A Take on Documentaries in 2019: Culture. History. Advocacy.
There are different ways to tell someone’s story, whether it be by word of mouth, a news article, or in this case, a documentary film. There have been lots of stories told in a form of film, which interested the audiences because a documentary is not just a film – it’s the life of a real person or a group of people.
24 Frames members Mathew Quirante, Timothy Diaz, and Klarize Bangit are here to share their thoughts on three documentaries: Honey Land, Apollo 11, and Homecoming, respectively.
Honey Land was nominated for Best Documentary Feature in this year’s Academy Awards.
A 2019 film by directors Ljubo Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska, Honey Land is about a woman named Hatidze Muratova being a wild beekeeper – harvesting honey the traditional way. Suddenly, a family of beekeepers come to her land and tries to take away her livelihood.
Mathew Quirante said that this film is one of the best examples of documentary film. “It’s quite unique for the fact that you feel so in it and the cinematography is so impressive. It took three years for them to capture a story of a woman who’s been raising bees and harvesting honey to go to town and sell her honey to bring some food home. And she’s taking care of her bedridden mother that she lives with.” Mathew adds that Hatidze’s motivation to carry on is her mother. “Even if they have a sustainability issue, she still tried to take care of her, spend time with her, and make her mother happy until her last moment.”
When he was asked about the ending of the film, he said that “it’s quite heartbreaking and I’m happy for her at same time because her duty as a daughter is fulfilled now that she can start a new chapter of her life. She found herself yearning to create her own family and continue being a beekeeper.”
Apollo 11 was nominated for this year’s BAFTA and Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary.
Apollo 11, a 2019 film directed by Todd Douglas Miller, is about NASA’s Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins’ successful mission to the moon on 1969. In this film, never-before-seen footage was released, showing the viewers a new perspective on the moon landing mission. Timothy Diaz said that what makes this film different from other documentaries is that this shows us how historical this event is. “It’s the first time that humans will go to the moon. Also, they introduced the astronauts in order to know more about them, where they came from, and how they became an astronaut. This film focuses on the experiences encountered by the astronauts throughout their journey to the moon and of the people working at NASA during this event.”
Diaz thinks that what motivated the people in the film is that they want to share how historical this event is – being the first ones to reach the moon. “NASA was motivated because of the people guiding them, supporting them, and praying for them, especially the moment when the President John F. Kennedy talked to the astronauts, praising them for making their way up to the moon successfully.”
He added how the ending satisfied him as an audience. “As one of the people who likes this kind of topics, the film’s ending satisfied me because of how the film showed how the Apollo 11 landed on Earth safely and the processes after their expedition before they go out of the quarantine and come home to their families. It’s also satisfying because their expedition was a success and also shows how happy the people are when they succeeded.”
Homecoming was nominated for the 2019 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special.
The 2019 Netflix documentary, Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé, is about the iconic 2018 Coachella performance of Beyoncé and process of creating and rehearsing for the said music festival. With her most awaited performance also dubbed as Beychella, Beyoncé prepared something more than just a performance.
Klarize Bangit explains that the documentary has a lot more to offer than just Beyoncé’s performance. “It tells us a different aspect beyond her songs that resonates the voices of the youth, women and especially the black culture. In this film, we are able to see the connection of the performance she made on stage and her personal life story and advocacy. Unlike other documentaries that I have watched, this film focused on how she wants to emphasize the beauty and the power of the African – American culture.”
Beyoncé served as a role model to millions of people around the world. “Being able to be the first African-American woman to headline Coachella, she made sure that she made use of that chance to make the people well represented on stage”, she added. “Throughout the entirety of the film, we are able to feel how she is driven to advocate for the empowerment of women. Not only were we able to see a series of montage and clips of her personal life and relate to how she overcome her hardships to balance her life as a performer and a mother, but also that her family always comes first as well as on how she led the rehearsals and made sure that each detail of her performance is done carefully. She made sure that it was able to tell a unique story through bringing different characters on stage to make each personalities shine.”
After watching the film, Klarize was moved and empowered. “Her narrative is very relatable most especially to young women who don’t want to be kept inside a box and want to explore their capabilities in a large extent. She was able to voice out for a lot of people who are marginalized. This film made sure that each of us have our own freedom and we are powerful as individuals. We should not be labelled because each of us can transcend the standards the society sets for us and we should not be afraid to voice out for our rights.”
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