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Human Rights Watch Film Festival

Human Rights Watch London Film Festival

From 13/03/2013 to 22/03/2013

The 17th edition of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival will be presented in London from 13 to 22 March 2013. A total of 19 documentaries and dramas will screen, including an absorbing drama by acclaimed French writer and filmmaker Atiq Rahimi (The Patience Stone), a fascinating documentary in French and Lingala (War Witch) and an intriguing documentary in French and Haitian Creole (Fatal Assistance).

The Human Rights Watch Film Festival

Human Rights Watch is one of the world’s leading independent organizations dedicated to defending and protecting human rights. The festival works tenaciously to lay the legal and moral groundwork for deep rooted change and fight to bring greater justice and security to people around the world. The film festival brings to life human rights abuses through storytelling in a way that challenges each individual to empathise and demand justice for all people.

The Patience Stone by Atiq Rahimi

(Dir Atiq Rahimi, France, 2012, 98min) Drama / In Farsi with English subtitles

Official selection Toronto International Film Festival 2012

Adapted from his own acclaimed 2008 novel, The Patience Stone is Atiq Rahimi’s answer to the question: what does it mean to be a woman in a world ruled by religion and violence? This stunning dramafocuses on the plight of women ruled by archaic laws and traditions. In a war-torn neighbourhood in Afghanistan, a woman cares for her husband, who has been in a coma for over two weeks. Sitting in silence hour after hour, the woman begins a one-sided conversation with her comatose husband. For the first time, she feels he is listening to her. And she begins to reflect on her life. Slowly but surely, the reflections become confessions. And we learn to what lengths a woman will go to avoid abandonment and rejection. As intricate and heartfelt as the original novel, The Patience Stone reveals the complicated inner workings of one woman’s mind, and her secret life in a world circumscribed by patriarchy and custom.


The Fatal Assistance by Raoul Peck

(Dir Raoul Peck / Haiti, France, US / 100min/ Documentary /In French and Haitian Creole with English Subtitles)

Official Selection Berlin Film Festival 2013

Through its provocative and radical point of view, Fatal Assistance offers a devastating indictment of the international community’s post-disaster idealism. The film dives headlong into the complexity of the reconstruction process and the practice and impact of worldwide humanitarian and development aid, revealing the disturbing extent of a general failure. We learn that a major portion of the money pledged to Haiti was never disbursed, nor made it into the actual reconstruction. Fatal Assistance leads us to one clear conclusion: current aid policies and practices in Haiti need to stop immediately. 


War Witch by Kim Nguyen, followed by a Q&A with the director

(Dir Kim Nguyen, France/Haiti/US, 2012, 90min) Documentary / In French and Lingala with English subtitles

2013 Academy Award® Nominee for Best Foreign Language Film

Silver Bear for Best Actress Rachel Mwanza Berlin Film Festival 2012

In this mesmerising, otherworldly drama, shot entirely in the Democratic Republic of Congo, comes a story of incredible human resilience. In the rebels’ camp, the training is merciless. Komona quickly learns to endure, to fight and above all, to survive. During a battle waged against the government army, only Komona is spared. The rebel chief sees this as a sign and declares she is the new sorceress. She is soon brought to Great Tiger, the supreme leader of all the rebels, who makes her his war witch. Only one person is willing to help and listen to Komona, a 15 year-old boy named Magician. Komona wishes to forget the past, but her parents’ ghosts keep reappearing. She soon realises that if she doesn’t want her parents’ ghosts to haunt her, she must journey back to her birthplace to lay her parents’ souls to rest. 

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