Laura Poitras' Top 10

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    Long prolific in the spheres of documentary and journalism, Poitras’ fearless filmmaking has changed the world as we know it. Her unflinching examination of oppression, representation, and resistance, well-known from her own body of work, finds new affinity in her Top 10 program, in which Poitras curates ten films key to the human condition. Explore the first titles in the program below; the remaining films are forthcoming.

    Films in the Top 10 program

    The 3 Rooms of Melancholia

    • Pirjo Honkasalo
    • 2004

      Shot in St. Petersburg, Grozny and Ingushetia, this multilayered, poetic film in three chapters reflects a range of fundamental human feelings and mental states that war invokes.

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      • Steve McQueen
      • 2008

        Steve McQueen’s intensely physical, multi-award-winning feature debut. On 1 March 1981, IRA member Bobby Sands—a prisoner in a Northern Irish jail during the Troubles—went on a hunger strike to protest his brutal treatment. He died 66 days later.

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        Return to Homs

        • Talal Derki
        • 2013

          A remarkably intimate portrait of a group of young friends in Homs, Syria, dreaming of a peaceful revolution that will free the country of Assad’s dictatorial regime. When the national army starts destroying their city, the boys turn into armed rebels.

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          • Claude Lanzmann
          • 1985

            This 9½-hour film is a milestone in the history of Holocaust documentaries. Testimonies from survivors, perpetrators, collaborators and bystanders provide detailed descriptions of the perverse machinery dedicated to the extermination of Jewish people.

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            This Is Not a Film

            • Jafar Panahi, Mojtaba Mirtahmasb
            • 2011

              Jafar Panahi, who was put under house arrest and banned from making films in 2011, is currently imprisoned by the Iranian government. In spite of these restrictions, he's made a defiant ode to both the art and the freedom that were taken from him.

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              Titicut Follies

              • Frederick Wiseman
              • 1967

                Wiseman documentary debut is a shocking depiction of the treatment of convicted criminals in a psychiatric hospital. There is no attempt to make people better—instead, it’s all about power.

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