Top Docs: Thrilling 'The Lost Leonardo'; 'Breaking Bread'; and More

LJ’s documentary film reviewer picks four intriguing works, now available on DVD/Blu-ray. 

Breaking Bread. 89+ min. Cohen Media Group. In English, Hebrew, and Arabic with English subtitles. 2022. UPC DVD 3832925791. $19.99.

After chef Nof Atamna-Ismaeel became the first Israeli Arab winner of Israel’s Master Chef in 2014, she started a festival in Haifa with the goal of using food as a bridge for social change for Muslim and Jewish chefs in Israel. Chefs are paired and required to make a dish together, and the result is frequently mouthwatering and a deep cultural connection to both those cooking and eating. Director Beth Elise Hawk’s film is respectful to its subjects and extremely optimistic as it profiles the chefs and then digs into the background behind their cuisine. VERDICT An intimate snapshot of a delectable food scene in Israel that bridges divisive politics with a shared love of cooking.

Let Me Be Me. 75+ min. Greenwich Entertainment. 2022. UPC 38332925792. $19.99.

When Kyle Westphal was diagnosed with autism at six, his life changed dramatically for the better. There was painful, hard work to come for himself and his family, but gone were the uncertainty, misinformation, and wrong treatments. Instead, they moved forward with a progressive, social-based program utilizing dedicated volunteers, and the results were stunning. With this documentary, codirectors Dan Crane and Katie Taber have crafted a heartwarming film that cuts back and forth between remarkable footage of Kyle growing up through stops, starts, and breakthroughs to the present day with Kyle in college, intensely studying fashion, and in the midst of creating a collection for a runway show. VERDICT This is a beautiful story about one person’s transformative journey across the autism spectrum.

The Lost Leonardo. 100+ min. Sony Pictures Classic. 2021. UPC 4339657770. $27.99.

Add this title to the list of terrific documentaries about the avarice of the art world. From the first moments of director Andreas Koefoed’s film, it picks up speed and never lets go. The wide-ranging cast of characters (with questionable morals and malleable legal stances) is concerned with the authenticity and possible financial windfall connected to Salvator Mundi, a painting from the early 16th century. Could the painting be a lost Leonardo da Vinci? If so, hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake, the reputations of famous museums are on the line, and an extremely wealthy but repressive government might be secretly involved. There are twists and turns from beginning to end in this greed-fueled mystery and art world whodunit. VERDICT An extremely entertaining and fast-paced documentary that often feels like a thriller.

WBCN and the American Revolution. 120+ min. PBS. 2021. UPC 4188704600. $24.99.

Director Bill Lichtenstein’s ecstatic telling of the story of a radical radio station in Boston delivers a colorful blast of 1960s and ’70s politics and music. DJs, listeners, and musicians relate vivid details of the raucous, groundbreaking station that was linked to anti-war, feminist, and queer social movements, a place intimately clued in to the volatility of the era. At WBCN, it wasn’t all about the music—though this film does have an amazing soundtrack, as its subject is first and foremost the radio station. VERDICT Anyone interested in the cultural zeitgeist of the 1960s will appreciate this account of a groundbreaking radio station.

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