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Entries in documentaries (321)

Friday
Dec082017

Oscar Narrows the Documentary Feature Field

Chris here, with more Oscar bake off lists. Today we have the 15 films advancing in the Documentary Feature race, many of which we have covered here at The Film Experience in Glenn's column Doc Corner. The eventual lineup could include two recent Honorary Oscar winners: Frederick Wiseman (Ex Libris: New York Public Library) and Agnès Varda (Faces Places, with JR), neither of who had ever been nominated in the category. Al Gore could be returning to the Oscars, as the follow-up to winning climate change doc An Inconvenient Truth has also advanced. Take a look at the rest of the list:

Some beloved players that missed the lineup include Kedi, Whose Streets?, Dawson City: Frozen Time, and Casting JonBenet to just name a few. Jane, featuring recently rediscovered footage from Jane Goodall's study of apes, might be the early frontrunner thanks to a few wins with NBR and Critics Choice. Oscar Chart here!

Tuesday
Dec052017

Doc Corner: 'LA 92' and 'Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992' 

by Glenn Dunks

It’s not surprising that the spectre of the Los Angeles riots of 1992 has loomed large over documentary filmmaking this year. Emerging out from shadow of O.J. Simpson, whose story was everywhere in 2016, the 25th anniversary of this monumental moment in American history has been the focus of not just (by my count) five feature documentaries, but has also felt like an integral part of more contemporary films like Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis’ Whose Streets, Yance Ford’s Strong Island, and Peter Nicks’ The Force.

It would make sense then that these films, which largely pull from many of the same archival footage sources, might be in danger of working against one another. Dampening their urgency and their power simply by being too numerous.

However, at least in the case of Dan Lindsay and TJ Miller’s LA 92 and John Ridley’s Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992, that is certainly not what has occurred...

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Tuesday
Nov282017

Doc Corner: 'Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story'

More often than not, biographic documentaries can feel staid in the way they so relentlessly follow a basic Point A to Point B narrative. It is understandable, really. After all, one must suppose that if somebody is interesting enough to have a documentary made about them, then they must be interesting enough to sustain 90 minutes without the need for their story to be gussied up with stylistic bells and tricky whistles.

Still, watching as many of these sort of films as I do, it can grow tiresome and can take me out of whatever spell the filmmaker hopes to cast.

And then there is a movie like Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story. This is a film that it would be easy to pigeonhole before the opening scene has even begun - and it’s true that Alexandra Dean’s film adheres to a very traditional birth-to-death narrative. But what makes the film so interesting beyond its subject is the way it turns what could be perceived as just standard bio-doc delivery into a unique advantage.

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Friday
Nov242017

Linkovers

• New York Times "The artists have been rebuked. Now what about their art?"
• Gr8ter Days which years were the worst for celebrity deaths? A morbid obsessive list that's kind of eye opening. I mean 1977... ouch.
• Los Angeles Times Carol Burnett on the 50th anniversary of her classic show
• The Guardian Guy Lodge wonders about the relative sexlessness of Call Me By Your Name and Moonlight before it and whether that timidity is what it takes for an LGBT film to become a big Oscar player?

Much more after the jump including Justice League credits, Daniel Dae Kim, Michael Apted, Aquaman, an honor for Detroit and the first round of PGA nominations...

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Tuesday
Nov212017

Doc Corner: DOC NYC Wrap Up

By Glenn Dunks

The massive DOC NYC festival wrapped up in New York City last week, having showcased over 250 films and events. We have already looked at a documentary about a David Lynch classic as well as a series of films about the cities around us. We conclude with a wrap-up diving into some of the human portraits that will hopefully be making their way to cinemas, festivals and VOD over the next year.

A MURDER IN MANSFIELD
Barbara Kopple won an Academy Award for her first two films. That those two documentaries, Harlan County USA and American Dream were made 14 years apart becomes an even more impressive statistic when you consider just how prolific she has become since the late 1990s, often averaging two projects a year. This year is no different as she follows This is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous with A Murder in Mansfield. YouTube stars and true crime - Kopple certainly knows how to pick zeitgeist themes...

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