Oscar History
Welcome

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

Like The Film Experience on Facebook

Powered by Squarespace
What'cha Looking For?
Comment Fun

Comment Du Jour
What did you see this weekend?
71 films now submitted 

"The Dressmaker is SO GOOD! A bit heartbreaking but totally fun and hilarious." - Craver

"I saw "Sully" which is very good even though there doesn't seem to be enough story for a feature." - Jaragon

Keep TFE Strong

 

LOVE THE SITE? DONATE 

Your suscription dimes make an enormous difference to The Film Experience in terms of stability and budget to dream bigger. Consider...

I ♥ The Film Experience

THANKS IN ADVANCE

For those who can't commit to a dime a day, consider a one time donation for an article or a series you are glad you didn't have to live without.

Subscribe

Entries in documentaries (212)

Tuesday
Sep272016

Ava DuVernay's "The 13th" Gets A Trailer

NYFF is about to officially kick off this Friday, and one of the festival's biggest question marks is Ava DuVernay's documentary The 13th. The opening night selection explores our current prison-for-profit system's exploitation of African Americans and its ties to the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery except under terms of punishment for crimes. The festival was something of a surprise opener for the fest (and rare doc to do so) and here is our first glimpse of what DuVernay has in store for us:

Expect an expansive and passionate timely critique from one of out most vital filmmakers. What's more is that you won't have to wait much time past its debut to see it if you're not lucky enough to attend - Netflix will make the film available to stream October 7 as well as giving it a limited theatrical run. Netflix has had some luck breaking through in the Documentary Feature race at the Oscars, so we'll also be waiting to see if DuVernay's added cache could make it a contender this year.

Tuesday
Sep202016

Doc Corner: Nick Cave and The Beatles Show Mixed Musical Results

Thankfully for us, Nick Cave is not a musician who is easily distilled into a formula blueprint. He isn’t an artist who is easy to pigeonhole and that means anybody who attempts to make a film about him is forced to think outside of the box. Consider 20,000 Days on Earth in which Cave celebrated his 20,000th day of living by driving around with friends like Kylie Minogue and Ray Winstone. That film, partly fictionalized, was only two years ago so if it feels somewhat excessive to have another Nick Cave documentary so soon then the circumstances around Cave’s life since then mean a lot has changed since his 20,000th day on Earth that has dramatically altered him.

One More Time with Feeling is directed by Cave’s friend Andrew Dominik who Cave had worked with on The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Like that film, this is another wholly singular film, the pairing of the two proving to bear the most unique of fruits. Initial sequences suggest that this is going to be a slog of a documentary, the pairing of famous director not known for documentary filmmaking and a famous subject who many filmmakers might just feel the need to point a camera at and shoot and feel as if their work is done.

That is blessedly not the case.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Sep132016

Doc Corner: 'Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four'

Glenn here. Each Tuesday bringing you reviews of documentaries from theatres, festivals and on demand.

The title of Deborah Esquenazi’s film Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four is not an accident. It has been done to deliberately reference both West of Memphis and The Central Park Five. Those two films were also true crime documentaries that focused on cases in which the wrong people – bundled together under one umbrella with a numerical media savvy nickname – were convicted of a heinous crime. The mistrials of justice in both of those cases were so monumental that multiple films, non-fiction and dramatic, exist about each.

It’s doubtful the same will become true of the San Antonio Four given the crimes for which the four women at the centre of its terribly heartbreaking story were charged and found guilty of were not as sensationally savage as those other stories. In fact, as Esquenazi’s film details, there was no crime at all. No bloodied body for which somebody absolutely had to held accountable. Rather, just a particularly cruel and shockingly stupid lie that steamrolled into the imprisonment of four innocent women. [more...]

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Sep062016

Doc Corner: 'Cameraperson' is Simply Extraordinary

Glenn here. Each Tuesday bringing you reviews of documentaries from theatres, festivals and on demand.

Cameraperson is the most extraordinary of documentaries. A compelling first-person visual memoir that intricately weaves some 15 years of filmmaking into a remarkably watchable cinematic patchwork quilt. A truly wondrous mix-tape that finds documentary cinematographer Kirsten Johnson taking directorial duties upon herself in the creation of a film about the creation of films. She utilizes b-roll footage, outtakes, and home movies to build, as if like free-form lego, a powerful portrait of not just herself, but the world we live in. Cameraperson is without a doubt the best documentary of 2016, and just maybe the best film of the year, period.

You have surely seen some of the films that Johnson has used footage from. Popular titles like Fahrenheit 9/11 and Citizenfour from Johnson's frequent collaborator Laura Poitras, the latter of which makes a wonderfully obscure and unexplained appearance yet which only proves how impressively that doc was filmed. We’ve even reviewed some of them right here at The Film Experience like Dawn Porter’s Trapped, which was the very first title we reviewed in the Doc Corner.

No matter how many of the 24 titles Johnson draws from that you have seen, you haven’t seen them like this. And any that you haven't will no doubt rocket to the top of your must watch pile...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Aug302016

Doc Corner: The Cinematic Surprise of 'The Royal Road'

Glenn here. Each Tuesday bringing you reviews of documentaries from theatres, festivals and on demand.

One of the many benefits of doing this weekly column is not just talking about the sort of documentaries that we may be discussing throughout award season, but also being able to highlight those that deserve haven’t a hope that nonetheless deserve the attention. Such is the case with Jenni Olsen’s The Royal Road, an essay film that trades in experimental and avant-garde traditions as a means to explore deeply personal topics.

Using dry yet curiously hypnotic narration, Olsen swerves between discussing Californian history, a long-distance relationship with a woman named Juliet, classic Hollywood movies, and the effects of nostalgia (the latter of which even features a voice cameo by Tony Kuschner). Her film a progression of beautifully captured California vistas of San Francisco, Los Angeles, and everywhere in between, filmed on 16mm by cinematographer Sophia Constantinou whose perfectly composed 4:3 ratio images recall the works of James Benning and offer a striking visual component that elevates the film to the status of true art. By using real film and embracing all of the dots and speckles that come with it, Constantinou’s work adopts the history of the worlds she is filming while also embracing Olson’s edict that nostalgia can be good.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Aug232016

Doc Corner: Reality Bites in 'Kate Plays Christine'

Glenn here. Each Tuesday bringing you reviews of documentaries from theatres, festivals and on demand.

There is so much to unpack within Robert Greene’s Kate Plays Christine, not least of which is whether the film ought to be considered a documentary in the first place. Greene pushes the concept of documentary as a malleable construct that audiences should question the authenticity of much further than his previous 'non-fiction' work, Actress. This time by altogether abandoning reality, he calls into question everything we see in a documentary. By making the audience ask what is and is not real in Kate Plays Christine, Greene is essentially making us question what is real in any documentary and consider the motivations and mechanics behind them.

Audiences have no doubt asked these questions before in famously are-they-or-aren’t-they works of documentary like Catfish, Exit Through the Gift Shop, and even this year’s Tickled

But those films, traditional narratives regardless of their factuality, are nothing on Kate Plays Christine. An altogether hypnotic film in which actress Kate Lyn Sheil sets about studying the life of Christine Chubbuck for a strange, absurdly amateur feature film about the seemingly forgotten Floridian newscaster who shot herself live on air in 1974 seemingly in an act of desperation and contempt for how far television news had succumbed to the mantra of “if it bleeds it leads”...

Click to read more ...