Documentary

Noriaki Tsuchimoto – Shiranuikai AKA Minimata Part 2: The Shiranui Sea (1975)

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The Shiranui Sea is the second of the Minamata documentaries released by Zakka Films and widely considered to be Tsuchimoto’s masterpiece. If Minimata: The Victims and Their World follows the victims in their struggle for compensation for suffering from Minimata Disease, Japan’s most notorious case of environmental pollution, The Shiranui Sea provides a beautifully lyrical and compelling portrait of their everyday lives and difficulties. It is both a profound expose of how government and industry can undermine the environmental foundations of daily life, and a model for how documentary can humanely reveal human suffering.

“One of the monuments of Japanese documentary”. Read More »

Joaquim Pedro de Andrade – Garrincha – Alegria do Povo AKA Garrincha: Joy of the People AKA Garrincha: Hero of the Jungle (1963)

The legendary Cinema Novo director Joaquim Pedro de Andrade made his feature debut with this mesmerizing 1962 documentary about an even greater Brazilian legend: Mane Garrincha, the phenomenal striker from a desperately poor village who somehow turned his bent and misshapen knees into a remarkable asset. Joaquim Pedro’s work has the hallmarks of an essay film. It makes the methodical case for the role of soccer in the lives of Brazilians, and then tries to place Garrincha — who stuck to his provincial roots and beliefs even after achieving superstardom — within the context of a country struggling to find its place in the world.
— Bilge Ebiri (The Village Voice) Read More »

Wendy Apple – The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing (2004)

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Documentary about the art of film editing. Clips are shown from many groundbreaking films with innovative editing styles. Read More »

John Akomfrah – The Nine Muses (2010)

Twenty-five years after the end of the Trojan War, Odysseus still has not returned home. So his son, Telemachus, sets off on a journey in search of his lost father. So begins Homer’s revered epic poem, The Odyssey, the primary narrative reference point for THE NINE MUSES, John Akomfrah’s remarkable meditation about chance, fate and redemption. Read More »

Edgardo Cozarinsky – La guerre d’un seul homme AKA One Man’s War (1982)

Edgardo Cozarinsky ’s pioneering film essay, La guerre d’un seul homme (“One Man’s War”), combined newsreels from the Nazi occupation of Paris with extracts from the diaries of the writer Ernst Junger, at the time Military Governor of the French capital. The effect is both disturbing and illuminating as to the kind of constructions and truth-claims involved in the newsreel and the diary. Made in exile in France, during the harshest period of the military dictatorship in Cozarinsky’s native Argentina, the ethical and political implications go well beyond what happened in France during World War II. Read More »

Joe Berlinger & Bruce Sinofsky – Brother’s Keeper (1992)

The first feature-length effort by documentary filmmakers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, Brother’s Keeper unfolds a strange-but-true story about a most unorthodox family. 59-year-old Delbert Ward lives with his brothers Bill, Roscoe, and Lyman on a dairy farm near the upstate New York village of Munnville. Barely able to function on an adult level, the Ward brothers keep to themselves, ignored and shunned by their neighbors. When older brother Bill dies on June 5, 1990, the authorities determine that his death was not from natural causes. Suspected of a mercy killing, Delbert is charged with second degree murder. Read More »

Fiona Tan – Ascent (2016)

Through a gray blanket of cloud the contours of a mountain can be barely discerned. This is Mount Fuji, a volcano with many faces and of immeasurable cultural and symbolic significance. We are lead through the film by the voices of two fictitious characters – Mary, an English woman and her deceased Japanese partner, Hiroshi. Mary receives a parcel containing letters and a collection of photographs from Hiroshi. His letters, in which he describes climbing Mount Fuji, trigger in her mind a train of thoughts and reflections. The photographs we discover together with Mary. 4,500 exceptional and diverse photographs from the past 150 years form the basis for this film. Many images are of undeniably breathtaking beauty – ranging from early examples of nineteenth century Japanese studio photography to military propaganda photos from the thirties, from victorious American press images to amateur snapshots across several decades. Read More »