WATCH DOCS recommends: Arte in Polish

Documentary films produced and co-produced by European cultural channel ARTE have been included in the WATCH DOCS IFF program every year and are an important point of reference in the discussion about the most current human rights issues. Currently, it is possible to follow the ARTE program offer also on the Internet, on the VoD platform Arte in Polish. For our viewers, we have selected the most interesting documentaries and documentary series available on


1) “Belarus: Diary of a Revolution”

In the series "Belarus: Chronicle of the Revolution" ARTE correspondent in Minsk Kseniya Halubovich reports on the massive post-election protests in Belarus.

In August 2020, the democratic opposition of Belarus began an unprecedented process to mobilise society in peaceful mass protests for democracy in a country long considered the last dictatorship in Europe. The protests began in the light of elections that saw Aliaksandr Lukashenka claim his sixth term as president in a contest marred by allegations of widespread electoral fraud.

The program of the 20th WATCH DOCS featured several films showing Belarusian protests and their consequences. In recent weeks, we have received very disturbing news from Belarus regarding the arrest of WATCH DOCS Belarus film festival director Tatsiana Hatsura-Javorska. On April 15, Hatsura-Javorska was released from custody in Minsk, but her case is still under investigation. In an open letter, the world film community expressed concern about the arrest of the activist and other Belarusian human rights defenders.

The letter was signed by festivals affiliated with the Human Rights Film Network, the International Coalition for Filmmakers at Risk, and other festivals from around the world, including the Berlinale, Sundance, and Marché du Film - Festival de Cannes, among others - totaling more than 180 film institutions to date.

2) “Re: Polish Women Fight for Abortion Rights

After the verdict issued on October 22, 2020 by the Julia Przyłębska Tribunal, which ruled that the possibility of abortion due to severe and irreversible fetal impairment or an incurable disease threatening its life is unconstitutional, performing an abortion in Poland became even more difficult than before. Inga, whose fetus was seriously damaged, had to travel abroad to have an abortion. However, many "pro-life" supporters like Pawel, a Catholic and head of a family, are campaigning for further tightening of the law.

"Polish women fight for the right to abortion" is a reportage by Konrad Szołajski, whose previous films, including "The Battle with Satan" and "The Good Change", were shown in the WATCH DOCS IFF program.

3) “Extinction Rebellion and the Battle of the Century

The WATCH DOCS program showcases films on the relationship between human rights and ecology in a special thematic section. In our time, the challenges of environmental protection, countering climate catastrophe and activism for the planet are unquestionably among those most important for the protection of human rights.

Alizée Chiappini and Adèle Flaux's film tells the story of activists who have dropped everything to dedicate themselves to one cause. What cause? Saving the world! Between utopia and constructive engagement, a new kind of mass movement is emerging: radical but non-violent protests to force governments to implement the commitments made at the international climate summit. The film accompanies the French activists through two years in which Europe is filled with anger, enthusiasm and fear at the same time.

4) "Russia: Protests Against Putin"

Vladimir Putin has been ruling Russia for 21 years. This has been a period of constant attacks on the opposition and restrictions on media freedom.The dissatisfaction of Russian men and women with this state of affairs reached a boiling point after the arrest of Alexei Navalny in January this year.  The largest wave of protests in years swept Russia, with people taking to the streets in more than 100 Russian cities and towns.

5) "Devil's Rope"

As in her previous film, “Trees”, Sophie Bruneau needs only one object to describe a whole world. In this case it’s barbed wire that tells a parallel history of the settlement of America. What started out as a useful tool to fence in animals leads to the staking of claims and the large-scale privatisation of land and ultimately to the sealing of the Mexican border against economic refugees. The former myth of the Wild West and the still popular phrase “God’s own Country” are taken ad absurdum in the face of the forest of private property signs and the gating frenzy. After all, individualisation and industrialisation come at a price. The land has long ceased to be a landscape and turned into mere arable territory. These facts are not devoid of a certain humour, which Sophie Bruneau brings out calmly in “Devil's Rope”. With gusto and a few surprising twists she depicts the origin and rich variety of this simple wire in grand tableaux. The references implied in the images to the original American movie genre, the Western, add to our enjoyment.

The film was screened at DOK Leipzig and Full Frame festivals, among others.

(synopsis: Cornelia Klauß/DOK Leipzig)


ARTE in Polish is a free VOD service co-financed by EU funds and created as an initiative of ARTE TV: a public, non-commercial, Franco-German cultural channel. The aim of ARTE is to reach the widest possible range of Europeans by providing high quality programs in their native languages: programs are available in French and German, and in VOD version with subtitles in English, Spanish, Polish and Italian.

ARTE's digital offer in Polish, launched in November 2016, includes the most interesting programs from the ARTE TV schedule - documentaries, investigative reports, magazines on current social issues, politics, history, travel, technology, culture, pop culture and art.

The offer abounds also in coverage of various stage performances: opera, ballet, theater and concerts of all musical genres. ARTE programs in Polish can be viewed at on mobile applications, as well as on smart TV.