Coming to DVD and VOD today, Tuesday, March 31: THE DICKUMENTARY
Sofian Khan’s exploration of the penis made its debut at Atlanta earlier this month. In addition to DVD, the film comes to VOD platforms including iTunes, Amazon Instant, Google Play, Playstation, Xbox, and cable providers.
Taking a broadly educational but light approach, Khan’s film offers a biological, historical, and cultural appreciation of the penis. A visit to Iceland’s Phallological Museum affords the opportunity to consider variations in penis size and function within the animal kingdom, while academics and historians reflect on the prevalence of phallic imagery in Egyptian and Greek myth. Penis-focused celebrations in India and Japan dovetail with other modern day but suspect instances of penis worship, such as a strange fringe group of Quebec men who honor each other’s members in their leader’s basement temple. Circumcision has its own chapter, including the recounting of recent attempts by “intactivists” to ban the practice in San Francisco and Cologne which ran into trouble when charges of both anti-Semitism and Islamophobia were suggested as motivations. While its survey approach offers only a brief gloss on its various topics, and the narration is occasionally grating, Khan at least keeps proceedings moving at a fairly brisk pace for this barely hour-plus doc.
Coming to VOD today, Tuesday, March 31: LITTLE WHITE LIE
Lacey Schwartz’s personal exploration of the impact of family secrets bowed at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival last year. It went on to screen at DOC NYC, New Orleans, Sidewalk, Black Harvest, BlackStar, Martha’s Vineyard African American, and Philadelphia Jewish fests, among others. It now comes to iTunes.
I previously wrote about the doc here.
Coming to PBS’s America ReFramed tomorrow, Tuesday, March 31: YELLOW FEVER
Sophie Rousmaniere’s investigation of the impact of uranium mining on the Navajo debuted via a screening tour of the Navajo Nation in August 2013. Other screenings have included Vision maker, Native Spirit, American Conservation, LA Skins, and the International Uranium film fests.
Rousamaniere’s guide is Tina Garnanez, a young Navajo woman and US Army veteran, who returns home trying to cope with PTSD. When she discovers that multiple family members have died from cancer that could be traced back to radiation exposure from uranium mining, she sets out to explore the dangerous nuclear legacy on her people, as well as the controversy around the potential restarting of mining on Navajo lands. The generally conventional film is most compelling when it keeps its focus on the historical exploitation of the Navajo, who, despite possessing one of the world’s richest stores of uranium, have never benefited financially, and instead seem fated to once again pay for their land with their lives. Rousamaniere unfortunately often follows unrelated threads about Garnanez’s PTSD and other personal matters, which prove an unnecessary distraction from the core story, weakening it as a whole.
Coming to DVD tomorrow, Tuesday, March 31: HOOP DREAMS
Steve James’ classic exploration of the athletic aspirations of two young men debuted at Sundance in 1994, taking home the Audience Award for Best Documentary. It went on to screen at Toronto and the New York Film Festival. Though it was not recognized by the Academy, it won critical and audience acclaim and remains one of the seminal works of nonfiction of the past 25 years. Recently restored for its 20th anniversary, it now is re-released on home video formats.
I previously wrote about the doc here.
Coming to HBO this Sunday, March 29: GOING CLEAR: SCIENTOLOGY AND THE PRISON OF BELIEF
Alex Gibney’s unearthing of the secrets of the contentious organization had its world premiere at Sundance this year. Is has also screened at True/False, Big Sky, and Martha’s Vineyard, and has been released theatrically.
My pre-Sundance profile of the doc may be found here.
Coming to NYC’s Maysles Cinema for a week run beginning today, Thursday, March 26: FREEWAY: CRACK IN THE SYSTEM
Marc Levin’s chronicle of one man’s pivotal role in the crack epidemic made its premiere at Los Angeles’ Pan African Film Festival. It also screened as part of NYC’s Stranger Than Fiction series and on Al Jazeera America.
I previously wrote about the film here.
Coming to Showtime tomorrow, Friday, March 27: DREAMCATCHER
Kim Longinotto’s candid look at a woman’s mission to help others out of exploitation had its world premiere at Sundance this year, winning the World Cinema Documentary Directing Award. It has gone on to screen at Rotterdam, Glasgow, ZagrebDox, Thessaloniki, and One World.
I profiled the doc before Sundance here.