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 is barely left standing, as the devastating airstrikes on her city have forced al-Kateab and her family from their […]

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 a lament as it is a musing on what it truly means to live somewhere. Squatting had its heyday […]

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 live a relatively comfortable life in an affluent Maryland suburb, but the turbulence that defines their relationship surely resonates […]

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 year’s programme promise to open the lens on the world we live in and how we arrived here – […]

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 features boasts an array of non-fiction from thrilling crowd-pleasers and thought-provoking journalism to virtual realities and challenging hybrid cinema. […]

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, that film was more about illuminating the mechanics of a dark art, which is a natural fit for their […]

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 methodology to his work and as an authoritarian personality driven to succeed. Regrettably, the new documentary about him Lobanovskiy […]

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 wildly entertaining Where to Invade Next, Oscar-winning director Michael Moore’s valiant return to form as he takes tips from […]

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 Look of Silence, director Joshua Oppenheimer’s acclaimed companion piece to the Bafta-winning The Act of Killing (2012). Also screening […]

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 loyal fanbase. Charged with the task of commemorating an extraordinary career – and, indeed, Ebert’s life itself – was […]

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 more than what it appears at first glance – an audiovisual document of a London now consigned to history. […]

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 Birch Street, The Kids Grow Up). For over two decades, Block, like many others, has supplemented his income by […]