Archive for the ‘theatrical documentary’ Category

Top 10 docs of 2008

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008 posted by Rebecca Frankel

Tis the season to be making jolly little lists, that show what you like. All the bloggers do it now, to show what they consumed, and thoroughly enjoyed.

I’ve split my list into two though. The first part is for films that I skipped out of and spluttered with superlatives because they resonated on me with such an immediate level of captivation. The second list is for clever documentaries that I found utterly brilliant, especially as I thought about them afterwards. The two lists are obviously not binary; some films could have made it onto both, and other documentaries are nowhere to be seen, but I still carry them round in my thoughts. Anyways, here it is, docs I’ve loved from 2008′s offerings, with links to what I’ve written about them.

1. Mechanical Love
2. Severing the Soul
3. Japan: A Story of Love and Hate
4. Man on a Wire
5. American Teen

6. Solitary Life of Cranes
7. The Doctor who hears voices
8. The English Surgeon
9. My Winnipeg
10. The Shock Doctrine


Oscar Shortlist for Documentaries and A J Schnack’s Kurt Doc on More4 tonight

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008 posted by Rebecca Frankel

Here is the Oscar shortlist for documentaries, as read off A J Schnack’s blog, All These Wonderful Things. I agree with Doc/Fest’s Hussain that the money is on Man on The Wire.

There is a great article about theatrical docs, with some insight from the producer, Simon Chinn, about why people flock to life-affirming, but won’t leave their houses for misery that doesn’t go anywhere.

And ironically enough, A J Schnack’s own documentary Kurt Cobain – About a Son is on True Stories on More 4, tonight at 10pm. He managed to secure many hours of audio interview between Kurt Cobain and the music journalist Michael Azerrad, and with it weaves us through Kurt’s life, from his own perspective and his own words. (more…)

Top film tips from Sheffield Doc/Fest that are on the telly this week!

Monday, November 10th, 2008 posted by Rebecca Frankel

There was a surprising amount of films commissioned directly for television playing at Sheffield Doc/Fest this year, several already broadcast, and many being aired very soon. So, this week, from the comfort of your home, you can play catch-up and watch a selection of the best suggestions.

A quick glance at the Storyville home page shows that tonight on BBC4 at 10pm is Prodigal Sons, which follows an old football hero who is now a post-operative transgendered lesbian woman, home for a school reunion, and was the film my festival comrade James Newton recommended most. In next Monday’s slot is Elizabeth Stopford’s touching film I’m not Dead Yet about an inheritance battle within her family, and apparently there is a twist in the middle that changes your perspective on everything. Strangely the film that played in last Monday’s slot, Operation Iraqi Filmmaker, played at Sheffield a whole year ago, and was picked up as an acquisition there, to be aired much later than its festival outing. (more…)

Gonzo and American Teen announced for London Film Festival

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008 posted by Rebecca Frankel

The line-up for London Film Festival was announced at this morning’s press launch, after an exhausting list of sponsor thanks. The 2 documentaries I most immediately want to see, having already read much about them, are Alex Gibney’s Gonzo and American Teen.

Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S Thompson uses Alex Gibney’s forensic skill of finding and weaving archival material together, to illuminate his contradictory life and gonzo approach to writing. Johnny Deep narrates from Hunter’s own words, a wise move following his apt casting as Hunter in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. The film was immediately more profitable than his previous, Oscar winning documentary, Taxi to the Dark Side. It plays as the Documentary Gala choice. (more…)

Confessions of Free Woman – how annoying did you find Jennifer Fox?

Thursday, August 14th, 2008 posted by Rebecca Frankel

Never have I known a documentary to aggrivate audiences like Jennifer Fox’s epic 6 part Confessions of a Free Woman (the first 2 installments aired on Storyville last night). Jennifer is an 46 year old American documentary maker, who wanted to push the idea of getting past ‘the performance’ of when people act up for the camera. She spawned a way of filming, which like cinema verite, means she is control of a small camera without a crew. She also “passes the camera” so that the her subjects film her when she is talking, it is more like a circular conversation without a power hierarchy or contrived end point. The way she talks about (I saw her give a talk at this years Birds Eye View) is analogous to the way lesbians make love, which is fitting because the central feminist investigation is into how women see themselves in the world today. It’s also structured around women experience time – fluidly, like a chat over a cup of tea.

Much like Carrie Bradshaw, Jennifer wants to discover what it means to be a woman today, working and living ‘without man and children’. She has affairs and talks freely about sex, like a man, but she isn’t man, cue existential crisis that takes her around the world to ‘pass the camera’ with woman and chat about rape and marriage and masturbation and even FGM in a bid discover why women (but not her) defer to men, and how men stake their claim through cultural rearing practices. This of course give Jennifer ample opportunity to reflect on her own childhood (the only girl with 4 boys), and lifestyle choices. She concludes that only men can be truly free. Except her, presumably. (more…)

Man on Wire out today – the best doc in years

Friday, August 1st, 2008 posted by Rebecca Frankel

Man on Wire is a faultless fantastical film. Philippe Petit is so charismatic, and it’s such a killer story engulfing adventure, artistry and accolade, that the stage is set for exclaiming the magnificence of real life. Yet it is the subtleties of the film that makes it soar above most other factual theatrical releases. It’s a polished journey, which stirred in me a fierce jealousy that I have no desire burning nearly as deep as Phillipe’s dream to cross the tallest towers in all the lands. The romance, the spirit, the freedom! (more…)

Chris Waitt interview

Friday, July 11th, 2008 posted by Rebecca Frankel

Chris Waitt’s comic documentary about his lack of enduring relationships is financed through a new Low Budget Feature Film Scheme run through Warp X. They have made edgy and innovative films, such as Shane Meadow’s Dead Man’s Shoes (which I love) and Chris Cunningham’s Rubber Jonny. Warp X received the £4.5m to fund a slate of 6 digital films with directors wishing to explore new visual styles within digital filmmaking. Chris’ film is the first to be relased, Donkey Punch is the next due. (Sex a theme?)

A Complete History of My Sexual Failures has been met with mixed feelings in the documentary world. Some have suggested (more…)