2003. USA. Dir: Thom Anderson. Documentary. 169 min.
“Los Angeles may be the most photographic city, but it’s one of the least photogenic.” Anderson’s cinematic essay extricates fragments of the city from movies across decades and regroups them into an exploration of reality and representation. Extensive film footage reveals the architecture, urban landscapes, and, eventually, the people of Los Angeles.
2017. Mexico/USA. Dir: Viktor Jakovleski. Documentary. 67 min.
The National Pyrotechnic Festival in Tultepec, Mexico celebrates “ritual, danger, and the absolute beauty of reworks.” is truly sensory movie experience immerses viewers inside the exploding colors, set to a score by Beasts of the Southern Wild’s Dan Romer and Benh Zeitlin ’04. Q&A with producers Dan Janvey ’06 and Kellen Quinn ’05.
1929. USSR. Dir: Dziga Vertov. Documentary. 68 min.
Mad genius Vertov applies his “Kino-Eye” theory towards “the creation of an authentically international absolute language of cinema.” Thankfully, his magnus opus is vibrant and unpretentious, an exuberant celebration of both the medium and the surprising inspiration buried unnoticed in everyday urban life. Live accompaniment by Ben Model.
2017. USA. Dir: Lana Wilson. With Ittetsu Nemoto. Documentary. 97 min.
This portrait of a Japanese punk-rocker turned Buddhist suicide-prevention counselor translates the emotional complexities surrounding mortality into cinematic terms, eschewing explanatory narration to instead quietly explore the everyday pain shared by the priest and his patients. Screening to be followed by a Q&A with director Wilson ’05.
Dir: Raoul Peck. Documentary. 93 min.
This urgent doc illuminates the words of James Baldwin, one of the most influential voices of the Civil Rights movement. Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript Remember This House forms the foundation for the images, archival footage, newsreel clips, and interviews brilliantly interwoven by Peck and underscored by Samuel L. Jackson’s evocative narration.
2016. USA. Dir: Keith Maitland. Documentary/Animation. 92 min.
Before mass shootings became a depressingly regular event, a 1966 incident at the University of Texas at Austin shook the entire nation. Combining archival footage with rotoscope animation, Maitland retells how a shooter held the campus hostage for 96 minutes from atop the university’s bell tower, and how a few brave souls saved hundreds of lives that day.
There will be a moment of silence before the screening for the victims of the Las Vegas shooting.
12015. Russia. Dir: Vitaly Mansky. Documentary. 110 min.
Conceived as a “time machine” back to the Stalin-led Soviet Union, this controversial doc depicts the totalitarianism of North Korea with chilling objectivity. The country’s Ministry of Culture oversaw production of the film, yet viewers can witness the artificial staging and scripting of scenes featuring an eight-year-old preparing for Kim Jong-il’s birthday celebration.
Severo secreto, a documentary about prominent Cuban exile writer and artist Severo Sarduy, will be screened on Tuesday, April 11, at 6pm at the Powell Family Center. The directors of the documentary will be available for a more general CONVERSATION IN SPANISH about documentary filmmaking in Cuba on Wednesday, April 12, from 1:20 to 2:40pm in the RL&L Common Room. Cuban desserts and light refreshments will be served.
Date of Screening: Tuesday, April 11 (today!) Time: 6 PM Place: Powell Family Cinema
Date of Discussion: Wednesday, April 12 Time: 1:20 – 2:40 PM Place: Romance Languages and Literatures Department Common Room (300 High St.)
1983. France. Dir: Chris Marker. Documentary. 100 min.
“Like a piece of sci-fi anthropology, Sans Soleil visits humanity as if from another planet.” In a fictional travelogue, ranging from an encounter with a Japanese techno-cult to distant recollections of watching Vertigo as a child, Marker tries to piece together the jigsaw of reality by exploring the insanity of memory.
2016. USA. Dir: Alex Horwitz. Documentary. 84 min.
You’ve watched Lin-Manuel Miranda on SNL, sung along to the cast album a little too loudly at parties, and (if you’re lucky) seen the Broadway smash hit Hamilton itself. The alumnus-directed PBS Great Performances doc provides an unprecedented look into the behind-the-scenes creation of a pop culture phenomenon.