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SFIFF Spotlight: Documentary Cinema

The best documentaries create empathy without leaving the audience to believe that the problems or issues presented have been 'fixed' by the cathartic act of viewing. PopMatters picks five documentaries that engendered empathy in the very best way at this year's San Francisco International Film Festival.

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Rem Koolhaas: A Kind of Architect

The opening argument in the film is that the “Rem Koolhaas” the viewer knows, the singular genius of media accounts, especially in America, is a convenient signifier that masks another “Rem Koolhaas”, one who is not singular, but plural, a walking composition of influences, ideas, theories and collaborations.

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Examined Life

This punctures the image of philosophy as a rarefied field, where philosophers live in some kind of Cartesian bubble, their brains effectively separated from their bodies.

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Election Day

On Election Day 2004, cameras follow 11 individuals as they participate in the process. This is a sobering reminder of the power -- and the privilege -- of the 'right to vote'.

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Private Century

Not a single shot in Private Century is original to Sikl or his collaborators. This is a profound illustration of the significance of editing to the nature of film as an art and craft.

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Audience of One

Director Michael Jacobs resists simplifying his subject, leaving viewers to come to their own conclusions about pastor Richard Gazowky, who he is, and why he wants to make his movie.

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