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Monday 4 February, 2019

Bertha DocHouse is delighted to have three out of five Oscar Nominated films for Best Documentary continuing to sell out audiences, even after playing all last month! - Hale County This Morning, This Evening (congrats to the Bertha Film Fund and RaMell), the wonderful RBG and nail-biting Free Solo. Our congratulations also to Of Fathers and Sons (IDFA Bertha fund supported) which screened last year, plus the fianl nominee Minding the Gap will be on sale soon. 

This week we are playing 93 Queen, in which we meet Rachel ‘Ruchie’ Freier, making waves in her ultra-orthodox Hasidic community in Brooklyn. Already breaking tradition by being a lawyer, she begins a controversial campaign for the first all-female response unit. Also showing is the Oscar shortlisted The Distant Barking of Dogs; 10 -year-old Oleg and his grandmother live in the tiny village of Hnutove Ukraine, now the frontline between government forces and pro-Russian separatists. Oleg wanders the war-torn wasteland by day, as bombs shake their house every night. A deeply moving gem!

On Tuesday 5th we have a special screening of Bergman: A Year in A Life, based around the year of his most prolific output in 1957; the film explores his work, his personal demons and his conflicted relationships with women. It’s an enticing analysis of this most iconic but controversial figure.

Friday 8th February brings the tender observational film América. in Puerto Vallarta Mexico, Diego’s work in beach tourism is put on hold when a family emergency brings him back to his hometown to care for América - his vulnerable but still sparky 93-year-old grandmother. Also opening this week is a run of Yellow is Forbidden, Guo Pei is China’s only haute couture designer. This uplifting documentary takes you inside her world as she creates extraordinary works that honour the female form whilst also challenging it.

On Friday 15th we have Oscar shortlisted, Bertha Film Fund supported The Silence of Others, the past crimes of Franco’s brutal 40-year dictatorship have been ‘forgotten’ in an enforced collective amnesia. As Spain refuses to bring former torturers to trial, the case becomes international when it's brought before an Argentine Judge. Also showing is When the War Comes, in rural Slovakia, a young man seeks like-minded men to play army games in the woods. But Peter Švrček has chilling intentions. This alarming film is an insight into an ugly, dangerous far right movement that’s gaining traction across Europe.

By contrast, in the half-term break -  from the 18th -  the charming Chef Flynn, 11-year-old Flynn McGarry was already wowing his fellow Californians with his fine dining creations so his filmmaker mother helped him run a pop up restaurant from their home. Soon his talent attracts attention from the press, turning the still young chef into a national phenomenon.

We have two excellent director Q&A sessions, first with Olivia Lichtenstein, discussing her film about the famous soul singer, Teddy Pendergrass: If You Don't Know Me on Wednesday 21st. And then director Hikaru Toda in the Renoir screen on Sunday 24th for a Q&A and preview of Of Love & Law, an intimate portrait of two gay lawyers living in ultra-homogenous Japan as they fight for the rights of the marginalised and the risk-takers. 

Finally, playing from Friday 22nd February an IDFA Bertha supported film Home Games, Alina has always loved football, now she is a premier league player and dreams of making the Ukrainian women’s football team. But she faces enormous challenges - including a chaotic home life that’s left her in charge of her young siblings. An inspiring film on the power of friendship.

It’s a great month for docs. We hope you’ve spotted a film or two that catches your interest...