Inspired by journalist Jill Jolliffe’s book “Cover Up,” Robert Connolly’s controversial political thriller “Balibo” attempts to uncover the truth behind the brutal deaths of six journalists in East Timor in 1975. It’s highly charged, emotive and powerful, but it’s also exceptionally brave film-making because it dares to challenge the long-held official line of events of not one, but two governments (that of Indonesia and Australia).
First-time director and scribe Oliver Hermanus delivers an astounding and intimate portrait of a mother’s struggles to care for her quadriplegic son. In Cape Town slum Mitchell’s Plain, Shirley Adams (a remarkable Denise Newman) cares for her young son Donovan (Keenan Arrison), a tragic victim of a gangland shooting which has left him paralysed from the neck down. Shirley’s husband has abandoned the pair; and Shirley — forced to give up work to care for Donovan — lives in relative poverty, relying on the good nature of neighbour Kariema (Theresa Sedras) to get by.
The picturesque market town of Hebden Bridge is nestled in the beautiful rolling Pennine valleys of West Yorkshire. It’s a bohemian place popular with tourists and alternative types, but filmmaker Jez Lewis finds himself returning with increasing frequency for funerals of suicide victims. Seeking answers for this spate of drink- and drug-related deaths, Lewis tracks down his old friend Cass, hoping he’ll be able to provide an explanation. But the Cass he finds is suffering from alcoholism and liver damage, and has just been given two years to live unless he can kick his booze habit. What unfolds is a raw and honest insight into what can happen when hope seeps out of a community in a brutal and emotional documentary on grief and desperation.