Gearing up for APOCALYPSE & wolf as best buddy: WATCH RTD’s most popular documentaries of 2019
Wrapping up a turbulent 2019, RT Documentary has picked its 10 most watched films of the outgoing year, including a look into the world of people who think the end of days might be just around the corner.
In Japan, lonely deaths, or ‘kodokushi’, are so common that a whole cleaning industry has sprung up around the phenomenon. Numerous companies offer to clear out the homes of lonely seniors or singles who pass away unnoticed. An RTD crew went to Japan for an inside look at the unusual business and the worrying trend of ‘kodokushi’.
When an Elephant Smiles
Dozens of elephants are killed for their ivory every day, while orphaned infants are left without a chance to survive in the wild on their own. In the heart of Zimbabwe, though, a unique sanctuary offers baby pachyderms a temporary home and the round-the-clock care they so desperately need. Founder Roxy Danckwerts tells us about the joys and challenges of raising baby elephants and releasing them back where they belong.
Ivan and the Wolf
Massage therapist Ivan, from the Russian city of Volgograd, once took pity on a wolf cub his hunter friends brought back from a forest. Ivan has since raised the wolf in a one-bedroom apartment, documenting the reality of life with an unusual pet on his Instagram account and raising money for a country house.
Kristina Evtushenko was only 19 when she took on the role of mother to her five younger brothers and sister. Both of their parents tragically died within a year, and the kids could have been taken into care. Determined to keep her family together, Kristina put her studies aside and moved to her home village to become the siblings’ legal guardian and the head of their hectic household.
Where Childhood Died
During the war in Syria, children in terrorist-held areas were forced to become fighters and workers and made to witness barbaric atrocities. The insurgents were driven away, but the emotional damage left the children deeply traumatized. Can the former child fighters leave their memories and fears behind?
Childfree couples and singles tell RTD why they’ve chosen to forgo parenthood. A selfish lifestyle fad? An economic choice? Environmental worries? The reasons behind voluntary childlessness are varied, but it still challenges conventional thinking, with advocates often facing social stigma. We meet some of the US’s ‘childfree by choice’ to hear why parenting is no longer a default option.
Yellow Vest Fever
The Yellow Vest movement has swept across France like a tidal wave. From small villages to city centers, angry protesters keep taking to the streets in weekly demonstrations that are often marred by violence and fiery clashes with police. What do they want and, why hasn’t the movement died out yet? The Yellow Vests’ initiators and key players give their take on how anti-fuel tax marches became a broad movement and why the struggle is just beginning.
Tolerance du Voyage
Nearly half a million French citizens identify as gypsies and are known as the ‘gens du voyage’, or people who travel. Thousands of them still tour the country in mobile homes, but the 2018 ‘Loi Carle’ law is making their traditional lifestyle on the move too expensive. In addition to this, the recent influx of impoverished Roma from Eastern Europe has fueled longstanding prejudices against gypsies. RTD hears from French gypsies who explain why values of liberty, equality and fraternity don’t extend to everyone.
In 2019, the Infected Blood Inquiry began hearing from victims of the UK’s contaminated blood scandal. In the 1970s and ‘80s, thousands of hemophiliacs and other NHS patients contracted HIV or hepatitis C after receiving the drug known as Factor 8. It was later revealed that this medication was derived from the blood of high-risk donors. Now the survivors and their relatives seek answers from the government as to why such a tragedy was allowed to happen.
In the US, survivalism has never been more popular, and the market for doomsday shelters is thriving. Americans believing in the inevitability of an apocalypse have a variety to choose from, from nuclear resistant bunkers to luxury survival condos. RTD travelled around the mid-West to tour survival facilities and meet both buyers and sellers.
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