In the Works: HAVANA MOTOR CLUB

Cuban auto enthusiasts find their hopes for a legal car race dashed by the Pope’s visit – among other roadblocks.

havana motorOne of the most visible indicators of the US sanctions against Cuba since the Revolution is the anachronistic presence of vintage 1950s cars that dot its streets. For the most part, only those with political connections and money have been able to afford newer imported cars from Europe or Asia. For most, refitted classic cars have been the only option, and, for some, a source of pride, such as the men of Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt’s film. With car racing long outlawed by Castro, they’ve held underground drag races. With recent reforms, the men grow excited about participating in the first legal race since 1959, painstakingly working on finding the right parts to give them the edge. But when a Papal visit cancels their plans, organizers find themselves caught in limbo. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Documentary, Film, In the Works

In Theatres: CESAR’S LAST FAST

cesar's last fastComing to NYC’s Quad Cinema today, Friday, April 18: CESAR’S LAST FAST

Richard Ray Perez and Lorena Parlee’s tribute to Cesar Chavez’s life and mission had its world premiere at Sundance earlier this year. Additional berths have included Atlanta, Chicago Latino, San Diego Latino, Minneapolis St Paul, and the upcoming San Francisco, DOXA, and new Ambulante California fests.

My pre-Sundance profile of the doc may be found here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Releases, Sundance

In Theatres: MANAKAMANA

manakamanaComing to the IFC Center today, Friday, April 18: MANAKAMANA

Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez’s mesmerizing document of pilgrimage debuted at Locarno last Summer. It’s gone on to play at Toronto, New York, DocLisboa, AFI Fest, RIDM, CPH:DOX, Rotterdam, DocPoint, True/False, and Hong Kong, among many others.

I previously wrote about the doc out of Toronto here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Documentary, Film, Recommendations, Releases

On VOD: GOD LOVES UGANDA

god loves ugandaOut on VOD this week: GOD LOVES UGANDA

Roger Ross Williams’ investigation of the evangelical influence on anti-gay African laws had its world premiere at Sundance last year. It went on to screen at DOC NYC, Nantucket, New Orleans, San Francisco, Hot Docs, Cleveland, AFI Docs, Hamptons, BAMcinemaFest, and Outfest, among many others.

I profiled the doc before Sundance here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Releases, Sundance

On DVD: PICTURE OF LIGHT

pictureoflight1-590x360Newly re-released on DVD this week: PICTURE OF LIGHT

Peter Mettler’s meditation on the Northern Lights made its debut in 1994. Its impressive roster of festival appearances includes Sundance, Toronto, Rotterdam, Locarno, Yamagata, Hot Docs, Chicago, and San Francisco. First Run Features re-releases the DVD simultaneously with Mettler’s latest doc, THE END OF TIME.

Over the course of two trips to the Canadian Arctic, Mettler and his team attempt to capture the spectacle of the Aurora Borealis on celluloid, contending with the extreme weather conditions and meeting a number of quirky local characters along the way. The latter lend the film most of its appeal, such as the oddball hotel owner who shoots a hole in the wall of one of his rooms to encourage the formation of snow drifts inside the building. That’s not to say the footage of the Northern Lights isn’t impressive – Mettler presents them in time-lapse, a symphony of light, color, and movement – but, as signaled by its title, the film is less about the actual celestial display, and more about questions around photographing them. As with his new film, Mettler here employs a mix of nonfiction approaches, though privileges the essay form as he contemplates the impact of media and technology on our active engagement with the world and its wonders – musings which take on even greater significance in our ultra-connected, social media-focused present.

Leave a comment

Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Releases, Sundance

In Theatres & On VOD: THE FINAL MEMBER

The-Final-Member-Key-Image-Courtesy-of-Drafthouse-Films-280x140Coming to theatres and VOD this Friday, April 18: THE FINAL MEMBER

Jonah Bekhor and Zach Math’s playful look at the world’s only penis museum made its debut at Hot Docs in 2012. It went on to screen at DOC NYC, Seattle, Silverdocs, Fantastic Fest, Denver, and Florida, among others.

I included the doc in my Hot Docs coverage here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Documentary, Film, Recommendations, Releases

On DVD/VOD: INTERIOR. LEATHER BAR.

interior leather barComing to DVD and VOD today, Tuesday, April 15: INTERIOR. LEATHER BAR.

James Franco and Travis Mathews’ hybrid revisitation of William Friedkin’s CRUISING premiered at Sundance last year. It went on to screen at DOC NYC, Berlin, Hot Docs, Rotterdam, Cleveland, Seattle, Frameline, NewFest, Outfest, Mix Brasil, and Russia’s Side By Side, among many others.

I profiled the film before Sundance here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Releases, Sundance