Witnessing the Witness: Looking Over a Shoulder at War’s Deprivation
Even if you have never heard of James Nachtwey, the award-winning photojournalist who is the subject of Christian Frei’s new documentary ”War Photographer,” it is likely that you are familiar with his work. For more than two decades Mr. Nachtwey has traveled to places in the world devastated by war, famine and poverty and documented the cruelty and suffering he has found with an devastating, eloquent clarity. He was in Nicaragua at the height of the contra war, in South Africa during the bloody mid-1980’s and in Rwanda in the aftermath of the 1994 genocide.
The Internet’s Own Boy follows the story of programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz. From Swartz’s help in the development of the basic internet protocol RSS to his co-founding of Reddit, his fingerprints are all over the internet. But it was Swartz’s groundbreaking work in social justice and political organizing combined with his aggressive approach to information access that ensnared him in a two-year legal nightmare. It was a battle that ended with the taking of his own life at the age of 26. Aaron’s story touched a nerve with people far beyond the online communities in which he was a celebrity. This film is a personal story about what we lose when we are tone deaf about technology and its relationship to our civil liberties. Continue reading
At first glance, you might dismiss Journey Through the Past as just another sci-fi quickie. Please DON’T do that. This 75-minute, R-rated musical documentary is a probing portrait of rock star Neil Young. The film begins in 1966, when Young was still with Buffalo Springfield, and concludes in “the present”-1972, that is. Also appearing are Neil Young’s faithful companions Stephen Stills, Richie Furay, Dewey Martin, David Crosby and Graham Nash. Songs include “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” and “Heart of Gold.” The direction of Journey Through the Past is credited to one “Bernard Shakey”-who also goes by the name of Neil Young ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide Continue reading
Roger Ebert @ Chicago Sun-Times, September 25, 2005 wrote:
There is an astonishing sequence in Robert J. Flaherty’s “Nanook of the North” (1922) in which his hero, the Inuit hunter Nanook, hunts a seal. Flaherty shows the most exciting passage in one unbroken shot. Nanook knows that seals must breathe every 20 minutes, and keep an air hole open for themselves in the ice of the Arctic winter. He finds such a hole, barely big enough to be seen and is poised motionless above it with his harpoon until a seal rises to breathe. Then he strikes and holds onto the line as the seal plunges to escape.
There is a desperate tug of war. Nanook hauls the line 10 or 12 feet out of the hole, and then is dragged back, sliding across the ice, and pulls again, and again. We can’t see, but he must have the line tied to his body — to lose would be to drown. He desperately signals for his fellow hunters to help him, and we see them running across the ice with their dogs as he struggles to hold on. They arrive at last, and three or four of them pull on the line. The seal prevails. Nanook uses his knife to enlarge the hole, and the seal at last is revealed and killed. The hunters immediately strip it of its blubber and dine on its raw flesh.
Much has been sad about this documentary, before it’s been shown. Europe outside Italy has its view clear. How is Berlusconi possible? You meet this agent with Mussolini songs in his cell phone. You meet the paparazzi king who with a considerable amount of self irony calls himself a Robin Hood, who takes from the poor and gives to himself. You also meet the 26-year-old worker, still living with his mother, who wants to be famous, combining Ricky Martin songs with karate tricks.
What we are supposed to think is obvious, but who is to blame? Is it the TV viewers who let this happened or someone else? The hen or the egg once again. That’s the discussion which really ought to start from this film. (Stensson, from IMDB)
A man has been living for thirty years as a recluse in a forest in France. Alone, he hews out deep underground tunnels and galleries, which he decorates with his own engravings. They must withstand the planetary disaster that has been announced, and they must explain things, through their perceptive messages, to future inhabitants. The film recounts this experience as lived on the sidelines of modern society, affected as it is by human wretchedness and the loss, once and for all, of a perfect world.
Made entirely of Scottish film archive, a journey into our collective past, the film explores universal themes of love, loss, resistance, migration, work and play. Ordinary people, some long since dead, their names and identities largely forgotten, appear shimmering from the depth of the vaults to take a starring role.
Brilliantly edited together, these silent individuals become composite characters, who emerge to tell us their stories, given voice by King Creosote’s poetic music and lyrics. Continue reading