Devlin's film uses fast cuts and a zoom-happy camera to move his utilities saga along, but Rithy Panh takes the opposite, formal approach with S-21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine, utilizing long takes and steady, contemplative compositions to show the confrontation between the few survivors of the Cambodian genocide of the 1970s and their old jailers. Some of the latter sleep badly, while others have no problem re-enacting their rousting and torturing of prisoners. Panh's great movie is in its way about art: Only one painter survives, because his jailers like his gentle brushstrokes on their leader's face.
Many of the series' offerings -- from Colombia, the Philippines, and Israel -- plunge viewers into the ongoing bedlam of social disintegration as brave individuals make do. A particular standout is Balseros, which follows seven refugees who escape from Havana on homemade rafts in 1994 across seven years, revealing their new lives in America in 2001. Spaniards Carles Bosch and Josep Domènech move easily back and forth from Cuba to the United States. Life in the U.S. is good for some -- a man is reunited with a lost daughter -- but is shattering for others. One refugee deals drugs; another is an abusive male who moves from girlfriend to girlfriend. This last man has taken to heart his brother's motto about this country: "You have to resolve your own problems before you resolve the problems of others. And since there are problems every day, there's no time left for others."