Documentary

Claude Lanzmann – Les quatre soeurs – L’arche de Noe (2017)

Her consistently and relentlessly painful account during the shoot of Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah makes for an attempt at understanding how one can be part of a convoy which – with Eichmann’s agreement – saved hundreds of Hungarian Jews while at the same time some 450.000 of their kin were either dying in the gas chambers of Birkenau, or burned alive in the open air in order to keep up with the pace the Nazis demanded. Read More »

Claude Lanzmann – Les quatre soeurs – Baluty (2017)

Of the hundred ghettos that dotted the Polish countryside, the one in Lodz had existed for the longest. It was ruled with an iron fist by the president of the Jewish council of elders, Chaim Mordechai Rumkowski, known as “King Chaim” – a man convinced he could save part of the community by turning them into manpower to serve the Germans. Read More »

Claude Lanzmann – Les quatre soeurs – La Puce joyeuse, Ada Lichtman (2017)

From MUBI:
Four Sisters, a quartet of Lanzmann documentaries that recently premiered at the New York Film Festival, avoids many of the pitfalls of the often-irascible documentarian’s lesser films by dint of its remarkable self-effacement. Devoted to the frequently jaw-dropping stories of four women who survived the Holocaust, the films—The Hippocratic Oath, Baluty, The Merry Flea, and Noah’s Ark— confirm that filmed oral history is Lanzmann’s métier. This seems particularly noteworthy in an era where the macro-historical approach of scholars such as Timothy Snyder has become embraced as the best conceptual tool for defining and explicating the Holocaust. Read More »

Claude Lanzmann – Les quatre soeurs – Le Serment d’Hippocrate (2017)

From MUBI:
Four Sisters, a quartet of Lanzmann documentaries that recently premiered at the New York Film Festival, avoids many of the pitfalls of the often-irascible documentarian’s lesser films by dint of its remarkable self-effacement. Devoted to the frequently jaw-dropping stories of four women who survived the Holocaust, the films—The Hippocratic Oath, Baluty, The Merry Flea, and Noah’s Ark— confirm that filmed oral history is Lanzmann’s métier. This seems particularly noteworthy in an era where the macro-historical approach of scholars such as Timothy Snyder has become embraced as the best conceptual tool for defining and explicating the Holocaust. Read More »

Alan Zweig – Vinyl (2000)

Alan Zweig investigates the wacky world of record collecting. An odd film made by a Toronto filmmaker who interviewed record collectors in their homes and in their favourite haunt – the record store. For those who enjoyed High Fidelity and thought that Nick Hornsby’s novel was a rip off of their life story, wait until you see this one! The director’s thesis is that record collectors are obsessive compulsive and are using this pursuit to make up for something that is inherently missing from their lives. Read More »

Joshua Bonnetta & J.P. Sniadecki – El mar la mar (2017)

Official website says:
An immersive and enthralling journey through the Sonoran Desert on the U.S.-Mexico border, El mar la mar weaves together harrowing oral histories from the area with hand-processed 16mm images of flora, fauna and items left behind by travelers. Subjects speak of intense, mythic experiences in the desert: A man tells of a fifteen-foot-tall monster said to haunt the region, while a border patrolman spins a similarly bizarre tale of man versus beast. A sonically rich soundtrack adds to the eerie atmosphere as the call of birds and other nocturnal noises invisibly populate the austere landscape.
Emerging from the ethos of Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Lab, J.P. Sniadecki’s attentive documentary approach mixes perfectly with Joshua Bonnetta’s meditations on the materiality of film. Together, they’ve created an experience of the border region like nothing you’ve seen, heard or felt before. Read More »

Evan Johnson & Galen Johnson & Guy Maddin – The Green Fog (2017)

Director Guy Maddin’s interpretation of the Alfred Hitchcock classic Vertigo, pieced together using footage from old films and television shows shot in and around the San Francisco area. Read More »