In Theatres: THE PROPOSAL

Coming to theatres this Friday, May 24:
THE PROPOSAL

Director:
Jill Magid

Premiere:
Tribeca 2018

Select Festivals:
Hot Docs, Sheffield, Rotterdam, Dokufest, New Orleans, Camden, Docaviv, Docs Against Gravity, Ambulante, Antenna, RIDM, Palm Springs, Hamptons, Vancouver, Göteborg, Portland, Salem, DocPoint

About:
The artist/filmmaker engages in a polite battle of wills over access to – and the legacy of – a celebrated Mexican architect’s work.

The culmination of a five-year project that has included art installations, exhibitions, and publications, Jill Magid’s first feature interrogates the contested legacy of Luis Barragán. Barragán, a well-respected Mexican architect, died in 1988, and eventually, his family sold his archive, name, and work to a private Swiss corporation, Vitra. Supposedly, the purchase was made by Vitra’s Rolf Fehlbaum as a gift to his then-fianceé, Federica Zanco, but, in Magid’s view, Vitra consistently has blocked access to Barragán’s work by pretty much anyone, including other artists or scholars, and she has used this as the basis for her multi-year, multi-media project. Taking a personal, essayistic approach, the artist chronicles her correspondence with Zanco, the archive’s director, while traveling through Mexico and elsewhere, tracing Barragán’s steps and concocting an audacious offer of her own to rival Fehlbaum’s alleged grand gesture to Zanco. While the conceit of the film – and Magid’s constant presence – may wear some viewer’s patience thin, its larger themes remain fascinating enough to more or less excuse its shortcomings.

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In Theatres: WOODSTOCK: THREE DAYS THAT DEFINED A GENERATION

Coming to theatres this Friday, May 24:
WOODSTOCK: THREE DAYS THAT DEFINED A GENERATION

Director:
Barak Goodman

Premiere:
Tribeca 2019

Select Festivals:
Seattle, DocLands

About:
An immersive reflection on how organizers defied the odds to stage the seminal music event.

While Woodstock has become an iconic event in the history of music and of the 1960s counterculture, the fuller background on the happening’s origins may not be quite as well known. Barak Goodman’s masterful project revisits the 1969 concert and its planning, placing viewers in the midst of the action via remarkable archival visual footage and present-day audio commentary from organizers, attendees, and performers. From John Roberts and Joel Rosenman’s original plans to the idea’s rapid spread, the securing of and loss of the original setting to locating the eventual site of Max Yasgur’s Bethel farm, the overwhelming logistics to the need for support from the local community, this new doc draws the audience back to those three eventful days in August that capped off the tumultuous sixties and defined a generation.

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In Theatres: THE COLD BLUE

Coming to theatres via Fathom Events for one night only tomorrow, Thursday, May 23:
THE COLD BLUE

Director:
Erik Nelson

Premiere:
AFI Docs 2018

Select Festivals:
New York, Traverse City

About:
A meditation on war composed of archival film of B-17 bombers shot by William Wyler.

Constructed from the recently rediscovered raw color footage shot by William Wyler for his classic 1944 documentary THE MEMPHIS BELLE, Erik Nelson’s project brings together survivors of the Eight Air Force to reflect on their experiences of WWII. For the bulk of the film, excerpts of Wyler’s striking footage plays while veteran airmen offer audio commentary, sometimes instructive, other times poignantly personal, and occasionally darkly humorous. For its coda, Nelson turns the camera onto some of his subjects, contrasting the nonagenarians with archival photos in their military prime, and gently interviewing them about their perception of the sacrifices they made. Organized into titled sections that also provide brief statistics or facts about the missions flown and the dangers faced, the film has a somewhat episodic feel, but manages to remain engaging despite this, buoyed by its breathtaking visuals.

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Special Screening: TONI MORRISON: THE PIECES I AM

photo by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

Coming to NYC’s Pure Nonfiction at IFC Center this Wednesday, May 23:
TONI MORRISON: THE PIECES I AM

Director:
Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

Premiere:
Sundance 2019

Select Festivals:
Nantucket, Miami, Cleveland, Montclair, Wisconsin

About:
An intimate profile of the Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning literary icon.

I profiled the doc before Sundance here.

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Docaviv 2019 Overview

Festival:
The 21st Docaviv: Tel Aviv International Documentary Film Festival

Dates:
May 23-June 1

About:
More than 100 new features are part of the lineup of the well-respected Israeli nonfiction event. Continue reading

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On TV: INGRID

Coming to PBS’s Reel South this Thursday, May 23:
INGRID

Director:
Morrisa Maltz

Premiere:
Slamdance 2018

Select Festivals:
Atlanta, Rhode Island, Bend, Hot Springs Doc, Virginia, Cucalorus

About:
A portrait of a woman who gave up her conventional life to become a hermit artist.

Ingrid Gipson had a successful career as a fashion designer in Dallas in the 1980s, but gave up her career – and her children – to move off the grid to live alone on a farm in Oklahoma. Now 74 years old, the German immigrant is observed in her daily routines, from taking care of her livestock to making art out of nature. Maltz’s project is beautifully shot and deliberately paced, conveying a fascination for her intriguing protagonist. That said, while still somewhat appealing, at under an hour, the film never digs deep enough to become a satisfying whole.

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On DVD: GARRY WINOGRAND: ALL THINGS ARE PHOTOGRAPHABLE

Photograph by Judy Teller

Coming to DVD tomorrow, Tuesday, May 21:
GARRY WINOGRAND: ALL THINGS ARE PHOTOGRAPHABLE

Director:
Sasha Waters Freyer

Premiere:
SXSW 2018

Select Festivals:
San Francisco, New Zealand, Thin Line, Vancouver, Haifa

About:
A history and appreciation of acclaimed street photographer.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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