Documentaries are dominating at this year’s Revelation Film Festival. Diving deep into unique topics to provide a fresh, eye-opening perspective, these documentaries will challenge your preconceived ideas.
A light-hearted look into the world of taxidermy and the big players in the industry.
Stuffed is a brilliantly made documentary about the art of taxidermy and its place in the modern world. It features interviews with a wide range of subjects, from veterans who have worked in museums for more than twenty years, to those who have turned taxidermy into an artform through experimentation, and newcomers who are looking to modernise the world of taxidermy and how it is perceived.
Director Erin Derham offers a well-rounded, international take on the industry and handles the subject with sensitivity. She tackles the topic with eyes wide open, showing the taxidermy process, including the removal of the skin from the dead animal and the manipulation of the corpse into a pose. It’s less shocking than you’d expect, and far more intriguing, as it’s all done in such a casual manner. The opening credits alone make this documentary one worth watching.
A tense and uncomfortable look into the private ambulance system in Mexico City.
Midnight Family follows the Ochoa family, taking an intimate look into their ambulance service business. It provides an unflinching portrayal of multi-faceted issues, both on a human level as well as a political and economic level.
The Ochoa family are stuck between a rock and a hard place, wanting to help people in need of their service, but also needing money to survive. While you can certainly empathise with the difficulty of their situation, director Luke Lorentzen doesn’t hide away from the ugliness of their business. I was continually shocked by the brazenness of their actions, from taking people to a hospital further away as part of a paid agreement or having to approach people in grief to ask for money for their services.
There’s a strong sense of injustice that runs through the documentary; while the state-run ambulances clearly can’t keep up with the demand, the private ambulance services pursue accidents like hungry paparazzi, constantly bribing the police to be able to go about their work.
There’s a desperation at the core of Midnight Family that follows you long after the documentary has finished, showing the power it has to open a very small door to a much larger problem.
More political than expected, Hail Satan? is a look at American politics in a Trump era from a fresh perspective.
Hail Satan? explores the history of the Satanic Temple and its role in a Trump era America. Offering a safe space for people who don’t fit in with traditional religious organisations, the Satanists are presented as being more human and down-to-earth than first thought.
Taking a tongue-in-cheek approach, director Penny Lane is given access to a religion that has been vilified in the press by people who simply misunderstand their beliefs. While they are continued to be treated as outsiders to this day, the Satanists are mostly concerned with being moral and just citizens who support equality.
Hail Satan? is a fun yet intellectually driven documentary that shows the power a small group of people can have in unnerving the bullies that govern our countries.
The Revelation Perth International Film Festival screens from July 4-17 2019. Images courtesy of Revelation Perth International Film Festival.