Category Archives: Recommendations

On TV: JOHN LEWIS: GOOD TROUBLE

Coming to CNN this Sunday, September 27:
JOHN LEWIS: GOOD TROUBLE

Director:
Dawn Porter

World Premiere:
Tribeca 2020 (cancelled)

About:
A wide-ranging look at the life, activism, and political career of the esteemed civil rights icon.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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In Theatres & In Virtual Release: OTTOLENGHI AND THE CAKES OF VERSAILLES

Coming to select theatres and to virtual cinemas today, Friday, September 25:
OTTOLENGHI AND THE CAKES OF VERSAILLES

Director:
Laura Gabbert

World Premiere:
Tribeca 2020 (cancelled)

Select Festivals:
Hot Docs, Sedona, Hot Springs Doc, Florida

About:
Renowned chef Yotam Ottolenghi assembles a confectionary tribute to Versailles for the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

On the occasion of the Met’s 2018 “Visitors to Versailles” exhibition, the museum commissioned the famed Israeli-born Ottolenghi to explore the food culture of the court between 1682-1789. To realize the task, he recruits an international troupe of patissiers to showcase their innovative approaches to desserts: cronut inventor Dominique Ansel, Daniel’s Ghaya Oliveira, social media sensations Bompas and Parr, edible art-maker Janice Wong, and architect-turned-cake maker Dinara Kasko. Filmmaker Laura Gabbert follows these culinary dynamos as they contend with logistical challenges to pull off their impressive creations, while providing audiences with the ever-excited Ottolenghi’s exploration of French history through food. While the film largely leaves out larger considerations of the class disparities that led to the French Revolution and the end of Versailles, that’s not something one should really expect from a lighter, arts-focused project like this one.

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In Virtual Release: THE DISRUPTED

Coming to virtual cinemas tomorrow, Friday, September 25:
THE DISRUPTED

Director:
Sarah Colt

Co-Director:
Josh Gleason

World Premiere:
DOK.fest Munich 2020

Select Festivals:
Mountainfilm, Woods Hole

About:
A portrait of three working class individuals facing disruption and change in their economic situations.

Filmmakers Sarah Colt and Josh Gleason explore the lives of working Americans in this engaging project following three wholly separate but thematically related strands. Pete, a Latino father in Ohio, is laid off when his factory shuts down, losing a union job that helped him turn his life around, and putting strain on his marriage. In Florida, Cheryl turns to driving for Uber and Lyft after losing an 18 year career as a mortgage broker, but finds the competition cutthroat and her income meager. Donn is a fifth generation Kansas farmer who faces the reality that he’s not able to make a living any more, putting the fate of the family farm in jeopardy. While a subdued film – and an oddly but likely deliberately apolitical one – it’s an honest portrait of working class survival and resilience.

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On VOD: THE PROVIDERS

Coming to OVID.tv today, Wednesday, September 23:
THE PROVIDERS

Directors:
Anna Moot-Levin and Laura Green

Premiere:
Full Frame 2018

Select Festivals:
DOC NYC, AFI Docs, SF DocFest, DOClahoma, DocUtah, GlobeDocs, United Nations Association, Virginia, Rocky Mountain Women’s, Big Sky Doc, Sebastopol Doc, Cleveland,

About:
A portrait of healthcare workers who serve a rural community facing serious challenges.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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In Virtual Release: OLIVER SACKS: HIS OWN LIFE

OLIVER SACKS: HIS OWN LIFE

Coming to virtual cinemas tomorrow, Wednesday, September 23:
OLIVER SACKS: HIS OWN LIFE

Director:
Ric Burns

World Premiere:
Telluride 2019

Select Festivals:
New York, Hamptons, AFI Fest, Palm Springs, Glasgow, Full Frame, Big Sky Doc, Virginia, ReelAbilities, Atlanta Jewish

About:
Facing a terminal diagnosis, the famed British neurologist and popular science author reflects on his life and work.

Filmed in the months following his February 2015 terminal cancer diagnosis, Ric Burns’ portrait of Oliver Sacks functions at once as a biography, tribute, and elegy. Best known for his 1973 book AWAKENINGS, particularly after its 1990 movie adaptation, the eccentric Sacks attracted a following for his accessible case studies of people with neurological conditions. As he looks back on his life and career in his final months, Sacks opens up about his conflicted feelings around his homosexuality, escape through sometimes uncontrolled drug use, and rebellious embrace of both motorcycle culture and bodybuilding in the earliest years of his medical practice. A long-time outsider, it’s also notable that for decades, his professional peers were dismissive of his writing and observations about other misfits – though they eventually changed their tune. While showing vulnerability and a sense of acceptance of his fate, Sacks nevertheless displays a vibrancy as he speaks with friends and loved ones, transforming his retrospection into a celebration of a life.

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On DVD: THE GRAND UNIFIED THEORY OF HOWARD BLOOM

Coming to DVD today, Tuesday, September 22:
THE GRAND UNIFIED THEORY OF HOWARD BLOOM

Director:
Charlie Hoxie

World Premiere:
DOC NYC 2019

Select Festivals:
Santa Barbara, Design Science

About:
A portrait of a music publicist turned eccentric scientific philosopher.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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On TV: IN MY BLOOD IT RUNS

Coming to PBS’s POV tonight, Monday, September 21:
IN MY BLOOD IT RUNS

Director:
Maya Newell

World Premiere:
Hot Docs 2019

Select Festivals:
DOC NYC, Sydney, AFI Docs, Durban, New Zealand, Melbourne, Brisbane, DocsMX, Warsaw

About:
A portrait of a young Aboriginal Australian boy.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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In Virtual Release: SOFTIE

Coming to virtual cinemas today, Friday, September 18:
SOFTIE

Director:
Sam Soko

Premiere:
Sundance 2020

Select Festivals:
Hot Docs, CPH:DOX, BlackStar, Durban, Encounters, Salem, Galway, DOXA, Thin Line

About:
A chronicle of the personal and professional challenges facing an idealistic Kenyan political activist as he decides to run for office.

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

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On VOD: LET THE FIRE BURN

Coming to OVID.tv today, Friday, September 18:
LET THE FIRE BURN

Director:
Jason Osder

Premiere:
Tribeca 2013

Select Festivals:
Hot Docs, Vancouver, London, San Francisco, Philadelphia, AFI Docs

About:
A reckoning with the 1985 stand-off between the black liberation group MOVE and the Philadelphia Police Department.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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On VOD: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF NICOLAE CEAUSESCU

Coming to OVID.tv tomorrow, Friday, September 18:
THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF NICOLAE CEAUSESCU

Director:
Andrei Ujica

Premiere:
Cannes 2010

Select Festivals:
Toronto, San Sebastian, Transilvania, New York Film Festival

About:
A masterful film essay on Romania’s despotic leader.

I previously wrote about the doc here.

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