Sunday, July 25, 6:00 p.m.
Museum of the Moving Image - Redstone Theater
Dir. Reka Valerik. Belgium. 2020, 52 mins. In Chechen, French, and Flemish with English subtitles. Khavaj, a mixed martial arts fighter from Chechnya, is struck mute upon arriving in Brussels. Having fled from his homeland under threat from members of his own family amidst state-sanctioned persecution of homosexuals, he struggles to find a way forward, fearful of being hunted down yet eager to connect with those he might be able to trust. Nimble and respectful camerawork from cinematographer Arnaud Alberola brings us close to Khavaj without compromising his safety, emphasizing evocative detail and nocturnal unease, while director Reka Valerik captures and deploys sound with extraordinary purpose, putting us in the room with a man whose every breath is an inarticulate expression of trauma and persistence. Best Mid-Length Documentary, Hot Docs 2020. U.S. premiere. View trailer.