DocPlay’s New Releases This December!

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1 December

Helmut Newton: The Bad and the Beautiful

One of the great masters of photography, Helmut Newton made a name for himself, exploring the female form, and his cult status continues long after his tragic death in a Los Angeles car crash in 2004. Newton’s unique and striking way of depicting women has always posed the question: did he empower his subjects or treat them as sexual objects? Through candid interviews, this documentary captures his legacy and seeks to answer questions about the themes at the core of his life’s work – creating provocative and subversive images of women. The film also features Newton’s own home movies, archival footage and a pointed exchange with Susan Sontag.

5 December

Midwives

Two midwives provide medical services to the Rohingya of Rakhine State. Over five years, we witness their struggles, hopes and dreams amidst an environment of ever-increasing chaos and violence. Snow Hnin Ei Hlaing’s remarkable feature debut was filmed over five turbulent years in a country that has long been exoticized and misunderstood. The filmmaker’s gentle, impartial gaze grants unique access to these courageous women who unite to bring forth life. Filled with love, empathy, and hope, Midwives offers a rare insight into the complex reality of Myanmar and its people.

12 December

Calendar Girls

Calendar Girls is a coming-of-golden-age film about the second teenage phase: the retirement phase. Following senior volunteer dancers in Southwest Florida, who are determined to prove that age is just a number, The Calendar Girls give it all they’ve got. And they have a lot to give — impressive makeup; handmade costumes; elaborate dance routines; and, most notably, their unparalleled enthusiasm and sparkling personalities. With laughter and tears, relationships and identities change as new dreams are discovered. Directors Maria Loohufvud and Love Martinsen craft a life-affirming, feel-good documentary that shakes up the outdated image of what it means to be an “old lady”.

19 December

Dreaming Walls: Inside the Chelsea Hotel

The legendary Chelsea Hotel, an icon of 1960s counterculture – former residents and regulars have included Patti Smith, Jim Morrison, Robert Mapplethorpe and the superstars of Warhol’s factory – an artists’ refuge for over a century, will soon reopen as a luxury hotel.  Against this chaotic backdrop, the film explores the utopian origins that contributed to Chelsea’s mythical stature and questions the challenges it confronts in the future, as its residents, sold to capitalism, and walls themselves face a turning point in their common history.

28 December

A-HA: The Movie

a-ha is Norway’s biggest pop success ever, and their hit Take On Me is still one of the most-played songs of the last millennium. Everybody remembers the iconic video, and the band is still selling out arenas around the world. a-ha, The Movie follows the band on tour, telling the full story of how three young men followed their impossible dream of becoming Norwegian pop stars. When Take On Me reached number 1 on Billboard in the US in 1985, the dream came true. Or did it? This is a story of big ambitions, great music, broken friendship – and maybe forgiveness.