Oscar History

The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member of our team as noted.

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William Holden in Picnic

"I find Holden has a more earthy sex appeal in his early roles, you could kick your shoes off and put them on his lap and he wouldn't flinch." - Mark

"My mother's favorite actor. His dance with Kim Novak is an unforgettable movie moment." -Jaragon

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Entries in Doc Corner (99)


Doc Corner: William Friedkin's 'The Devil and Father Amorth'

By Glenn Dunks

It’s becoming more common for directors known for fictional narrative cinema to work in the documentary medium as well. Not all of them land as successfully as, say, Ava DuVernay who managed a Best Documentary nomination at the Oscars as her first nod, despite previous critically acclaimed narrative features including even a Best Picture nominee. Documentary is, after all, just another form of building a narrative. There’s no real reason why telling a story in that form ought to be any different to building one around real people and real locations.

The Devil and Father Armoth, now in limited release and available on digital platforms, isn't William Friedkin's first documentary. He's made short docs like 2007’s The Painter’s Voice, 1985’s Putting it Together: The Making of the Broadway Album for Barbra Streisand, and the feature-length Conversations with Fritz Lang. That latter example, a 1975 film, followed Friedkin’s one-two-three narrative punch of The Boys in the Band, The French Connection and The Exorcist.

The filmmaker and his subject

The Exorcist remains his most famous film and also lays the groundwork for The Devil and Father Amorth...

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Doc Corner: 'Yours in Sisterhood' is an Essential Film for 2018

This week we're going to the Art of the Real festival in NYC from April 26 to May 6, which will feature documentaries by big names of international cinema like Sergei Loznitsa, Corneliu Porumboiu and Kazuhiro Soda, and will open with Julien Faraut's John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection.

By Glenn Dunks

I finally just finished season one of The Handmaid’s Tale, which feels appropriate to note as I sit down to write about the incredible documentary Yours in Sisterhood. If people thought that the themes of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel remained pertinent to present day society, then what can be said about this documentary that repurposes unpublished letters to the editor of Ms. magazine from the 1970s as a reflection on the struggles of women in contemporary society.

This compelling documentary by Irene Lusztig, full of rich words and thought-provoking dichotomies, takes its name from Amy Erdman Farrell’s 1998 non-fiction biography of the history of Ms. entitled Yours in Sisterhood: Ms. Magazine and the Promise of Popular Feminism. But that doesn’t necessarily make for the sort of rapturous documentary about Ms. that one might expect. Rather it asks the viewer to consider the many ways equality – and more specifically, feminism – has come, how it succeeded and how it failed, both then and in the current day, and how we look at and interact with history...

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Doc Corner: Mariska Hargitay and the Heroes of 'I Am Evidence'

**Before getting into this week's review, I wanted to mention that this column recently won an Australian Film Critics Association Award! My review of Laura Poitras' Risk was awarded the Award for Best Review of an Individual Non-Australian Film from a panel of judges and I couldn't be more chuffed. This column is a labor of love because I love watching and writing about documentaries so I was so happy to see some love of its own thrown back. Thank you to Nathaniel for having it here and to all the readers who follow along.**

By Glenn Dunks

The cult of Law & Order: Special Victim’s Unit is a peculiar one. For nineteen (19!!) seasons, we tune in to new instalments, binge old episodes while sick and in need of comfort television or catch the climax of an episode we've somehow seen several times before. "Oh, I love this one. It's about the talk show host who was attacked by her co-host who turns out to be a serial sex pest!" Gosh. How a show about the police investigating sex crimes became “comfort television” is something I, a fan of the series, don’t quite know the full answer to, although I suspect it involves something similar to how audiences often turn to horror movies as a dramatic vent.

Audiences get the rollercoaster of emotions that a show with such a premise offers and the rapists and the abusers always get caught and brought to swift justice in span of just 60 minutes before we move on to washing the dishes or walking the dog or going to bed.

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Doc Corner: 'Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami'

By Glenn Dunks

Documentaries about musicians can feel like a dime a dozen. It’s no wonder, too, since they’re such easy sells for festivals and home entertainment in a market that is over-saturated with exhibitors and distributors in need to properties that don’t require elaborate marketing campaigns -- just a hope and a prayer that they will ‘catch on’.

Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami is not exactly one of those films. It is unconventional as rock docs go in a whole host of ways, but it’s also a film that even its subject’s fans may struggle with. It eschews a typical birth-to-death narrative and instead focuses on Grace’s experiences in Jamaica and Paris recording her 2008 album Hurricane, recorded in garish lo-fi digital video, juxtaposed against richly filmed concert footage that echoes her 1982 One Man Show. It’s a documentary that leaves questions – like what exactly are “Bloodlight" and "Bami” (I had to look them up)? Why did it take so long to complete? 

 It drifts by for 115 minutes on its own sort of trippy wavelength which is, if you think about it, entirely appropriate for a documentary about Miss Grace Jones, one of the most enigmatic and exciting pop stars of the 20th century...

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Doc Corner: 'Leaning Into the Wind'

By Glenn Dunks

As a medium, film is a record forever. An actor can give a stunning performance on a stage, but without a camera to capture it, it remains somewhat in the ether – a happening, an instance, a moment in time that can only truly live on in the mind of those who witnessed it. Of course, that doesn’t make it any less valid or worthy, but it’s something worth considering as we watch movies that they, even fictional ones, are ultimately a document of the emotions and the energy and the craft that was put into it, captured forever for anybody to experience.

I thought of this as I watched Thomas Riedelsheimer’s Leaning into the Wind: Andy Goldsworthy because it is a film that will live on as the only document of some of Goldsworthy’s work. The artist is known predominantly for his works that incorporate nature and are often finite in their existence.

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