In the 2016 film Captain Fantastic, Ben Cash (Viggo Mortensen – The Lord of the Rings, A History of Violence), is a father with meticulous survivalist and socialist ideals. He lives live an isolated off-the-grid life in the forests of the Pacific Northwest with his six children.
The children are subject to extreme physical training that borders on abuse. Ben Cash also educates his brood in a way that strictly reinforces the ideals of his specific belief system. Little room is left for the children to discover the world for themselves, as they live out their childhoods in a societal vacuum.
Upon receiving devastating news, the family is forced to leave their idyllic forest home (on their big blue school bus named Steve) and travel to New Mexico to fight for the dignity of their kin.
The interactions between the Cash family and the folks they meet along their journey prove to be awkwardly challenging. And the family’s alternative lifestyle is scrutinized as different perspectives offer insight and criticism.
Captain Fantastic is written and directed by Matt Ross, who is known best for his acting role as Gavin Belson in the HBO series Silicon Valley.
In an interview with Variety in June, Ross explains the motivation for the film: “I wanted to ask those questions about what it means when you’re responsible for another person and begin to curate their life.”
Is Ben a dedicated and loving father, or an eccentric child abuser? The answer really depends on our own world view.
The film garnered the award for directing called the Un Certain Regard at the 2016 Festival de Cannes, and was also an official selection in the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.
The 2015 documentary Sonita chronicles the heart-wrenching story of a young Afghan girl who, against all odds, finds a way to make her voice heard.
Deeply hurt by her mother’s callous attitude toward selling her as a bride, Sonita laments the injustice of this monstrous tradition through music.
In her powerful song and music video, “Brides for Sale,” Sonita poignantly expresses the intolerable pain of being sold by someone who is supposed to love you, and the feeling that you were born to be a bartering tool instead of an individual. In the video, Sonita wears make-up representing the bruises on the face of her friend, demonstrating how her music speaks for all Afghan and Iranian women.
Her fiery artistic drive viscerally humanizes the struggle of young women who are bought and sold like cattle, a fate Sonita compares to death; illuminating this inhuman tradition and insisting that no person should be born with a price tag.
Sonita was written, directed and produced by Iranian filmmaker Rokhsareh Ghaemmaghami. She said she struggled with her role as impartial filmmaker as she feels so deeply for Sonita’s situation. In this film two strong female artists unite to provide the world a stark window into the truth.
The film garnered the Sundance Film Festival Audience Award for World Cinema Documentary, along with the Sundance World Cinema Grand Jury Prize for documentary.
Sonita screens on Sunday, Nov. 27 at 6 p.m. followed by Captain Fantastic at 8 p.m. at the Yukon Arts Centre. Tickets available at YukonTickets.com.