Gianni Celati – Strada Provinciale delle Anime (1991)

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Quote:
“First, some back­ground information on the making of the film. Celati had spoken for some time about his wish to make what he called a “pseudo-documentary.” That is, the “realism” of the documentary would be maintained in terms of overall structure and style, but the film would be constructed according to a highly self-conscious artistic vision. In a recent interview, Celati was asked what aspects of the documentary interest him the most, and he responded: “Non credo molto ai documentari, perché l’idea che le immagini ti mostrino davvero come è fatta la realtà appar­tiene a un modo di pensare che non è il mio. A me sembra che i documentari siano racconti come tutti gli altri. Però mi piace poco anche l’idea di ‘fiction’ in cui il cinema è irrimediabilmente incastrato” (“Il sentimento dello spazio” 25-26). Clearly, the mixing of “real” documentary and “fictional” art film forms acts on both, blurring the boundaries between life and art, internal and external. Continue reading

Eric Rohmer – Les Métamorphoses du paysage AKA Changing Landscapes (1964)

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One of Rohmer’s most obscure works (the IMDB’s is the only filmography which lists it), a black-and-white short film, “Changing Landscapes” (“Metamorphoses du paysage”), made for TV in 1964. It appears to be part of a series with the overall title Vers l’unité du monde: L’ère industrielle. It’s a series of shots of the countryside and its transformation into an urban landscape, with a voiceover (in French, subtitled into English). The end credits call it “Une émission de Maurice Schérer” (i.e. Rohmer, using a variation of his real name). The cinematography is credited to Pierre Lhomme, a DP of some distinction but one who never worked on any of Rohmer’s features. “Changing Landscapes” is full-frame, running 22:20. It’s in remarkably good condition, with only a few scratches here and there. This tele-essay will no doubt be much too dry for a general audience, but Rohmer fans and completists will be glad to have it. (DVDTimes) Continue reading

Isaac Julien – BaadAsssss Cinema: A Bold Look at ’70s Blaxploitation Films (2002)

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from rottentomatoes
“Produced by the Independent Film Channel (IFC), this documentary by filmmaker Isaac Julien takes a look at blaxploitation films, and the huge cult following that has built up around them. Interviews with some of the original actors and directors of the genre are featured, including Richard Roundtree, Pam Grier and Melvin Van Peebles; Latter day fan Quentin Tarantino also offers his opinions. The explosive mixture of incredible fashions, hairstyles, comedy, sex, action and music contained in these films has won millions of fans all over the globe, find out why in BAASASSSSS CINEMA!” Continue reading

Partho Sen-Gupta, John McLaughlin & Zakir Hussain – Shakti Timeless (2006)

“Shakti Timeless” tells the story of the Indo-Western music group Shakti. Formed in 1975, the group pioneered a groundbreaking and highly influential musical East-meets-West approach. In the 1970s, the group, whose name means creative intelligence, beauty and power, consisted of legendary British jazz guitarist John McLauglin, North Indian tabla master Zakir Hussain, violinist L. Shankar and percussionist T.H. Vinayakram, the latter two hailing from South India. Together, they created a fluid and organic sound that managed to successfully combine seemingly incompatible traditions. After a number of very successful live concerts and albums they disbanded. The group was reformed in 1997 under the name Remember Shakti with new talents from India, such as V. Selvaganesh, who replaced his father Vinayakram on percussion, and the young prodigy U. Shrinivas, who replaced L. Shankar. In 2000, the young Indian classical singer Shankar Mahadevan joined as the first vocal element in the group. The documentary is on the DVD “Remember Shakti – The Way of Beauty,” which also includes the 2000 concert film “Saturday Night in Bombay.” Continue reading

Dan Gordon – The John Akii-Bua Story: An African Tragedy (2008)

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Via Lutherb:

“A documentary showing Uganda in the 1970s to 1980s through the relationship between John Akii-Bua, the first African athlete to win a gold olympic medal in an event under 1000 metres, and Idi Amin, the cruel dictator of Uganda in the 1970s. It’s an exciting documentary for those who are interested in the 20th century history of Africa, with a lot of new information and insights.” Continue reading