Advertisement
Oscar History
Welcome

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.

Powered by Squarespace
Don't Miss This!

Reader Questions
Lawrence, Pine, Trans Cinema, Etc

What'cha Looking For?
Comment Fun

Comment(s) Du Jour
Handmaid's Tale ep 1 & 2

"Margaret Atwood's novel is superb. If this is half as good, it will be great!" - Marcelo

"My one concern is how much of the novel is covered so quickly. Even in the first episode, they pulled a lot of events from the middle of the novel right in there to establish the universe. The pacing works onscreen, but what are they going to have left to cover by episode 9 and 10?." - Robert

Interviews

Betty Buckley (Split)
Michael O'Shea (The Transfiguration)
Filmmakers (Cézanne and I)
Melissa Leo (Most Hated Woman in America)
Ritesh Batra (Sense of an Ending)

Keep TFE Strong

We're looking for 500 Patron Saints!

IF YOU READ THE SITE DAILY, PLEASE BE ONE BY DONATING. 
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

Subscribe

Entries in documentaries (255)

Tuesday
Apr252017

Doc Corner: 'Obit'

By Glenn Dunks

An observation made towards the start of Vanessa Gould’s Obit: despite the reputation as the reporting of death, most obituaries are only 10% about the death of an individual. The other 90% is about life. How a person lived it, what they did, where they went and how they go there.

That's an appropriate anecdote to lead with given how turned off people may be about a film set within the supposedly dreary old world of an obituary department in a physical news outlet like the New York Times.

It’s a nice thought from a film whose prime subjects are not dead and are in fact living...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Apr182017

Doc Corner: 'God Knows Where I Am'

by Glenn Dunks

The discovery of a woman’s lifeless body in an abandoned New Hampshire farmhouse next to a diary that reads how she, if found dead, was the victim of domestic abuse is the starting point for Jedd and Todd Wider’s God Knows Where I Am. These words begin the story of how Linda Bishop came to be in the house, a tragic entry point to a story that takes on further inescapably sad connotations the more we learn about her and what lead to her body lying dead on the hardwood floors of an empty house after the worst winter on record.

It’s not exactly a spoiler to note that domestic violence is not what brought Linda’s life to an end. Perhaps she thought it was...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Apr072017

Two Oscar Rule Changes: One great, the other tragic

by Nathaniel R

The Academy announced some a few rule changes today. You no longer have to have only one composer to be eligible for Original Score, and producing partnerships will be considered a single entity now -- meaning more people could be nominated for producing Best Picture nominees. But the two big changes are about the Documentary and Animated Feature races and one of those changes we applaud and the other makes us want to riot to protect a beloved artform...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Apr042017

Doc Corner: Is 'Five Came Back' Netflix's Oscar Moment?

by Glenn Dunks

It can sometimes feel like we’ve seen WWII from so many perspectives that there can’t possibly be new ways to convey the weight of its tragedy. That Five Came Back, a new three-part mini-docu-series on Netflix, manages to succeed at doing this is just one of its many virtues. Adapted from Mark Harris’ book of the same name by Harris himself and directed by Laurent Bouzereau, this is a three-hour documentary about the work of five of Hollywood’s biggest directorial names of the 1930s who enlisted to support the American war effort the only way that they knew how: through film, and the personal battles they fought in order to do so.

They were Frank Capra, John Huston, George Stevens, William Wyler and John Ford – the latter of whom gets the biggest laugh labelling documentaries in the 1930s as “silly things that rich kooks made” – each of whom left behind successful careers without the promise of anything when they came back.

If they came back at all. The series charts their early efforts before America’s entering the war after Pearl Harbour in 1941 before digging more deeply in the works that they produced from the front lines on the ground and in the skies....

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Mar282017

Doc Corner: Meet the Girls of 'All This Panic'

“It’s just one of those things when you expect something to be amazing and perfect and it’s not.”

Those words are spoken by 16-year-old Lena in Jenny Gage’s gorgeous slice of life documentary, All This Panic, as she describes the feeling of liking a boy who didn’t like her back. Never mind that, though; aren’t they a perfect encapsulation of the teenage existence more generally? Lena is just one of a handful of teenage female subjects that Gage and her cinematographer husband Tom Betterton stumble upon in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn; the experiences of whom make up this exquisite debut feature.

Lena, socially forward but with a struggling family life, is joined by sisters Ginger and Dusty, Gage and Betterton’s neighbours, the elder of which has little concept of where she wants her life to go and confesses to being “petrified of getting old”; Sage, a rare African American student at a prestigious Manhattan school whose outspoken attitude is coupled with an internal battle between her class status and her face; and Olivia, who confides to the camera about her sexuality before she ever would her parents.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Mar262017

New Directors / New Films: "Happiness Academy"

Have you ever seen a film which mixes documentary with fiction? Hybrid films, films with documentary and fiction parts or at least performed / acted elements have been around for some time. I'm not enough of a documentary expert to know if this is an increasing trend but in the past few years I've seen a few. From my (extremely limited) experience the combo can spark frissons of excitement and thoughtful layers as in Sarah Polley's autobiographical mystery Stories We Tell. The hybrid approach can also be both fascinating and exhausting simultaneously as with Clio Barnard's The Arbor (2010) in which actors lipsynched to recorded interviews from the actual documentary subjects.

At this year's New Directors / New Films festival, which wraps today in NYC, the hybrid technique (genre?) gets another discussable entry via Happiness Academy...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Mar212017

Doc Corner: The Confined Spaces of 'Solitary'

by Glenn Dunks

Solitary could have gone in many different directions. Filmed over a year inside the supermax solitary confinement prison of Red Onion, Virginia, all sorts of independent narratives that are weaved throughout could have made for their own captivating feature. There are the guards, disturbed by what they see, and the death of the region’s prime coal mining industry that brought them to this line of work. There are the crimes of the prisoners, most of them violent, some of them not so. And then there is, like Ava DuVernay’s (broader, superior) Oscar-nominated 13th, the system itself that is obviously damaged and flawed at its very core.

It's nice, but also a little frustrating, then that director Kristi Jacobson (known best for 2012’s A Place at the Table) chose something far less sensational by focusing on the concept of nature versus nurture. Nice because that feels rare in film, but frustrating because it doesn't make the most of its unique access while doing so...

Click to read more ...