New to Rialto in September

The Press, Politics & Power is the name of a Wednesday night documentary season Sky’s Rialto channel has scheduled for September.

Four of the five titles will be NZ premieres and the fifth, Meeting Gorbachev, will screen for the first time on Rialto.

The season will open with The Panama Papers (September 2), which charts the story of the massive data leak that exposed the largest global corruption scandal in history.

Said Variety: “The Panama Papers is a lively and level-headed exposé, but it’s also a moral inquiry into how the top echelon is now united, structurally and spiritually, in robbing the rest of us blind.”

Our New President (September 9) is billed as “a satirical documentary of Donald Trump’s election told entirely from Russian propaganda and YouTube videos that dives head first into the world of fake news and Russia’s blind love for Donald Trump”.

Quipped director Maxim Pozdorovkin: “We wanted to see if it was possible to make a documentary out of news without a single true statement in it.” 

Slay the Dragon (September 16) investigates a secretive, high-tech “gerrymandering” initiative launched 10 years ago that threatens to undermine American democracy with its manipulation of electoral district boundaries. 

Not simply an exposé, the documentary implores its viewers to take action, shining a light on various grass-roots movements that have sprouted up in opposition to gerrymandering and the political hostage-taking that has resulted from it,” Fortune magazine said.

Werner Herzog and Andre Singer’s Meeting Gorbachev (September 23) “captures a moment in history when, for a moment, it genuinely seemed as if the good guys had won,” the Sunday Times said.

The Brink (September 30) sounds like a hit piece on ex-Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s attempt to mobilise right-wing support during the 2018 US mid-term elections.

Said The Spectator: “(Director Alison) Klayman is not sympathetic to Bannon. That is obvious. But by slavishly following him from one meeting to another she has not only made a fairly dull and repetitive film, but is also serving the ideological machine and feeding the beast.”

Rialto’s other September highlights will include:

  • the NZ TV premiere of Portrait of a Lady on Fire as the centrepiece of a Saturday night  women’s filmmakers’ season that honours women’s stories
  • a Monday night season of movies that focuses on the Middle East
  • a Thursday night season of documentaries about art and the creative mind
  • a Friday night season of movies by rising independent women directors, including Christina Coe’s Sundance darling Nancy, starring Andrea Riseborough, Steve Buscemi and Ann Dowd.
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