Mothers: a critical and original look at China’s one-child policy

A still from 'Mothers' by Huijing Xu

A still from ‘Mothers’ by Huijing Xu

The incredibly brave documentary Mothers by Huijing Xu lasts an hour but scars for life. Returning to his native northern Chinese village of Ma, Huijing Xu trails government officials, camera in hand and films them doing their job: enforcing the one-child policy and policing the administration of birth control and sterilisation on all women of child-bearing age.

Thirty years after the one-child policy was implemented along with hefty fines for those who don’t adhere to it, this harrowing “day in the life of” shows how policies from the top filter down through the layers to the village streets where on a local level neighbours and friends are compelled to interfere in each other’s most private sphere.

Check out my full review of this documentary, which received a special mention at the Sheffield Doc/Fest last week.


NCR: Not Criminally Responsible


NCRHe was driven by the voices in his head, she was driven by an errand to run. Their paths collided, a mind snapped, a blade lashed out, a victim fell, her life forever changed. It was 1999.


NCR takes the viewer on an agonising journey into the depths of mental illness and its very tragic consequences for both the sufferer and those around him.

This documentary runs at the Sheffield Doc/Fest today and tomorrow, catch it if you can! Read my full review over on DocGeeks.


Mirage Men: and now for something completely different

A still from Mirage Men, which will premiere at the Sheffield Doc/Fest

A still from Mirage Men, which will premiere at the Sheffield Doc/Fest

This week has been so hot in Ireland eggs were frying on stones and Toblerone has been melting on window sills before 10am. To compound my exquisite good luck, I’ve also been privvy to some exclusive previews of the Sheffield Doc/Fest which opens this week.

The first documentary I was enthralled by was called Mirage Men. The film, which will premiere worldwide this week at the festival, is easily one of the most intriguing documentaries I’ve seen in a while.

Correctly described as a blend between Close Encounters of the Third Kind and the Manchurian candidate, Mirage Men spins a dark yarn of unexplained phenomena and of belief manipulation by higher powers which will leave you wondering which part of what you’re seeing and hearing is real. And you may never find out.

To read my full review and to see the trailer, head over to DocGeeks.