Justice is a tedious business
A note on our selection of films for the 2022 Long Documentary competition
Looking at the people who populate this year‘s documentaries, one is confident that they, living all together on this planet, act to the best of their ability.
In Peru (Vida Férrea), they extract ore from the mountains and carry it down to the towns – hard work indeed whose usefulness cannot be denied.
On the Amazon River, boatmen deliver goods to the people standing by the riverbanks and longing for the vital supplies to come (Veins of the Amazon).
In Vietnam, young farmers whose days are filled with purpose go into the wilderness for a while (Pa va Héng) to experience themselves and nature from a different perspective.
On the Japanese island of Yonagumi, people raise their children with love and care as you would expect, although the kids will probably leave the island as soon as they have finished school.
Things are less secure and orderly in the Moroccan desert where, with a lot of effort and against much resistance, a school is yet to be built (School of Hope). But love and reason are also at work here.
Looking back on the year 1989 in Frankfurt (Oder), young people and contemporary witnesses do a clever job of retrospection (At the Coffee Table with Stasi) and learn that democracy is not possible without critical self-examination.
Life in The Great Basin of Nevada is one of daily chores and a tenacious struggle for autonomy and dignity in a world that makes exactly that very difficult.
In Valdeluz, a failed planned town in Spain, life hardly seems meaningful and sensible now (Barataria), and yet one can see how the residents are trying tro make the best of their circumstances.
All of the films expose the conditions under which we live, whether in poverty or wealth, in dignity or in bondage, as reflected critically in particular in the Argentinian production
La conquista de las ruinas.
When we follow those people and their unfolding stories, we can certainly find something like hope. Because they all take their lives seriously. If there is anything bad about the situation on this planet which we are sharing in increasing consciousness, it is that our legitimate demands on society and nature are not well balanced against our own contributions to a life in unity. Burdens are not well distributed, there is not always room for love, consideration is often not well received.
These issues relate to justice, not as a question of financial provision, but as one of human coexistence. Do they still play a role in our major discourses about global crisis and saving the world?