Help Italy by Watching Documentaries

Doc Alliance is donating almost half of the purchase price on select Italian documentaries to North Italy hospitals. We recommend what to start with.

Doc Alliance

We’ve been sharing some documentary shorts lately inspired by the novel coronavirus pandemic. Now it’s time to watch some documentary shorts, medium-lengths, and features for the benefit of those suffering from COVID-19.

One of our favorite streaming services for nonfiction cinema, DAFilms, is donating proceeds from certain digital movie purchases to hospitals in the Lombardy region of Italy via the nonprofit Emergency. Buy one of the select 19 Italian documentaries, and 40 percent goes to help save lives. The other 60 percent goes, as usual, to the copyright holders, who are often the filmmakers.

Here are some of the participating films that we can vouch for:

Below Sea Level (2008): Gianfranco Rosi’s Venice Film Festival winner was handpicked by documentary filmmaker Robert Greene a few years back as deserving to be part of the new canon of cinematic nonfiction. In a post for Nofics, he wrote: “A crusted slab of a film about the people of Slab City, an abandoned Naval base and ‘still active’ desert bombing range less than 200 miles from Hollywood, Below Sea Level is thrilling, uncomfortable, mischievous and totally alive in every frame.”

Entangled (2014) – Riccardo Giacconi’s short documentary concerning “quantum entanglement” was one of the best things we saw at the 2015 New York Film Festival. “Perhaps the most bewildering and stimulating film of the festival,” wrote Daniel Walber in his dispatch.

Quantum (2015) – Speaking of “quantum,” that’s the name of this very brief, non-verbal documentary (pictured above) that we spotlighted a while back as one of a crop of uncanny films available to stream from Doc Alliance. “Quantum is about exposing the backgrounds, highlighting the distance between daylight and darkness, silence and sound, distance and closeness,” Walber wrote. “It’s as beautiful as it is strange, turning any sense of direction upside down and leaving behind more ambiguous sensations of sound and image.

Fragment 53 (2015) – This feature by Federico Lodoli and Carlo Gabriele Tribbioli was highlighted two years in a row in our annual year-end poll under the section of best films not yet released in the US. Now you can watch this documentary, which is about war, specifically in Liberia.

Here’s the rest of the program:

Between Sisters (Manu Gerosa, 2016) – feature

Beyond the One (Anna Marziano, 2017) – medium-length

Bozzetto Non Troppo (Marco Bonfanti, 2016) – feature

The Call (Enrico Maisto, 2017) – medium-length

The Castle (Massimo D’Anolfi and Martina Parenti, 2011) – feature

Dancing With Maria (Ivan Gergolet, 2014) – feature

From the Depths (Valentina Zucco Pedicini, 2013) – feature

Orbit (Giuseppe Boccassini, 2016) – short

The Sail Unfurled (Lorenzo Apolli, 2013) – short

Stand In (Rä di Martino, 2017) – feature

The Tin Hat (Giuseppe Boccassini, 2014) – short

The Train to Moscow (Federico Ferrone and Michele Manzolini, 2013) – feature

Valentino’s Gift (Pier Paolo Giarolo, 2012) – medium-length

We Want Roses Too (Alina Marazzi, 2007) – feature

Wolf (Claudio Giovannesi, 2013) – medium-length

In addition to this great program for individual purchases benefiting Northern Italy in a time of need, Doc Alliance is also helping the rest of the world out in times of social distancing and financial difficulty by discounting their annual subscription by 40 percent. That deal is only available through the end of April, so get on that now.

(Editor in Chief)

Christopher Campbell is the founding editor of Nonfics.