Justice is a man-made product. And so is injustice. Some of our protagonists crossed the line — against their will, while others try to hold it — at times against the odds.
In 1964 Nelson Mandela told a South African court that "the ideal of a democratic and free society" is one "for which I am prepared to die.” He was sentenced to life in prison for sabotage and conspiracy. The State Against Mandela and the Others centers on the audio recordings of this trial. Directors Nicolas Champeaux and Gilles Porte take us to the courtroom with adding powerful animation and interviews to the soundscape of apartheid at work.
Cameras capture drama unfolding in the courtroom of Judge Marie Tuma in Kosovo, where an international court — EULEX — is trying to try a popular politician and war hero for corruption. Patriotic Highway by director Carline Troedsson follows a judge in distress, surrounded by witnesses who are hard to believe and lawyers who are hard to trust. At the doorstep of the EU, the unfinished courthouse appears to be more solid than the justice system it is meant to house.
In Shadow Flowers director Seung-Jun Yi patiently follows Ryun-hee Kim, a North Korean mother who ended up in South Korea as a result of a series of misunderstandings. There the bureaucracy of a constitutional democracy prevents her from returning to her husband and daughter. She seems to be vanishing in the maze of odd jobs and fruitless passport applications, only to be preserved in the eye of the camera as she campaigns against oppression.
Director Marc Wiese resorted to the conventions of a high-paced thriller to show what it takes to defend press freedom in an authoritarian regime. We Hold the Line follows Maria Ressa, an internationally re-known journalist and her team at the news site Rappler through press conferences and sites of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines. When adverse action meets the editorial staff in their offices, the cameras became witnesses of the boiler-room of 21 st century censorship.
Outside the Walls only rumors and fear remain, as director Andrei Kutsila captures relatives of protesters in the August sun. They wait to find out what happened on the streets of Minsk to those who dared to claim their freedom. Our freedom.