Category Archives: Documentary

On DVD: CITIZENFOUR

citizenfour-300x160Coming to DVD tomorrow, Tuesday, August 25: CITIZENFOUR

Laura Poitras’ Oscar-winning behind-the-scenes story of Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing debuted at the New York Film Festival last year. Other fest screenings included DOC NYC, London, DOK Leipzig, CPH:DOX, IDFA, and Goteborg.

I previously wrote about the film upon its release

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On DVD: BANKSY DOES NEW YORK

424146_424146_PRG-DOC_Banksy_Art-copy-1160x652Coming to DVD tomorrow, Tuesday, August 25: BANKSY DOES NEW YORK

Chris Moukarbel’s look at the notorious street artist’s month of NYC-based activities had its world premiere at the Hamptons last year. It went on to screen at DOC NYC, New Zealand, and DocAviv, among others.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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In Theatres: THE IRON MINISTRY

iron ministryComing to theatres today, Friday, August 21: THE IRON MINISTRY

JP Sniadecki’s immersion into China’s railway system made its debut at Locarno last year. Since then, it has screened at the NYFF, Rotterdam, Vancouver, Edinburgh, Camden, Chicago, DocLisboa, Viennale, CPH:DOX, San Deigo Asian, RIDM, Cork, Ambulante, and Vilnius, among several others.

Though filmed between 2011 and 2013, Sniadecki erases any indications of specific time or place in his presentation, suggesting instead a singular, if non-contiguous, journey to and from unidentified stations, but which nevertheless offers quiet commentary on contemporary China. After an extended introduction in which the audience only hears mechanical noises against a blackness, the filmmaker offers disorienting close-ups of the connectors between train cars before widening out to showcase the far-from delectable wares of a butcher who’s set up an improvised stall. From there, Sniadecki traverses the expanse of the locomotive, lingering occasionally to record conversations between passengers, including some surprisingly outspoken thoughts on politics and the economy. Welcome moments of humor, notably an early scene in which a precocious young boy performs a scathing satirical impression of a conductor’s welcome, contrast with longer, drawn out sequences, as when a snack car vendor sells his items through car after car, answering the same question over and over. Like the work of the Harvard Sensory Ethnography Lab with which the director is associated, this is spectatorship as experience, and while not for every viewer, it offers an immediacy that is both memorable and fleeting at the same time.

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In Theatres: STATION TO STATION

station to stationComing to LA theatres today, Friday, August 21: STATION TO STATION

Doug Aitken’s collaborative look at creativity premiered at Sundance earlier this year. It has gone on to screen at Sydney, Singapore’s Design fest, and the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Sound + Vision.

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

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On TV: POINT AND SHOOT

point-blog480Coming to PBS’s POV this coming Monday, August 24: POINT AND SHOOT

Marshall Curry’s look at an unlikely freedom fighter in Libya debuted at Tribeca last year, where it won the Best Documentary Award. Its fest circuit has also included Hot Docs, AFI Docs, IFF Boston, Nashville, Traverse City, New Zealand, and Melbourne.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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In Theatres & On VOD: MATEO

mateoComing to LA theatres tomorrow, Friday, August 21 and to VOD next Tuesday, August 25: MATEO

Aaron I Naar’s portrait of a gringo mariachi singer made its bow at SXSW last year. Screenings followed at Hot Docs, Martha’s Vineyard, the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Sound+Vision series, Camden, Hot Springs Doc, In-Edit, Cork, and Rotterdam.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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In Theatres & On VOD: BEING EVEL

being evelComing to theatres and VOD tomorrow, Friday, August 21: BEING EVEL

Daniel Junge’s look at the larger-than-life exploits of the motorcycle showman debuted at Sundance earlier this year. Its extensive festival run has also included SXSW, Miami, Cleveland, Dallas, IFF Boston, Seattle, Sydney, deadCENTER, Las Vegas, Melbourne, and New Zealand.

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

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