Documentaries are often designed to take you to new places, to learn about people you might never otherwise have known about, and in these four picks we certainly do that as we are swept from Sweden to Greenland, from Norway to Sri Lanka, and between Barcelona and Denmark, as we follow these fascinating personal stories.

For those that are in Denmark you can access CPH:DOX online for the next week – so certainly take the opportunity to discover these!

Daughters

Jennifer Malmqvist | Sweden & Denmark

Daughters delicately focuses on three sisters who lost their mother at a young age through suicide. The film blends their lives between 10 years and allows the viewer to see how they have coped with their loss. From their childlike understanding to coming to terms with it more so as they reach adulthood.

Tsumu – Where Do You Go With Your Dreams?

Kasper Kiertzner | Denmark & Sweden

This has sprung up as another festival favourite of ours – it is a quite a unique experience which tells the story of young Greenlanders Eino, Lars, and Thomas, who live in the East of Greenland in a place called Tasiilaq.

We see a very bleak side of Greenland: few opportunities for young people, a society grappling with suicide and alcoholism, and battling loneliness and boredom. But through this shines the bright light of its central characters – who bare their souls, who choose friendship, love, and hope – and who see the beauty of the land they come from and want to celebrate it, while trying to change it for the better.

Can their generation forge a better future? Can they change hearts and minds? What will their own future hold, and where will they go with their hopes and dreams?

What makes the film so unique is that the majority of it is told by video clips filmed by the central characters themselves, incredibly personal moments at times, and this is carefully crafted and edited together to tell the story through its moments of hilarity as well as absolute heartbreak.

The film received a standing ovation at the festival as the pair joined the director, Kasper Kiertzner, on stage.

No Place Like Home

Emilie Beck | Norway

In Emilie Beck’s No Place Like Home we follow the fascinating and emotional story of Priya as she sets out to understand why she had been adopted from her native homeland, Sri Lanka, all the way to Norway.

Her experience of growing up in Norway was not always positive, and she had a yearning to go back to Sri Lanka and discover her roots, find her parents, and discover her own story.

What she finds is an increasingly complex, and at times sinister, story of many more adoptions between the two countries spanning two decades. Was there more going on here than meets the eye?

Emilie’s film completely hooks you in and in turn makes you feel totally invested in Priya’s journey, and many others who have been on a similar journey.

All That Remains To Be Seen

Julie Bezerra Madsen | Denmark & Finland

In this feature we follow the lives of Christina and her son Silas, who live in Denmark. Christina suffers from a degenerative eye disease that has left her partially blind. We discover that her son has inherited the same disease and so Christina begins to prepare Silas for what is to come.

But how does one prepare a child to become partially blind when they are already blind themselves? That is the challenge Christina faces, while reliving her own emotional journey again, through Silas.

The relationship between Christina and Silas is beautiful, a bond between them that is so precious and so vital. At one point Christina takes him to Iceland because she wants him to see as much as he can before he begins to lose his sight, which during the course of the film begins to diminish, her face beaming as she hears him marvel at the sight of some whales breaching in the water.

This is a wonderfully crafted documentary that really highlights the desire in humanity to not be beaten and to really appreciate the little things in life.

Feature by Alex & Claire Minnis