Whether you're after history, data science, or environment, don't hesitate to check out DW's October documentary listings.
Real lives | October 8
Director Annette Baumeister brings us an informative historical account of director Arnold Fanck, pioneer of the mountain film genre, who was instrumental in launching the career of Leni Riefenstahl, one of the most controversial figures in film history and Hitler's one-time propaganda director. Fanck made a series of successful mountain films leading up to S.O.S. Eisberg, the first ever German-U.S. feature film, the riskiest film project ever attempted at the time, and Riefenstahl's last film as an actress. It's the juxtaposition of Fanck's and Riefenstahl's careers that Baumeister is concerned with – in particular, how Fanck's star waned after S.O.S. Eisberg and Riefenstahl shot to stardom under the Nazis. Ice Cold Passion is a 1x52' ZDF/ARTE production.
Environmental | October 15
It has long been established that the use of pesticides in agriculture is toxic to both humans and the environment, but the fact that they are responsible for the decline of more than 75 percent of the total flying insect biomass in Germany over 27 years remains a rather unknown truth.The real culprit: neonics. Introduced in the early '90s, neonicotinoid insecticides are now the most widely used class of insecticides in the world. This documentary cites recent scientific studies and looks at the intense lobbying efforts by multinational chemical companies against the ban.
Historical | October 20
North of the ancient city of Petra lies one of the largest neolithic villages in the Jordan area, the village of Ba'ja. Late excavations at this prehistoric site revealed the rich tomb of an eight to ten-year-old girl later discovered to have been adorned with an elaborate necklace made of more than 2,580 beads, now on public display at the Museum of Petra in Jordan. The musuem also houses the tomb of the richly decorated infant, who was consequently dubbed "Jamila," Arabic for "beautiful girl," by the archaeological team. They Called Her Jamila charts the history of a neolithic society that was able to change their nomadic hunter-gatherer way of life to live in sedentary villages and invest in aesthetics. Tune in October 20 to learn more about the evolution of this village and its journey of transition.
Factual | October 22
The legacy of the 1959 Cuban revolution led by Fidel Castro still haunts the nation today. From shortages of food, medicine and electricity to the decades-long U.S. embargo and volatile inflation, Cubans have been struggling to keep the shelves stocked. This documentary looks at Cuba's past and present and asks whether the country will be able to emerge from the crisis or slide into another one.
Science | October 25
First impressions play a major role in both personal and professional interactions and how we perceive facial and vocal cues contribute to their formation. But we're no longer the only ones capable of deciphering human emotion. Artificial intelligence has also been made to model first impressions of people based on facial and vocal cues. While the use of AI-based voice screening to detect Parkinson's disease and severe COVID-19 may pay off, but away from the hospital, will AI-based face scanning and voice screening prove overwhelming when put to private use?
Environmental | October 29
Environmental activists, journalists, and indigenous communities face constant threats to their lives, both from corporations and, in certain parts of the world, from governments. Research conducted by Global Witness shows that over the past decade, an environmental activist has been killed every two days, for a total of 1,733 people killed. And killings alone do not capture the true scale of the problem. Restrictions on press freedom can also impede investigations into the murders of environmental journalists. The documentary Targeted travels to Nigeria, Peru, and Romania to expose conflicts such as resource exploitation, oil spills, logging, deforestation and large-scale agriculture. Scheduled for October 29.