Category Archives: Recommendations

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Tribeca 2014: Documentary Overview

tribecaThe Tribeca Film Festival opens its 13th edition tomorrow, Wednesday, April 16, and runs through Sunday, April 27. Nonfiction programming remains a highlight for the event, with 45 docs once again making their Gotham bow across the range of the festival’s programming strands, including the Galas, such as opening night film, One9′s TIME IS ILLMATIC, on the impact of Nas’ 1994 debut album. The following section overview notes a selection of new docs making their premiere during the festival: Continue reading

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On VOD: JOURNEY TO PLANET X

journey_to_planet_x-2Coming to VOD tomorrow, Tuesday, April 15: JOURNEY TO PLANET X

Myles Kane and Josh Koury’s look at a pair of amateur sci-fi filmmakers had its world premiere at Tribeca in 2012. It went on to screen at Denver, Traverse City, Sitges, Camden, Cucalorus, and Chicago Underground, among others. FilmBuff now brings the film to iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Movies on Demand, and other VOD platforms.

I previously wrote about the doc out of Tribeca here.

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On TV: THE TRIALS OF MUHAMMAD ALI

large_trials_of_muhammad_ali_1_pubsComing to PBS’s Independent Lens this coming Monday, April 14: THE TRIALS OF MUHAMMAD ALI

Bill Siegel’s exploration of Ali’s conscientious objection from serving in Vietnam made its debut at Tribeca last year. Its fest circuit included Seattle, Traverse City, San Francisco Jewish, Melbourne, and Montclair, among many others, before a limited theatrical and later VOD release.

I included the doc in my Tribeca coverage here.

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Art of the Real 2014 Overview

actressTomorrow, Friday, April 11 sees the opening of the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s inaugural edition of Art of the Real, an expansion of the institution’s former monthly documentary series into a two-week showcase which aims to explode conceptions of nonfiction to boundary-pushing extremes through new and retrospective programming. Curated by the Film Society’s Dennis Lim and independent programmer Rachael Rakes, the series presents more than 50 docs and hybrid projects through Saturday, April 26, opening with Raya Martin and Mark Peranson’s LA ÚLTIMA PELÍCULA and Corneliu Porumboiu’s THE SECOND GAME, and closing with Robert Greene’s ACTRESS (pictured). The following highlights offer a look at other selections: Continue reading

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