Documentary

James Benning – El Valley Centro (2000)

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Employing natural sound and contemplative proscenium shots, Benning skillfully composes a series of pure and majestic images that at once evoke a sense of nostalgic splendor as well as deliver a subtle, yet penetrating, political commentary. Benning tells the story of how water irrigates this valley and how the produce is carted away in boxcars for the nation’s consumption. He shows the lifestyle of a modest and growing rural community, whose concerns are often drowned out by the powerful railroads, oil companies and insurance conglomerates which own the farms and ranches and benefit from undocumented immigrant labor while insisting on imprisoning an American population of color. Read More »

Pelin Esmer – Oyun AKA The Play (2005)

Ummuye, Behiye, Ummu, Fatma K., Cennet, Saniye, Fatma F., Zeynep and Nesime are nine peasant women living in Arslankoy, a mountain village in southern Turkey. They spend their days working hard in the fields, on the construction site and at home. To lighten the burden of life, these women come together for a wholly different reason. They intend to write and perform a play based on their own life stories. They gather at the local high school, which they were shy of even stepping into until that day and they work with the principal, Mr. Huseyin. They reveal their life stories that they were even afraid to tell themselves and confront. For days on end, under the curious gazes of the village men, they work tirelessly, discuss and create with much fun a play, “The Outcry of Women!” This documentary is about the development process of this play and the change the women went through during this period. Read More »

Fabien Delage – La rage du Demon AKA Fury of the Demon (2016)

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A documentary investigation on the rarest and most controversial French movie in the history of early cinema: a fascinating, lost and dangerous short film which causes violent reactions to those who watch it. Read More »

Werner Herzog – Glocken aus der Tiefe AKA Bells from the Deep (1993)

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Bells From The Deep is a fabulous look at the faith and superstitions of human beings living in Russia and Siberia. Herzog quietly observes his subjects and never appears obtrusive. The camera of Jorg Schmit-Reitwen (Heart of Glass, Kaspar Hauser) captures many incredible moments as Herzog and crew move from one subject to another with grace and wonder. Herzog never questions or dissects his subjects rituals or beliefs, rather observes and embraces them for all they are. Read More »

Edgardo Cozarinsky – Citizen Langlois (1994)

Citizen Langlois by Edgardo Cozarinsky is an essayistic documentary about Henri Langlois, founder and head of the Cinémathèque française until his death in 1977. I recently rewatched this along with Jacques Richard’s much longer documentary (which is also on the tracker –here–) and liked it even better than the time I saw it first at the Berlin festival some years ago.
The movie mostly consists of archive footage, showing Langlois, the musée du cinéma, collaborators and famous actors and directors. The events around the Affaire Langlois in 1968 take some time here, too, but Cozarinsky succeeds in finding a different angle to focus on Langlois and cinéphilia in general. Read More »

Gerd Kroske – SPK Komplex AKA SPK Complex (2018)

IMDB:
The anti-psychiatric Socialist Patients’ Collective (SPK) was founded in Heidelberg in 1970 and attributed individual suffering to society’s capitalist structures. It began as a self-organized experiment in group therapy led by doctor Wolfgang Huber with psychiatric patients, featuring Hegel readings and individual agitation, before subsequently radicalizing, which ended in criminal proceedings against its members, some of whom went underground with the Red Army Faction. Read More »

Christopher Sykes – Fun to Imagine – with Richard Feynman (1983)

It’s basically just Feynman sitting in his armchair (in his Pasadena, CA, home), talking on different topics in his fascinating inimitable way.

Topics include: jiggling atoms, fire, pushing and pulling, rubber bands, ice, magnets, electricity … and others. Read More »