The documentary is very fluid and Almada’s curiosity often becomes ours. We never know what type of shot is going to follow – it could be a more stagnant cutout for a swimmer in a tank, wading through the water without progressing, or it could be a shot sprinting alongside a train. All of the images are tender in length so we stop looking at it so literally and allow the light and texture to blur into something else. Suddenly a wide shot of crashing waves starts to look like a wall with crumbling paint, or the shot of crushed microchips looks like a waterfall.
It’s more than the feeling can be fleeting – days after seeing the film, few images stood out to me as much as the aforementioned films. Perhaps this is in part because “Users” is not entirely filled with images related to technology and understanding of technology that I had never seen before. But there is a lot of poetry within the “Users”, and for the avid spectators of this cinema, for this inspiring-expiring approach to the world in which we are only a point, it is recommended.
Title of the American documentary competition of Pedro Kos “Rebel heartsTells an incredible feminist saga about the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart in California in the 1960s, a group of nuns who repelled the misogyny, patriarchy and mismanagement of men like Cardinal McIntyre who tried to control them. In a broader sense, the story shows how progressive thinking is a liberating state of mind, while also using an exciting idea that even those of religious descent can certainly align with more progressive social issues. . Cardinal McIntyre wanted them to teach every school in the diocese (despite their inexperience and massive class sizes), control what they wear, and crush their own sense of freedom. They didn’t support it, and even by today’s standards what they’ve accomplished seems drastic.
Their activism has become a media phenomenon, particularly focusing on Corita Kent, a nun and pop artist who has used her faith to create powerful and inspiring textual art. As one of the film’s talking head interview subjects put it, “They were highly educated women who relished freedom and loved the taste of it.” “Rebel Hearts” tackles this legacy, with many of his interviews coming from footage previously shot by Shawnee Isaac-Smith.
Director Kos seems to almost take “Rebel Hearts” as a challenge in making documentary films – how do you make a visually compelling memory of that story? It opts for overt song choices (including modern pop dance tunes) and flashy animation that looks like construction paper, making flashbacks look like a storybook. It’s a brave effort to make the story seem present, but whenever “Rebel Hearts” gets stuck on retelling the events of the story, it always feels a little flat. The story of the women of Immaculate Heart College will always be inspiring; it’s more that “Rebel Hearts” struggles to take a life of its own.