Gianfranco Rosi – Fuocoammare (2016)

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Storyline
Situated some 200km off Italy’s southern coast, Lampedusa has hit world headlines in recent years as the first port of call for hundreds of thousands of African and Middle Eastern migrants hoping to make a new life in Europe. Rosi spent months living on the Mediterranean island, capturing its history, culture and the current everyday reality of its 6,000-strong local population as hundreds of migrants land on its shores on a weekly basis. The resulting documentary focuses on 12-year-old Samuele, a local boy who loves to hunt with his slingshot and spend time on land even though he hails from a culture steeped in the sea. Continue reading

Frederick Wiseman – Sinai Field Mission (1978)

SINAI FIELD MISSION shows the routine activities of the diplomats and electronics technicians who operate the U.S. Sinai Field Mission, the early warning system established in 1976 to help facilitate the disengagement between Egypt and Israel after the 1973 war. The major purpose of the Mission is to monitor the approaches to strategic passes and to verify the operations of the Egyptian and Israeli surveillance stations in the Sinai Buffer Zone. Continue reading

Shôhei Imamura – Karayuki-san AKA The Making of a Prostitute (1975)

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Quote:
A film about another kind of “unreturned soldier” than Shohei Imamura has profiled elsewhere, KARAYUKI-SAN finds the filmmaker traveling to Malaysia to interview Kikuyo Zendo, one of the countless Japanese women who were kidnapped or otherwise sold into sexual slavery in order to service the Japanese military in Southeast Asia.

74 years old at the time of filming, she offers a frank and harrowing testimony into her horrific wartime experiences, and the factors that have led her to choose exile over repatriation. Continue reading

Sergey Loznitsa – Peyzazh (2003)

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Quote:
It begins with slow, 360 grade pans of a camera showing snowy countryside somewhere in Russia. The soundtrack has some natural voices.

The camera then is set at a bus stop in a Russian village. It continues to pan into the same direction, showing people waiting, talking to each other, drinking beer, staring, giving an occasional glance at the camera. The soundtrack is clearly from a different source than the pictures, but similar to the world of images. It has elderly people talking about their hard everyday life: sicknesses, alcoholism, dire poverty, violent drunken husbands, poor hospitals etc. etc. The voices curse, argue…

The people start gradually crowd into a full bus, they get in, and the buses leave. Continue reading

Marianne Lambert – I Don’t Belong Anywhere: The Cinema of Chantal Akerman (2015)

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Synopsis:
I DON’T BELONG ANYWHERE: THE CINEMA OF CHANTAL AKERMAN explores some of the Belgian filmmaker’s 40 plus films, and from Brussels to Tel Aviv, from Paris to New York, it charts the sites of her peregrinations. An experimental filmmaker, a nomad, Chantal Akerman shared with Marianne Lambert her cinematic trajectory, one that never ceased to interrogate the meaning of her existence. And with her editor and long-time collaborator, Claire Atherton, she examines the origins of her film language, and aesthetic stance. Continue reading

Steve Connelly – Americana (1992)

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Imdb
User Review

Fat, Dumb and Rich
23 May 2007 | by mar9 (Newcastle, Australia)

The three nouns above were the episode titles for this 3-part documentary about the USA. “Fat” is naturally about food, and it’s no surprise to find that the portions from the perspective of an austere Englishman are mind-bogglingly huge. As are the people who eat them. “Dumb” is basically a road trip through the some of the stranger sights the US has to offer, and the stranger people who populate them. “Rich” is an exploration of the US lifestyle for those fortunate enough to be able to afford it, and the answer is that it’s pretty fine. Jonathan Ross is the perfect presenter for this show that proves that it is impossible to exaggerate the weirdness that is life in America. He gives his subjects free rein to be as mad as they obviously are, and participates wholeheartedly. Part 1 in particular is a good companion piece to “Supersize Me” and the other episodes are somewhat reminiscent of Michael Moore when he’s not being irritating and invading office foyers and boardrooms. Find “Americana”, watch it. It’s good. Continue reading

Frederick Wiseman – La danse – Le ballet de l’Opéra de Paris (2009)

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Description: In “La Danse: The Paris Opera Ballet,” his 36th documentary in more than 40 years, Frederick Wiseman takes his camera into the stately and elegant Palais Garnier in Paris, observing rehearsals, staff meetings and, finally, performances of seven dances, including classics like “The Nutcracker” and spiky new work by younger choreographers. To say that the film, sumptuous in its length and graceful in its rhythm, is a feast for ballet lovers is to state the obvious and also to sell Mr. Wiseman’s achievement a bit short. Yes, this is one of the finest dance films ever made, but there’s more to it than that. Continue reading