Focus Program: unConscious Bias

    • set 16 items

    Consisting of new and previously released titles, unConscious Bias explores today’s discourse on the meaning of the colonial past, and the many ways that this past continues to leave its mark on the present. Despite the brutal role played by the Netherlands and other European countries in colonization, challenging the dominant Western narratives has only just begun. With documentary filmmakers leading the way, how do we look at our collective past? And what do we see? Read more about the film selection here.

    Films in the selection

    Amsterdam Global Village

    • Johan van der Keuken
    • 1996

      Director Johan van der Keuken uses countless storylines and multiple detours to paint an epic portrait of multicultural Amsterdam in the 1990s. His documentary realism avoids romanticism as well as the toxicity of the later public debates on immigration.

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      Chelas nha Kau

      • Bataclan 1950, Bagabaga Studios
      • 2020

        The Portuguese rappers Bataclan 1950 use film and music to focus on racism and solidarity. Much of the time it’s the young music makers themselves behind the camera, making an honest portrait of life in the Chelas neighborhood in Lisbon.

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        The Empty Center

        • Hito Steyerl
        • 1998

          For her 1998 graduation film, Steyerl turned her perceptive gaze to the history of central Berlin. After the fall of the Wall, this former no man’s land became Europe’s biggest construction site, a place where new, invisible walls were built.

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          France Is Our Mother Country

          • Rithy Panh
          • 2014

            Rithy Panh (director of the Oscar-nominated The Missing Picture) re-edited silent propaganda films on France’s “purely fraternal intentions” towards Indochina into a disturbing alternative history of colonization.

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            Geographies of Freedom

            • Miguel Luis Peres Antunes dos Santos
            • 2019

              A compilation of archival footage and images of the present-day landscape on Curaçao lays bare the painful historical relationship between the oil refineries of Dutch multinational Shell and the inhabitants of the Netherlands Antilles.

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              Half a Light-Year

              • Leonardo Mouramateus
              • 2021

                In this observational film about time and space, director Leonardo Mouramateus explores the boundary between fiction and documentary. How do shots of a street in Lisbon converge with a dialogue between two lovers?

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                Handsworth Songs

                • John Akomfrah
                • 1986

                  This hard-hitting, critical and poetic film essay places the UK race riots of the 1980s into a broader perspective, exploring the optimism and dashed hopes of Black immigrants.

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                  Indonesia Calling

                  • Joris Ivens
                  • 1946

                    A pamphlet-style film on the dock strikes that broke out in Australia in solidarity with the Indonesian Republic, following the Dutch decision to send troops and weapons to Indonesia in 1945.

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                    In the Billowing Night

                    • Erika Etangsalé
                    • 2021

                      Myth and memory intertwine as the father of director Erika Etangsalé tells his story for the first time. His account is deeply marked by France’s colonial past and the dislocation it caused.

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                      Lumumba: Death of a Prophet

                      • Raoul Peck
                      • 1990

                        A groundbreaking, personal analysis of the way politicians and the Western media manipulated the public image of Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba, who was murdered in 1961.

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                        Nelly’s Memory

                        • Nicolas Wouters
                        • 2021

                          A grandson of colonists in the Belgian Congo wants to know what life there was really like—behind the photos, letters, and films of his grandparents. As it turns out, this is a hopeless task. Silence and looking the other way were the essence of colonial life.

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                          Now Is the Past – My Father, Java & the Phantom Films

                          • Shin-ichi Ise
                          • 2021

                            Japanese filmmaker Shin-ichi Ise traces the route taken by his father, a film editor who made propaganda films in Indonesia during the Second World War, when Japan claimed to liberate Asian countries from colonialism. Eyewitnesses tell their stories.

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                            On the Zenith’s Edge

                            • Natyvel Pontalier
                            • 2021

                              “Who were we before we were discovered?” wonders filmmaker Natyvel Pontalier aloud. After centuries of colonization, the time has come to rediscover the culture of her Gabonese forebears.

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                              Returning to Reims (Fragments)

                              • Jean-Gabriel Périot
                              • 2021

                                Archive material and film fragments tell the history of the French working class from the 1950s to today. Woefully little has changed, except that the former Communists are now voting in large numbers for Front National party.

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                                • Alice Diop
                                • 2021

                                  Alice Diop stops at stations along the RER B train route and meets a car mechanic, a district nurse, a writer, and a band of hunters. All these slices of life ultimately form a compelling whole—creating a possible ‘we’.

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                                  Words of Negroes

                                  • Sylvaine Dampierre
                                  • 2020

                                    Employees at a sugar factory in Guadeloupe read out testimonies from the trial of a 19th-century slaveholder. Their words evoke uncomfortable parallels with the present day.

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