Documentary

Raoul Ruiz – La présence réelle AKA The Real Presence (1984)

From Jordi Torrent’s program notes for “Raúl Ruiz: works for and about French TV,” at Exit Art (Nov 1987):

LA PRESENCE REELLE works through four axes of plot which are intercut throughout the film:
1. Adam Shaft, an out-of-work actor who recently worked on an interactive video disk documentary about the Avignon Theatre Festival, and who is now in a studio watching the program with the help of a computer specialist. Through conversations between Shaft and the computer specialist we find out that only 10% of time-space images in the video disk have been recorded from actual footage and the rest of the disk has been created by the computer using the ‘real presence’ of living beings. At one point Shaft complains because in the video disk his images are saying things that he never said. The computer specialist explains to him that his words have been used to create an entity that thinks and talks by itself, but that will not necessarily say things that Shaft would have thought or said. Read More »

Santiago Álvarez – La guerra necesaria AKA The Necessary War (1980)

Alvarez’ longest documentary examination of the Cuban Revolution, this contains exceptional interviews with Fidel, Raúl, Almeida, Vilma, Haydee, Celia and Faustino Perez, among other key players in the Revolution. Read More »

Elvis Lu – The Shepherds (2018)

Despite harsh condemnation and denunciation from society, a heterosexual female pastor founded Taiwan’s first LGBT-affirming church in May 1996. For LGBT Christians, who had been rejected by the Christian community for a long time, they finally have a church that offers them a safe haven. Though the founder has passed away, the church members continue to make their voice heard, confronting the unjust social institutions while struggling with religious conflict at the same time. Come hell or high water, they strive to make a difference in the lives of others by telling their own life stories, in hope that love will eventually trump hate and solve misunderstanding someday. Read More »

Antoine d’Agata – Aka Ana (2008)

Renowned French photographer and Nan Goldin disciple Antoine D’Agata offers this visual essay of Tokyo prostitution circuits that isn’t for the easily offended. By exploring the prostitutes’ filthy working rooms and capturing the sex workers as they service clients, shoot heroin, and masturbate with their own blood, D’Agata effectively shatters the standard perception of the porn industry. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi Read More »

Jurriën Rood & Leo de Boer – De Weg naar Bresson aka The Road to Bresson (1984)

SYNOPSIS
The film style of Robert Bresson is the subject of this documentary tribute to the French director and screenwriter, and to his minimalist auteur films about sensitive individuals (or even animals) trying unsuccessfully to survive in a cruel world. Weg Naar Bresson is divided into several segments with specific themes, such as “camera” or “theory,” that are illustrated by film clips, and interviews with Bresson himself (a coup), and also with acclaimed directors Andrei Tarkovsky, Louis Malle, and Paul Schrader (who also wrote a book on three directors, including Bresson).

– Eleanor Mannikka, All Movie Guide Read More »

Pedro González-Rubio – Inori (2012)

A dying town in the lush, water-fed mountains of Japan’s southeastern Nara Prefecture inspires Mexican multihyphenate Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio to ruminate on natural wonders and the melancholy inevitability facing an aging population in “Inori.” Produced by Naomi Kawase as part of her Nara Film Fest’s Narative project, the docu adheres closely to the Kawase model of nature lensed in a minor key, and fans of Gonzalez-Rubio’s “Alamar” will find gentle pleasures in this agreeable yet slight work. Read More »

Raoul Ruiz – Cofralandes, cuarta parte: Evocaciones y valses (2002)

This is the fourth in a series of seven projected video essays (four of which were completed) that Ruiz was commissioned to make in 2002-2003 for use among Chilean community organizations and broadcast on public television. Cofralandes, the head-title for each of the segments of Ruiz’s series, is taken from a song by Violeta Parra where it evokes the “land of milk and honey,” the “land of Cockayne,” the “green world” imagined by Gonzalo in The Tempest. Read More »