Staff Picks

Staff Picks

The OVID staff picks their favorite films.

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Staff Picks
  • Cul de Sac: A Suburban War Story

    Directed by Garrett Scott • Documentary • 2001 • 57 minutes

    In May 1995, Shawn Nelson, a 35 year-old plumber from Clairemont, California, emerged from an eighteen foot mine shaft he had dug beneath his backyard in search for gold. An ex-soldier and methamphetamine abuser, he stole a tank from a ...

  • Waiting for Fidel

    Directed by Michael Rubbo • Documentary • 1974 • 57 minutes

    Inside Fidel Castro's Cuba with a movie-making threesome whose hope is that Fidel himself will star in their film. The filmmakers are Joseph Smallwood, former Newfoundland premier, Geoff Stirling, radio and televison owner, and Michael ...

  • Marx Reloaded

    Directed by Jason Barker • Documentary • 2011 • 52 minutes

    Today a new generation of philosophers, artists and political activists are returning to Marx's ideas in order to try to make sense of the crisis and to consider whether a world without or beyond capitalism is possible. Is the severity o...

  • Girls Always Happy

    Directed by Yang Mingming • Drama • With Yang Mingming, Nai An • 2018 • 116 minutes

    Rising Chinese director Yang Mingming both directs and stars in GIRLS ALWAYS HAPPY – a mother-daughter story that goes for the jugular.

    Wu (Yang Mingming) and her mother (Nai An) live in a Beijing hutong – an ol...

  • Bob’s Birthday

    Directed by David Fine and Alison Snowdon • Animation • 1993 • 12 minutes

    Surprise birthday parties can be risky. Especially when the guest of honour is turning 40! When Margaret plans a celebration for her husband, Bob, she underestimates the sudden impact of middle age on his mood. A witty, of...

  • Happy Hour

    Directed by Ryûsuke Hamaguchi • Drama • With Sachie Tanaka, Hazuki Kikuchi, Maiko Mihara • 2017 • 317 minutes

    A powerful affirmation of the immersive potential of cinema. HAPPY HOUR is a slow-burning epic chronicling the emotional journey of four thirtysomething women in the misty seaside city o...

  • Riddles of the Sphinx

    Directed by Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen • Drama • With Dinah Stabb, Merdelle Jordine, Rhiannon Tise • 1977 • 92 minutes

    Laura Mulvey, author of the seminal essay Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema, helped to establish feminist film theory as a legitimate field of study. With Peter Wollen, sh...

  • The Human Pyramid

    Directed by Jean Rouch • Documentary • 1961 • 93 minutes

    At the Lycée Français of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Rouch worked with students there who willingly enacted a story about the arrival of a new white girl, Nadine, and her effect on the interactions of and interracial relationships between the wh...

  • A Coffee in Berlin

    Directed by Jan Ole Gerster • Drama • With Tom Schilling, Friederike Kempter • 2014 • 88 minutes

    Jan Ole Gerster’s wry and vibrant feature debut A Coffee in Berlin, which swept the 2013 German Oscar Awards, paints a day in the life of Niko, a twenty-something college dropout going nowhere fast. ...

  • Advise & Dissent: Where the Supreme Court and Politics Collide

    Directed by David Van Taylor • Documentary • 2012 • 87 minutes

    The first documentary to go behind the lines and into the trenches of the judicial confirmation wars, ADVISE & DISSENT tracks two opposing lobbyists and two lions of the Senate through several recent nominations, each of which inflam...

  • Propaganda: The Manufacture of Consent

    Directed by Jimmy Leipold • Documentary • With Noam Chomsky, Chris Hedges, Stuart Ewen, David Miller • 2020 • 53 minutes

    In 1916, Woodrow Wilson ran on a platform strongly opposing US entry into WWI. But just a few months after taking office, the United States declared war on Germany. Soon after...

  • Harvard Beats Yale 29-29

    Directed by Kevin Rafferty • Documentary • With Vic Gatto, Brian Dowling , Tommy Lee Jones
    • 2008 • 105 minutes

    An incredible true story that unfolds like "a ripping good yarn... with an uproarious, impossible Hollywood ending" (Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com), Harvard Beats Yale 29-29 is filmmaker...

