The Best and Worst Documentaries of the Tribeca Film Festival


3. LoveTrue

Director Alma Har’el’s follow-up to her 2011 Tribeca winner Bombay Beach looked awfully promising at a preview screening of excerpts last year; the final product confirms the vastness and originality of her talent. She explores three stories – one in Alaska, one in Hawaii, one in New York – about ove, but none are really “romances.” Her real aim here is to reckon with the idea (and ideal) of true love, and the kind of emotional wreckage it can leave in its wake. Yet it’s not a sad or bitter film; hope springs eternal for these charismatic outsiders, who are given full room to live and breathe by Har’el’s evocative, intimate style. Her emotional openness and stylistic fluidity play like an antidote for documentary norms; it’s a hard film to describe, except by saying you’re probably never seen a film quite like it.

2. Do Not Resist

Director Craig Atkinson begins his documentary examination of police militarization by parachuting into Ferguson, Missouri in August 2014, 10 Days After, his images and sounds capturing the overwhelming tension between protestors and a police force that looks better prepared for a firefight in Falujah than a demonstration in American cities. But that’s the genius of Atkinson’s forceful and frightening documentary: how he keeps widening his spotlight (to connected issues like police training, increases in warrant execution, property seizures, drones and surveillance), considering new ideas and new implications. The filmmaking is impressive – no narration, little expert testimony, mostly just cameras observing the terrifying present – and the question Atkinson ultimately asks couldn’t be more timely: with $34 billion spent on military weapons to local police since 9/11, do you feel safer?