I wish the Human Rights Watch Film Festival didn't exist. I wish it didn't have to. That there was no need for it. Of course, what I really wish is that the issues and causes it presented through cinema weren't still abound. But unfortunately, war, genocide, injustice, hate crime, poverty and too many other human rights violations and crises continue throughout the world. Wouldn't it be nice if even half of them could disappear, and the HRW only had enough content for one week instead of two? Well, as long as there is so much suffering on Earth, we must have these films, and therefore we must have this fest, which continues its 2010 run this Friday at Lincoln Center's Walter Reade Theater, in New York City.
NYC's event -- which follows Human Rights Watch fests in Toronto, London, Ottawa and Chicago -- does last two weeks (ending June 24) and consists of 30 films, mostly documentaries. While it's fair to include dramas, especially since some audiences prefer to experience such tragedies through films like Hotel Rwanda and The Killing Fields rather than docs, I'm less interested in those types of movies in this particular setting. The one dramatic work I've seen that's part of the HRW (its centerpiece selection), Raoul Peck's Moloch Tropical, is decent, but it doesn't have nearly as much an impact as the non-fiction selections -- and not just because it's a complete fiction with only thematic ties to the human rights concerns of Haiti.