Room 164

    • Gianfranco Rosi
    • 2010

    In the motel room where he once tortured and murdered, an anonymous hit man discusses his work for a Mexican drug cartel. His detailed account describes the mechanisms of organized crime and the dehumanization that comes with it.

    The Fog of War

    • Errol Morris
    • 2003

    A revealing interview with former U.S. Secretary of Defense McNamara, the architect of the Vietnam War. Interspersed with archive footage, this Academy Award-winning documentary offers an engrossing perspective on 1960s American politics.

    General Idi Amin Dada: A Self Portrait

    • Barbet Schroeder
    • 1974

    A portrait of the Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, who comes across as a dangerous, paranoid and ambiguous man—notwithstanding the fact that he was given full control over the events that were being filmed.

    The Kingmaker

    • Lauren Greenfield
    • 2019

    There’s great poverty in the Philippines, but the Marcos family is awash with money. Former First Lady Imelda Marcos proudly talks about her patriotism, but the main thing that strikes us is the deep-rooted, inexhaustible corruption.

    The Man with the Golden Soles

    • Omar Amiralay
    • 2000

    The Syrian citizen activist and documentary filmmaker Omar Amiralay makes a portrait of the controversial Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri. When Hariri proves to be an unwilling protagonist, a subtle power struggle breaks out between them.

    A Moment of Innocence

    • Mohsen Makhmalbaf
    • 1996

    An exquisite combination of personal history, documentary and fiction, in which the director and a police officer reconstruct a crucial incident that fatefully brought their lives together 20 years earlier.

    This Film Is About Me

    • Alexis Delgado Búrdalo
    • 2019

    This portrait of a woman who is imprisoned for a brutal murder isn’t about her crime or punishment, but about herself. With both the director and the protagonist having a passionate desire to make this film, an intriguing interplay unfolds.