Category Archives: Film

On TV: LIBERTY: MOTHER OF EXILES

Coming to HBO tomorrow, Thursday, October 17:
LIBERTY: MOTHER OF EXILES

Directors:
Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato

World Premiere:
HBO (October 2019)

About:
A tribute to the Statue of Liberty.

133 years ago, the iconic Statue of Liberty was dedicated on NYC’s Bedloe’s Island, later renamed Liberty Island. Directors Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato trace the statue’s history, led to a large extent by its unofficial “godmother,” fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, who has long felt a personal connection to Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi masterwork and here helps in fundraising efforts for a Liberty Island museum. In addition to following von Furstenberg’s efforts, the film revisits the origins of the statue as a joint US/French monument to US independence, while also profiling ordinary individuals who have connections to Liberty Island or the statue, from magician David Copperfield, who famously made the statue “disappear,” and restoration workers to factory workers who produce souvenir replicas and activists who have used the site to protest the current administrations regressive immigration policies. While by its nature an episodic survey – and a positive one at that, eliding some more complex and inconvenient history – the film succeeds in forming a satisfying whole in its focus on the symbolic importance of the Statue of Liberty, and serves as a worthwhile reminder of how welcoming America should be.

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On VOD: THE GAME CHANGERS

Coming to Netflix today, Wednesday, October 16:
THE GAME CHANGERS

Director:
Louie Psihoyos

World Premiere:
Sundance 2018

Select Festivals:
Berlin, Hot Docs, Thessaloniki Doc, Mountainfilm, Boulder, Washington DC Environmental, EarthxFilm

About:
An exploration of the misconceptions and truths about plant-based diets.

I profiled the doc before Sundance here.

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Margaret Mead 2019 Overview

Festival:
The 43rd Margaret Mead Film Festival

Dates:
October 17-20

About:
25 documentary features make up the lineup of this long-running program of NYC’s American Museum of Natural History. Continue reading

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On DVD: INSIDE LEHMAN BROTHERS

New to DVD this week:
INSIDE LEHMAN BROTHERS

Director:
Jennifer Deschamps

World Premiere:
ARTE TV France (Sept 2018)

Select Festivals:
DOC NYC, Hot Docs, Santa Barbara, Cleveland

About:
Lehman Brothers whistleblowers look back on their efforts to sound an alarm.

The film screened as part of DOC NYC, for which our program notes read:
Ten years after the Wall Street meltdown of 2008, questions still linger over whether insiders could see it coming or do more to stop it. Director Jennifer Deschamps conducts an involving autopsy of what led to the largest bankruptcy filing in US history. The film profiles several insiders who had early warning signs about the dangers of subprime mortgages and tried to sound alarms from within. The stories of these whistleblowers deepen our understanding of the mindset that caused the crash and serve as a stark warning for the future.

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In Theatres: STUFFED

STUFFED

Coming to theatres tomorrow, Wednesday, October 16:
STUFFED

Director:
Erin Derham

World Premiere:
SXSW 2019

Select Festivals:
Seattle, Woods Hole, Vancouver, Nashville, Maui

About:
An exploration of the misunderstood world of taxidermy.

For many, taxidermy might seem like an antiquated, morbid, or even distasteful hobby. Director Erin Derham takes a closer look to challenge these perceptions, and to gain a greater appreciation of the different types of taxidermy still being done and of the people behind the activity. Her subjects are not the stereotypical game trophy hunters, but instead an assortment of artists and natural history enthusiasts who express themselves, or try to capture the essence of an animal, through this painstaking work. Some tackle the detailed work as purists, attempting to bring the highest level of verisimilitude to the animal, while others construct fanciful hybrid or mythological creatures, demonstrating less scientific rigor and more artistic expression. While the film doesn’t dig particularly deep, it offers an intriguing glimpse into a world of curiosity.

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On DVD: MARIANNE & LEONARD: WORDS OF LOVE

Coming to DVD today, Tuesday, October 15:
MARIANNE & LEONARD: WORDS OF LOVE

Director:
Nick Broomfield

World Premiere:
Sundance 2019

Select Festivals:
Nantucket, CPH:DOX, Docville, Thessaloniki Doc, Sun Valley

About:
The intimate love story between celebrated singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen and his muse.

I profiled the doc before Sundance here.

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On DVD: GG ALLIN: ALL IN THE FAMILY

Coming to DVD today, Tuesday, October 15:
GG ALLIN: ALL IN THE FAMILY

Director:
Sami Saif

Premiere:
CPH:DOX 2017 (under original title THE ALLINS: ONE HELL OF A FAMILY)

Select Festivals:
Melbourne, Bergen, Cinedelphia, L’Étrange, Doc’n Roll, Rokumentti, Sound Unseen, Sydney Underground

About:
The mother and brother of the infamous punk musician keep his memory alive.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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