Hot Docs 2023: Our Review of ‘Non-Aligned: Scenes from the Labudović Reels’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Hot Docs 2023, Movies by - May 02, 2023
Hot Docs 2023: Our Review of ‘Non-Aligned: Scenes from the Labudović Reels’

Stevan Labudović reads the feedback that he gets from the government agency that hired him. “You should insist on shooting people’s faces,” he reads from the piece of paper, and there’s a beautiful irony in this scene. Mila Turajlic’s previous documentary Cine-Guerillas has the obscure old master criticizing the things that the former does while making a documentary about the latter. He does similar things in this new documentary Non-Aligned: Scenes from the Labudović Reels, but the lovable crank reveals imperfections that he isn’t afraid to admit. After all, he did his best to shape history. He was the official cameraman following former Yugoslavian president Josef Broz Tito. Turajlic plays reels from American and French sources calling Tito a boring hypocrite. This is a different person from the one Turajlic knows, one with the vision to unite the countries that didn’t align with the Eastern nor the Western blocs.

Archival documentaries can feel mainstream nowadays but Non-Aligned somehow makes the old feel present. Just like in Cine-Guerillas, the documentary is a good balance of archive footage and contemporaneous ones. Turajlic revisits the places where obscure history happened. Turajlic returns to the shipped that Labudovic and Tito sailed on to visit the latter’s allies in an Africa that’s freeing themselves from the shackles of Western colonialism. She goes to the place in New York City where she meets with one of Tito’s summit’s last witnesses to prove that it wasn’t the yawn fest that the French media paints it as. She makes her viewers feel the tense air in the room where these men were organizing to defy the current world order. It’s obvious that my sympathies lie with the documentary’s subjects. But the documentary itself is a masterwork of assembly, as she puts the pieces of history together.

  • Release Date: 4/29/2023
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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watches movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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