  • O Amor Natural

    Directed by Heddy Honigmann • Documentary • 2007 • 76 minutes

    O AMOR NATURAL is a documentary film about the erotic poetry of one of the greatest Latin American poets of the 20th century, the Brazilian Carlos Drummond de Andrade (1902-1987).

    The erotic poems of Carlos Drummond de Andrade, a hou...

  • Lourdes

    Directed by Thierry Demaizière & Alban Teurlai • Documentary • 2021 • 92 minutes

    Lourdes is a beautiful mountainous village in the foothills of the French Pyrenees that went from a sleepy scenic town to a sacred wonder in 1858, when a 14-year-old peasant girl claimed to have seen the Virgin Mary...

  • Sherman's March

    Directed by Ross McElwee • Documentary • 1986 • 155 minutes

    When First Run released Ross McElwee's Sundance Award winning Sherman's March in 1986, it went on to become one of the largest grossing documentaries ever. Audiences and critics alike fell in love with McElwee's "quirky, funny and fasci...

  • Dear Dr. Spencer

    Directed by Danielle Renfrew & Beth Seltzer • Documentary • With Lili Taylor • 1998 • 25 minutes

    From the early 1920s until his death in 1969, Dr. Robert Douglas Spencer practiced medicine in a small town in the anthracite coal region of Pennsylvania. Dr. Spencer treated colds, set fractures, an...

  • Electric Signs

    Directed by Alice Arnold • Documentary • 2012 • 58 minutes

    New screen-based sign systems are putting TV-style advertising into the public domain in cities around the globe. These electronic signs are re-shaping urban environments and re-defining areas of public space by intensifying the commerci...

  • Six In Paris

    7 items

    Directed by Claude Chabrol, Jean Douchet, Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Daniel Pollet, Eric Rohmer and Jean Rouch • Documentary • 1965 • 96 minutes

    In 1965, young producer Barbet Schroeder supplied a 16mm camera, along with color film stock, to six friends, asking them to each make a short film about a ...

  • Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune

    Directed by Kenneth Bowser • Documentary • With Joan Baez, Billy Bragg, Tom Hayden, Christopher Hitchens, Sean Penn, Pete Seeger, Peter Yarrow • 2010 • 97 minutes

    As our country continues to embroil itself in foreign wars, PHIL OCHS: THERE BUT FOR FORTUNE is a timely and relevant tribute to an u...

  • Sankara's Orphans

    Directed by Géraldine Berger • Documentary • 2022 • 84 minutes

    Thomas Sankara came to power in Burkina Faso in 1983, with the promise of a revolutionary government that would transform the West African country. To help build the revolution, he sent 600 children — many orphans from rural areas — ...

  • Viktoria

    Directed by Maya Vitkova • Drama • 2016 • 155 minutes

    Maya Vitkova’s stunning debut feature Viktoria, which had its World Premiere at the Sundance Film Festival last year, follows three generations of women in the final years of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria and the early years of the transi...

  • The Ugliest Car

    Directed by Grzegorz Szczepaniak • Documentary • 2017 • 47 minutes

    The youngest protagonist of the documentary is Wartburg, an automobile over 50 years of age. The car is still on the road, driven by Bogdan, who is inside it with his mother Kazimiera. This road movie which takes place between th...

  • Bamako

    Directed by Abderrahmane Sissako • Drama • With Danny Glover, Aïssa Maïga, Tiécoura Traoré • 2006 • 117 minutes

    An extraordinary trial is taking place in a residential courtyard in Bamako, the capital city of Mali. African citizens have taken proceedings against such international financial inst...

  • Pripyat

    Directed by Nikolaus Geyrhalter • Documentary • 1999 • 100 minutes

    After the nuclear catastrophe in 1986, a 30 km restricted zone was erected around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, and 116,000 persons were evacuated from this area. Pripyat is a portrait of the people who still live and work t...