DocDay presents the television premieres of My Babushska—Searching Ukrainian Identities and Resisting Paradise, the two latest films by pioneering avant-garde filmmaker and documentarian Barbara Hammer. Hammer, who is openly lesbian, has had retrospectives at The Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Berlin International Film Festival, and the Film Forum at the Directors Guild of America.
Resisting Paradise involves a region fabled for its magical light and beauty—southern France, which has been a beacon for painters, including Van Gogh, Matisse, and Bonnard. During World War II, the area was also a point of escape for scores of Jewish and anti-Fascist refugees. Resisting Paradise examines the region’s wartime history and the response of its residents—including Matisse—to the Nazi threat. Resisting Paradise airs on Sundance Channel, Monday, February 16, at 8 p.m. Repeat airings: 23rd, 6:30 a.m. & 3:45 p.m.; 29th, 5:15 a.m. To confirm schedule: www.sundancechannel.com.
My Babushka—Searching Ukrainian Identities is an expansive diary of Hammer’s journey to Ukraine, the birthplace of her maternal grandparents. What begins as an exploration of the filmmaker’s ethnic roots soon evolves into a fascinating look at a nation trying to define itself in the post-Soviet era. Hammer interviews a range of individuals, from a lesbian activist to an elderly Jewish journalist; meanwhile, the film captures daily life in Ukraine and explores how its people are coming to grips with issues—including anti-Semitism, homophobia, and sexual inequality—that are new to the arena of public debate. My Babushka airs on Sundance Channel, Monday, February 16, at 9:20 p.m. Repeat airings: 23rd, 5:05 p.m.; 28th, 10 a.m. To confirm schedule: www.sundancechannel.com. —Suzie Lynde