Documentary

Michael Powell – Return to the Edge of the World (1978)

Director Michael Powell, actor John Laurie and assistant Sydney Streeter return to the isle of Foula, on which they made the film The Edge of the World over forty years earlier.

Michael Powell always considered The Edge of the World to be his first truly personal film, even to the extent of keeping the rights to it. However, after its initial trade screening in 1937, the film was cut by seven minutes for a general release length of 74 minutes. In 1940, when it was re-released, the film was cut by a further twelve minutes, and for decades this was the only version available. Read More »

Alan Zweig – I, Curmudgeon (2004)

In this often very funny enquiry into crankiness, Toronto filmmaker Alan Zweig interviews notable curmudgeons like Fran Lebowitz, Harvey Pekar and Bruce LaBruce. Zweig wants to know what their frickin’ problem is and, more importantly, whether it’s the same as his. As in Vinyl, his equally irascible doc on record collectors, the endearingly dour filmmaker spends much of I, Curmudgeon spilling his guts directly to his camera and torturing himself with big questions that he can never answer satisfactorily. Zweig then confronts his subjects with the same questions, thereby making them even grouchier. (How grouchy? Andy Rooney is moved to kick Zweig out of his office.) Though I, Curmudgeon’s meandering structure and incessant jump-cuts are irritants, they’re also appropriate to the movie’s abrasive, anti-social personality. Consider this a testament to the power of negative thinking. – Eye Weekly Read More »

Kamran Shirdel – Teheran, payetakht-e Iran ast AKA Tehran is the Capital of Iran (1966)

“Tehran is the Capital of Iran” (1966-79) documents life in a deprived district in the south of Tehran. The images of destitution in Tehran’s poor areas is accompanied by a variety of spoken accounts: the official viewpoint on the district’s living conditions, what the inhabitants have to say, and occasional extracts read out of school manuals. The key element in Shirdel’s film is the counterpoint effect he creates with image and sound. His impressively powerful portrayal of social unease helps reinforce the impact of his astonishing documentary images and social themes.. Read More »

Simon Pummell – Bodysong (2003)

Quote:
“Simultaneously developed by its writer-director Simon Pummell as a film, a website, and a gallery installation, Bodysong is not a work lacking in ambition. It sets itself the task of providing an overview of the human condition with Pummell and his researchers trawling through film, video, and television archives, as well as drawing on home movies.

All together the footage forms a panoramic mosaic underpinned by a haunting score from Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood. It doesn’t come with any guiding voiceover, although the diverse material is carefully structured into different passages: birth, growth, adolescence, sex, violence, death, and ultimately renewal and transcendence. Read More »

James Benning – Stemple Pass (2012)

Quote:
Benning, like Kaczynski a mathematician who came of age in a working-class Midwestern family in the late 1950s/early 1960s, was able not only to get hold of Kaczynski’s secret journals but also managed to decipher their code (giving added significance to the filmmaker’s reprise of his subject’s words: “FBI, suck my cock!”). Read More »

Claudine Nougaret – Paul Lacombe (1986)

In 1986 Paul Lacombe live out one’s remaining days in Sainte-Eulalie-de-Cernon, Aveyron. During 3 last years he wrote his memoirs. Claudine Nougaret films the meeting with her grandfather. Read More »

Bobbie Mann & Paul Robello – St Kilda: Britain’s Loneliest Isle (1928)

Touching short documentary about life in the island of St. Kilda, the most isolated of the Hebrides, shot between 1923 and 1928 (only a few years before it was abandoned by his inhabitants in 1930). The evacuation of this island inspired Michael Powell to create The edge of the world in 1937. Read More »