I Didn't See You There. Courtesy Through my Lens

All That Breathes

A soaring visual masterpiece, All That Breathes follows brothers Saud and Nadeem who rescue birds (kites) falling out of the smoggy New Delhi skies. With outstanding cinematography and poetic voiceovers offering profound observations, director Shaunak Sen alternates between close-ups and wide angles, adjusting viewpoints to examine the interconnectedness between animals, people, and the ever-growing toxic city. Amidst social unrest in the streets, the brothers recognize their fight to save kites is a symbol of something larger, a fight against a waning compassion for all that breathes. Winner of the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary. -JF

I Didn’t See You There

Director Reid Davenport wanted to make a film about how he sees the world, so with a handheld camera or one mounted to his wheelchair, he examined perspectives on disability. A circus tent across from his Oakland, California, apartment launches him into musings on the history of the freak show and how he is often seen or not seen. His cinematography offers not only a first-person view but often mesmerizing, repetitive patterns that reflect the often frustrating encounters with oblivious able-bodied strangers. -JF

Last Flight Home

This film is an intimate, powerful look at a Jewish family saying goodbye to its patriarch, as told by his daughter, director Ondi Timoner, who chronicled her father’s journey to medically end his life. Last Flight Home is an emotional and important film about life, love, family, and autonomy, as well as how we let go of regret, capturing a journey we will all take yet seldom discuss, in a country that does not value dignified end-of-life decisions. -JF

We Met in Virtual Reality

The first full-length documentary shot entirely in VR by director Joe Hunting, this film feels as organic as any physical production. All the subjects appear as their avatars—Jenny teaches ASL, DustBunny teaches dance, while DragonHeart and IsYourBoi find long-distance love. It captures the adventurous thrills and surprising intimacy of this escapist frontier, exposing the honesty, community, and real-life connections formed during the pandemic. The film shows us a beautiful new way for people to make authentic friends through otherworldly virtual bodies; I began skeptical of it and quickly got emotional witnessing people sharing, teaching, and finding a place to belong. -JF

Free Chol Soo Lee

Free Chol Soo Lee is an enthralling documentary that follows the story of a Korean American man falsely arrested for murder in 1973 and sentenced to life in prison. The film recounts his struggles, efforts by pan-Asian American activists to free him, and his subsequent missteps once he is freed, as a popular leader of a movement he never started. Directors Julie Ha and Eugene Yi craft a powerful indictment of systemic racism and the criminal justice system, while providing Lee a chance to have agency and tell his story through his own words, powerfully narrated by Sebastian Yoon, himself a former inmate. -JF

My Old School

“And I would have gotten away with it if it hadn’t been for those damned meddling kids!” sums up this quirky flick. Alan Cumming with a twinkle in his eye plays the true story of Brandon Lee, a Scottish grown man who voluntarily went back to Hell high school. Told through the eyes of his jovial classmates and augmented with whimsical animation and pop music, this fun comic-tragic tale of arrested development unravels to reveal the unexpected legacy Lee left behind with his classmates, and his bizarre reasoning for embarking on one of the most absurd long cons in history. -SF


Like Carrie for Gen Z, this satisfying Spanish-French coming-of-age horror flick has buckets of blood, revenge, and teenage angst. Laura Galán is outstanding as Sara, an overweight teenage girl struggling to cope with vicious bullying. Director Carlota Pereda has a gentle touch, allowing the tale to unfold so gradually that we barely notice the moment when Sara indulges her rage, allowing it to flow outward instead of inward. A meditation on the banality of horrible people, Piggy is an instant horror classic. -SF


The United States has the highest maternal death rate of any industrialized nation, and the death rate for women of color is astronomical. Directors Paula Eiselt and Tonya Lewis Lee paint a sobering portrait of tragedy and resilience, following fathers-turned-activists in the wake of the deaths of their partners that could have been prevented. A must-see. -SF

The Territory

Fewer than 200 of the indigenous Uru-eu-wau-wau people remain in the Brazilian rainforest, continuously attacked by deforestation. When settler Sergio says, “They don’t create anything, they just live there” as a justification for illegally encroaching on their land, the moral hollowness of capitalism lands like a sick thud. Tech-savvy 19-year-old newly elected Bitate and aging activist Neidinha are the last line of defense between survival and genocide. -SF

Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.

Director Adamma Ebo eviscerates the megachurch community in this take-no-prisoners satirical mockumentary. Regina Hall plays Trinitie, the First Lady of the church, married to a disgraced pastor (Sterling K. Brown) as they hilariously and desperately try to hold onto the members of their congregation—and the last scraps of their dignity. Trinitie’s motivations for clinging to the doomed marriage and church that she has every rightful reason to leave remain as opaque as the clown makeup she dons in the end. -SF