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Entries in Doc Corner (81)

Tuesday
Nov142017

Doc Corner: David Lynch and the Allure of 'Blue Velvet Revisited'

By Glenn Dunks

The massive DOC NYC festival continues this week in New York City until the 16th, showcasing over 250 films and events. We have one more capsule collection to go up the coming days to close out the festival, but today we're entering the wonderful and strange world of David Lynch in Blue Velvet Revisited, which screens tonight at Cinepolis Chelsea at 9.30pm.

I don’t know about you, but 2017 hasn’t been the strongest year for movies in my eyes. Part of that may have to do directly with the product itself. But a more significant part is that quite literally no movie I have seen this year has had quite the gravitational pull of Twin Peaks. The return of David Lynch and Mark Frost’s classic 1990s television series was maligned by many, but found a dedicated collection of fans for whom it was 18-hours of pure Lynchian madness, the likes of which have been frustratingly missing from our lives since the magically-coiffed master packed up his lawn chair on Sunset Boulevard after trying to milk a much-deserved Oscar campaign for Laura Dern’s performance in Inland Empire in 2006. The series was, simply put, working on a whole different level to every movie I’ve seen in the last 12 months.

Lynch’s mystique is almost as famous as his film and television projects...

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Tuesday
Nov072017

Doc Corner: Tales of the City at DOC NYC

by Glenn Dunks

The massive DOC NYC festival begins this week in – would you believe it – New York City. The festival runs from November 9 - 16 and showcasing over 250 films and events. We’re going to look at some of the films screening there that will hopefully make their way to theatres and VOD over the next year. This edition of our weekly Doc Corner is devoted to three films about cities and the way people interact within and around them.

12th and Clairmont
It is inevitable that Brian Kaufman’s 12th and Clairmount will be compared with Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit considering both focus on the 1967 riots of the city. But whereas Bigelow’s production zeroed in on just one incident of the five-day series of violent and destructive action on the streets of the city, Kaufman’s film examines a much larger canvas, covering the time before, during and after the city's people responded to the significently white police force's swarm of brutality.

It’s a tactic that proves essential to beginning to understand the events that one person in this often compelling documentary describes as “the days of madness in July”...

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Tuesday
Oct312017

Doc Corner: 'Dawson City: Frozen Time' is a Masterpiece 100 Years in the Making

by Glenn Dunks

If you have ever watched a Bill Morrison film, then you will have surely remember him for the way his films appear as if they are deteriorating before your eyes. Best known for works such as Decasia that are assembled out of weathered, beaten and sometimes even partly destroyed reels of film celluloid, Morrison’s films often play with the concept that film – the physical, tactile product of film itself just as much as the broad term for motion pictures as we know them – is not something we should ever be flippant about.

His movies are made out of parts of other movies, its true -- clips and excerpts taken from decaying reels that most could consider at home in a rubbish tip. Many may find his aesthetic challenging, but there is something so delightfully classical about the way he repurposes any image that sits atop a filmstrip. His work breathes new life into old, unwanted, and unused works so that they may be seen anew in a new light, a new form and allow somebody’s hard work to prosper once more...

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Tuesday
Oct242017

Doc Corner: 'One of Us' and 'Thy Father's Chair'

by Glenn Dunks

Not content to let scientology corner the market in controversial religion exposes, directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady focus their attention on New York’s Hasidic community in their latest feature. A dramatic change of pace after last year’s celebrity bio-doc Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You, the filmmakers return at least somewhat to the themes of their most famous film, the Oscar-nominated Jesus Camp. Yet despite the potential cross-over to be found in the pair that seek to uncover the alarming practises of organised religion, One of Us is a much different beast.

Unlike that earlier film, which trained its cameras on the inner-circle of a camp for raising the next generation of evangelicals, One of Us observes from the outside, following the stories of three individuals who have attempted to extract themselves from the community and tell some often haunting and traumatic tales of their times within it...

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Tuesday
Oct172017

Doc Corner: 'Human Flow'

By Daniel Walber

Ai Weiwei’s Human Flow is the result of a truly enormous undertaking. Spread across four continents, the film is a distillation of the current refugee crisis. All of it. Rather than focus on a single geographic region or the fallout from a particular international conflict, this is a whirlwind tour of the entire global situation. Its scenes from the US-Mexico Border to the Mediterranean, Sub-Saharan Africa to Bangladesh. If that sounds like far too much, that’s because it is.

If the purpose were totally aesthetic and metaphorical, a wordless and breathtaking aerial tour of large-scale human movement, the scope might not have been a problem. It might have bypassed the head and gone straight to the heart. But Human Flow tries to have it both ways...

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Tuesday
Oct102017

Doc Corner: 'The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson'

by Glenn Dunks

It is sadly just a matter of fact that women of colour rarely get documentaries made about them without tragedy informing their very existence. “Death” is even right there at the start of the title for David France’s new film about one such pioneering person. And indeed, the mystery surrounding Marsha P. Johnson’s death is what acts as the central spine of his The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson as one activist, Victoria Cruz, sets about solving the mystery of the death of another activist 25 years ago.

But like the literal meaning behind the title of France’s last film, the Oscar-nominated masterwork How to Survive a Plague, this new film is also about “life” and surviving and ultimately acts as a testament to Johnson’s tenacity and pure force-of-nature attitude in the face of adversity – a tired cliché of a phrase that is nonetheless truly warranted here...

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