J.P. Sniadecki – The Iron Ministry (2014)


Filmed over three years on China’s railways, THE IRON MINISTRY traces the vast interiors of a country on the move: flesh and metal, clangs and squeals, light and dark, and language and gesture. Scores of rail journeys come together into one, capturing the thrills and anxieties of social and technological transformation. THE IRON MINISTRY immerses audiences in fleeting relationships and uneasy encounters between humans and machines on what will soon be the world’s largest railway network. Continue reading

Frederick Wiseman – National Gallery (2014)


Documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman goes behind the scenes at the National Gallery in a journey to the heart of a museum inhabited by masterpieces of Western art from the Middle Ages to the 19th century.

This three-hour epic has no voiceover, no score and no added sound effects. The nearest thing to music is the drone of the polishing machines at dawn. In a richly detailed, beautifully nuanced portrait of the gallery’s working life, we are guided gently from board meeting to retouching workshop, from gallery floor, to seminar room, from the difficult financial decisions facing the charity’s executives to visitors’ awed appreciation of the exhibitions.

Combining a vivid sense of how vast the gallery’s many activities are with an eye for droll observational detail, the film reveals how the gallery works and its relations with its staff, public and paintings. Continue reading

Göran Olsson – Concerning Violence (2014)


A new feature documentary by Göran Hugo Olsson

Concerning Violence is a bold and fresh visual narrative from Africa based on archive material from Swedish documentaries 1966-1987 covering the most daring moments in the struggle for liberation from colonial rule. This powerful footage is combined with text from Frantz Fanon’s landmark book The Wretched of the Earth – written in 1960 and still a major tool for understanding and illuminating the neocolonialism happening today, as well as the unrest and the reactions against it.

“Colonialism is not a thinking machine, nor a body endowed with reasoning faculties. It is violence in its natural state, and it will only yield when confronted with greater violence.”

“Come comrades, the European game is finally over; we must look for something else. We can do anything today provided we do not ape Europe, provided we are not obsessed with catching up with Europe. Europe has gained such a mad and reckless momentum that it has lost control and reason and is heading at dizzying speed towards the brink from which we would be advised to remove ourselves as quickly as possible.”

-Frantz Fanon Continue reading

Juri Rechinsky – Sickfuckpeople (2013)


A documentary triptych about a group of homeless kids, who have survived their drug-addicted childhood, grew up and start to live an adult life. It’s a story about a boy facing the surreal, degenerated society of his native village full of hate and sadistic anger while searching for his mother. It’s a story about a pregnant girl who wants to give birth to her child whose childhood probably will be even worse then hers. But her own sisters are forcing her to make an abortion. Continue reading

Barbara Bell & Anna Lorentzon – Graphic Sexual Horror (2009)


The phrase “Graphic Sexual Horror” actually derives from the all-caps warning that would greet visitors at the threshold to the “Insex.Com” Web site during its heyday roughly a decade ago. But one can’t be blamed for thinking that the title pairs well with the somewhat sensationalistic marketing. The fact that this is a documentary is never concealed, but that doesn’t really diminish the lurid appeal – in fact, the promise that everything is real only adds to the titillation.

Of course that’s the same lure of realism that attracted some 35,000 subscribers to Brent “PD” Scott’s unique BDSM online community and interactive gallery. Shooting on stark sets sporting a rundown, industrial look and featuring a grim, deadpan aesthetic that gave some the impression that PD “really had captured the girls,” the Insex team specialized in creative live feed sessions that allowed customers to provide real-time input and feedback. The young models would frequently plead for mercy from all sorts of gnarly acts of sadism, but per S/M protocol there was always a “safe word” in reserve that they could invoke if things became too unbearable. Continue reading