Cenzorka (107 Mothers). 2021. Slovakia/Czech Republic/Ukraine. Directed by Peter Kerekes. Courtesy Films Boutique
The 21st Edition of MoMA’s Annual Festival to Open with Jenny Perlin’s Bunker on February 23 and Close with James Benning’s The United States of America on March 9
Doc Fortnight 2022: MoMA’s International Festival of Nonfiction Film and Media
February 23–March 10, 2022
The Roy and Niuta Titus Theaters and Virtual Cinema
The Museum of Modern Art announces the lineup for Doc Fortnight 2022, the 21st edition of its annual showcase of daring new nonfiction cinema from around the world. Doc Fortnight 2022 will be presented as a hybrid festival from February 23 to March 10, 2022, with all 19 feature and 10 short films screening in the Museum’s Titus Theaters and a selection available on MoMA’s Virtual Cinema streaming platform. Doc Fortnight’s 2022 slate highlights thought-provoking perspectives on some of today’s most urgent issues, including ecology and our relationship to the natural and built environment; understandings of illness, wellness, and care; and the future of politics and the public sphere. Many of the selected films, drawn from the best of festival programs over the last year, will be shown for the first time in North America. Doc Fortnight 2022 is organized by Sophie Cavoulacos, Associate Curator, Department of Film, with Chandra Knotts, Filmmaker Liaison.
Opening the festival on February 23 is the New York premiere of Jenny Perlin’s Bunker, which follows men living in decommissioned military bunkers and nuclear missile silos across the United States. Made over several years, Perlin’s film offers a timely reflection on ideas of survival and shelter among those preparing for the disintegration of society from a hundred feet underground. Closing this year’s festival is the North American premiere of James Benning’s The United States of America. Reprising the 1975 short film of the same name he made in collaboration with Bette Gordon, Benning crafts a meditative portrait of contemporary America. In his signature style, vignettes representing each US state hint at the political history and social bonds that leave their mark on the landscape.
The relationship of humans to their environment is explored in stories of labor and kinship, from life in a remote fishing village in Brazil (No Kings) to a walk in the shoes of female cattle herders living with the effects of an imperiled industry in the American West (Bitterbrush). A sense of place, and the stories that lie within, reign in studies of an abandoned holiday resort in Capaluco, Mexico (The Still Side); the busy waterway between the Earth’s two great oceans (Lago Gatún); and even Moscow’s metro system, observed over the course of a year (Where Are We Headed). Using essayistic collage and contemporary dance, respectively, two radically different films (I’m So Sorry, A Body in Fukushima) reflect on the Fukushima nuclear disaster, in a testament to the great imagination and powerful resolve of the festival’s wide-ranging group of filmmakers.
Reflecting the ways in which the pandemic has radically shifted how individuals and society alike think about illness, wellness, and care, the films in this year’s festival share personal journeys in the face of illness, the rituals of preparing for death, and the ups and downs of life as a partner, parent, or child. Several works borrow from fiction and narrative cinema to delve into tender and trying life events (Life Begins, Life Ends, Memoryland), while others offer bracing, complex portraits of motherhood (Penelope My Love, 107 Mothers). The travelogue also lends itself to the sharing of family histories (Mariner of the Mountains, Jet Lag) in lively and experimental ways.
The festival gives a voice to those at the front lines of conflict and activism, bearing witness to violence and oppression (Myanmar Diaries) and highlighting artists who grapple with questions about solidarity, collaboration, collective liberation, and the role of cinema in those struggles (Congress of Idling Persons, Does Your House Have Lions). Festival filmmakers have mined archives to reimagine official records (1970), revisit influential creative circles (Other Like Me), or channel great thinkers (Omar Amiralay: Sorrow, Time, Silence) in a meeting of past and present.
Other highlights include new short films by Sky Hopinka, Sam Green, Maryam Tafakory, Laida Lertxundi, Jason Evans, and Rajee Samarasinghe. The Modern Monday presentation An Evening with Crystal Z Campbell, on March 7, will feature recent and new films by Campbell, including Flight, which reconfigures footage of Black life in Oklahoma shot by the minister and amateur filmmaker Solomon Sir Jones on the centennial of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. Campbell, a multidisciplinary artist, experimental filmmaker, and writer, will join us to discuss the work after the screening.
Film at MoMA is made possible by CHANEL.
Additional support is provided by the Annual Film Fund. Leadership support for the Annual Film Fund is provided by Debra and Leon D. Black and by Steven Tisch, with major contributions from The Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art, Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder, MoMA’s Wallis Annenberg Fund for Innovation in Contemporary Art through the Annenberg Foundation, the Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP), The Junior Associates of The Museum of Modern Art, the Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation, Karen and Gary Winnick, and The Brown Foundation, Inc., of Houston.