Film reviews and more

Sheffield Doc/Fest

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2019: For Sama review

★★★★★ Waad al-Kateab moved to Aleppo, Syria, at the age of 18 to go to university. She fell in love with a doctor, they had a child and moved into a house they lovingly made their own. The house today […]

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2019: Property review

★★☆☆☆ For six years, director Matthias Lintner lived in one of Berlin’s last squatter communities with a handful of absurd and colourful characters for neighbours. Clinging onto the last remnants of a bygone way of life, his film Property is as much […]

Doc/Fest 2019: Don’t Be A Dick About It review

★★★★★ Brotherhood takes a lot of patience. Such is the nature of masculinity as a collective construct that fraternity can be at once one of the most powerful and fragile of bonds. Autistic 23-year-old Peter and his teen brother Matthew […]

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2019: Our programme highlights

This Thursday (6 June) the seven hills of Sheffield will once again open up to the innovators and icons of documentary cinema as UK festival season gem Doc/Fest returns for 2019. From the sweeping to the specific, highlights among this […]

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2018: Our programme highlights

This week sees the return of one of the highlights of the UK’s festival calendar in the form of Sheffield Doc/Fest, which runs from 7-12 June for its 2018 edition. As ever, the programme of over 200 documentary shorts and […]

Doc/Fest 2016: Unlocking the Cage review

★★★☆☆ A pioneering and hugely unlikely legal case might seem like an ideal focus for legendary filmmaking duo Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker, whose partnership is perhaps best known for the apex in political campaign docs, The War Room. However, […]

Doc/Fest 2016: Lobanovskiy Forever review

★★☆☆☆ Valeriy Lobanovskiy enjoyed a great deal of success during his 30-year career as a football manager, particularly for his time at the helm of Dynamo Kiev as the USSR and Ukrainian national teams. He was renowned for introducing scientific […]

Doc/Fest 2016: Programme highlights

One of the annual highlights of the documentary calendar, Sheffield Doc/Fest returns this June (10-15) with another reassuringly full programme that’s true testament to the current health of factual filmmaking. Opening this year’s festival is the UK premiere of the […]

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2015: Our picks

One of the annual highlights of the documentary calender, Sheffield Doc/Fest returns today (5-10 June) with another reassuringly full programme that’s true testament to the current health of factual filmmaking. Opening this year’s festival is the UK premiere of The […]

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2014: ‘Life Itself’ review

★★★☆☆ The outpouring of emotion following the death of beloved American film critic Roger Ebert last year remains unparalleled in the modern day; few cultural commentators, on either side of the Atlantic, could lay claim to such a fervent and […]

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2014: ‘How We Used to Live’ review

★★★☆☆ Unlike recent pioneering archive-led offerings such as Penny Woolcock’s British Sea Power collaboration From the Sea to the Land Beyond and John Akomfrah’s The Stuart Hall Project, Paul Kelly’s How We Used to Live (2013) isn’t a great deal […]

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2014: ‘112 Weddings’ review

★★☆☆☆ With approximately half of all marriages ending in divorce, what is it that still compels couples to take the matrimonial plunge? This is the question posed by 112 Weddings (2013), the latest film from documentary filmmaker Doug Block (51 […]

Doc/Fest 2014: Slut Phobia? review

★★★☆☆ It’s a well-known double standard: women are labelled as ‘sluts’ for being sexually liberal, whilst promiscuous men get a pat on the back for their numerous conquests. Or, as one young woman in Sunny Bergman’s candid Doc/Fest selected documentary […]

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2014: ‘Nelson Mandela: The Myth & Me’ review

★★☆☆☆ An unapologetically personal open letter to the former South African president, Khalo Matabane’s Nelson Mandela: The Myth & Me (2014) is a sincere but ultimately dated piece, made as it was before Mandela’s death last year. Referred to throughout […]

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2014: ‘Miners Shot Down’ review

★★★★☆ Though we as a society have arguably become more desensitised to depictions of conflict and violence, every now and then a film comes along that challenges this notion. Rehad Desai’s distressing Sheffield Doc/Fest opener Miners Shot Down (2014) is […]

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2014: ‘Last Hijack’ review

★★★☆☆ In a world where abstract emotions like fear and terror have been distorted to mobilise society against an invisible foe, pirates have become the latest bogeymen of Western cinema. In Tommy Pallotta and Femke Wolting’s Last Hijack (2014), we’re […]

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2014: ‘Finding Fela’ review

★★★★☆ Whilst drumming up support for his new Broadway musical, FELA!, producer Stephen Hendel described Nigerian Afrobeat exponent Fela Kuti as “without question one of the great composers and musicians and activists of the second half of the 20th century.” […]

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2014: ‘Concerning Violence’ review

★★★★★ Illustrating the provocative and combative concepts of Martinique-born Afro-French psychiatrist and philosopher Frantz Fanon’s anti-colonial text The Wretched of the Earth, Göran Hugo Olsson’s Concerning Violence (2014) aims to explore Africa’s subjugated past in hope of understanding the continent’s […]