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Doc talk

‘Homs’ is where the heart is

Events in Syria are focus of two of eight films in DocYard series

The DocYard, now in its fourth year, opens its weekly program of outstanding recent documentaries Monday at the Brattle Theatre with Katy Chevigny and Ross Kauffman’s
“E-Team.” The title refers to the “Emergencies Team,” a quick-response crew of human-rights workers who are like the Navy SEALs of peace, showing up wherever violations are reported. This harrowing cinéma vérité account follows them as they fearlessly take on the bad guys in Syria and Libya, going undercover as they try to identify those responsible in hopes of holding them accountable. Judging from the state of the world today, these guys have their hands full. (“E-Team” is also available through Netflix starting Oct. 24.)

The eight-film DocYard series continues on Oct. 20 with the all too timely, harrowing “The Return to Homs,” a microcosm of the war in Syria in which two friends begin as peaceful protesters but when the forces of Assad level their hometown of the title, take up arms and fight with the rebels.


The director Talal Derki will conduct a Q&A after the film through Skype. DocYard screenings are at
7 p.m. at the Brattle Theatre, 40 Brattle St., Cambridge. Tickets are $10; $8 for students and seniors.

For more information, go to www.thedocyard.com.

Going viral at UMass

Focusing on documentaries by emerging new talents, the University of Massachusetts Boston film series opens on Oct. 9 with Valerie Veatch’s HBO movie “Love Child.” A mindboggling film that comes across like “Catfish” reinvented by David Cronenberg with a script by Thomas Pynchon, this stranger-than-fiction look into South Korea’s infatuation with the Internet uncovers a cyberworld as insular and weird as the real world of their neighbor to the north.

Veatch relates the incredible story of a mother and father so addicted to an online game called “Prius” that they neglected their 3-month-old son. He starved to death. In court the couple pleaded innocent, claiming that their Internet addiction was to blame.


And you thought Prius was just a funny-looking energy-saving car.

Veatch will be in attendance for a Q&A after the 7 p.m. screening at the UMass Boston Campus Center, 100 Morrissey Blvd. Admission is free.

For more information, go to www.umb.edu/filmseries.

Good deeds rewarded

Mark Lipman and Helen S. Cohen’s wrenching but uplifting “States of Grace” recounts the tragedy that befell HIV/AIDS doctor Grace Dammann. A car accident put her into a 48-day coma from which she recovered. Though her cognitive functions were eventually restored, she remained physically incapacitated, compelling her companion to become her principal caregiver — in addition to providing for their disabled daughter. Once revered for her healing of others, Dammann found herself struggling to make sense of what seemed a bitter repayment for a life spent helping others. This unsentimental and unflinching portrait offers no easy answers.

It screens on Oct. 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the Museum of Fine Arts. A discussion with the directors and Dammann follows the screening. Tickets are $9 for members; $11 for nonmembers.

For more information, go to www.mfa.org/programs/film/states-of-grace.

Forged in irony

Those intrigued by the strange world of art forgery featured in “Art and Craft” might be interested in the Criterion Blu-ray edition of Orson Welles’s last feature film, “F for Fake” (1973), to be released on Oct. 21.

In it, the monumental filmmaker investigates in a seemingly free-associative way the mirror-box relationship between himself, Clifford Irving (the infamous author of a 1972 phony autobiography of Howard Hughes), and Elmyr de Hory, perhaps the greatest art forger of the 20th century. Irving wrote a 1969 biography of de Hory called “Fake!” And, with such panic-inciting pranks as the 1938 “War of the Worlds” radio broadcast to his credit, Welles was a bit of a faker himself.


So three fakers in all, any one of whom, as it turns out, might be faking faking it.

Criterion extras include an audio commentary from actress Oja Kodar and director of photography Gary Graver; “Orson Welles: One-Man Band” (1995), a documentary about Welles’s unfinished projects; “Almost True: The Noble Art of Forgery” (1997), a 52-minute documentary about de Hory; and an essay by the distinguished critic and Welles scholar Jonathan Rosenbaum. It costs $39.95.

For more information, go to www.criterion.com.

Peter Keough can be reached at petervkeough@gmail.com .