USA

Stephen Dwoskin – Pain Is… (1997)

txt from Strictly Film School
(…)
“In Pain Is…, Dwoskin’s thoughtful rumination on the nature of pain, this intersection occurs in the conceptual mechanism of pain itself, in the way it surfaces amorphously, imprecisely, throughout the process and conduct of life, as well as in its insidious ability to create a subconscious shift in (sensorial) awareness – in essence, to reconfigure (if not transform) one’s immediate reality because of its existence. It is this untenable quality of pervasiveness and indefinability that Dwoskin articulates in an introductory analogy that sets the tone for the film’s organic (and inherently circular) exposition: Read More »

Evans Chan – Sorceress of the New Piano – The Artistry of Margaret Leng Tan (2004)

Strumming the strings of a grand piano like a harp and performing Beethoven on toy piano are among the surprising scenes in Evans Chan’s documentary, Sorceress of the New Piano (2004). The film celebrates the trans-cultural career of Singapore-born, New York-based pianist Margaret Leng Tan, hailed by The New Yorker as “the diva of avant-garde pianism”. Read More »

Cameron Bruce Nelson – Some Beasts (2015)

Working in an insular farming community in Appalachia, Sal Damon, a modern-day Thoreau, seeks solace from a past relationship. After a sudden death in the community and the discovery of a feral child living on the lam, Sal must reconcile his place in a world that lives outside of the law. Read More »

Frederick Wiseman – Belfast, Maine (1995)

Synopsis:
BELFAST, MAINE is a film about ordinary experience in a beautiful old New England port city. It is a portrait of daily life with particular emphasis on the work and the cultural life of the community. Among the activities shown in the film are the work of lobstermen, tug-boat operators, factory workers, shop owners, city counselors, doctors, judges, policemen, teachers, social workers, nurses and ministers. Cultural activities include choir rehearsal, dance class, music lessons and theatre production. Read More »

Frederick Wiseman – Primate (1974) (HD)

Among Wiseman’s funniest films – “a riot,” he deadpanned – Primate is also one of his most chilling. At the Yerkes Primate Research Centre, Wiseman fixes his camera behind rows of chain-link fencing, stuck at a hopeless impasse between the humans’ total lack of empathy and monkeys stripped of their agency. At a boardroom debate about artificial insemination, the director turns a conference into a playpen, zooming-in on scientists yawning, picking noses and jutting their jaws in boredom (by a lovely coincidence, he also happened to be filming during a particularly hirsute decade). For the finale to this grotesque circus, Wiseman turns to a real-time squirrel monkey dissection.
— Michael Ewins (bfi.org.uk). Read More »

Frederick Wiseman – Essene (1972) (HD)

In contrast to the oppressive rigour of Wiseman’s earlier subjects – including High School (1968) and Basic Training (1971) – this investigation into an organised social structure is tender and serene, revolving around the activities of a Benedictine monastery. In one beautiful scene we hear a Japanese monk asking his brothers to pray for the innocents in Hiroshima; later, a plain-clothes monk heads into town to buy a potato peeler. Read More »

Stan Brakhage – The Act of Seeing with One’s Own Eyes (1971)

Forensic pathologists perform autopsies. The first two consist of examination, measurement, and checking muscles. The remaining ones involve cutting away bone to expose and examine internal organs, peeling back skin and muscle, removing organs, using syringes to extract bodily fluids, and cutting pieces of tissue. Clothes are inventoried. As each autopsy ends, bodies are covered with sheets. There is no soundtrack. We see a body with extensive burns. The hands and trunks of the pathologists appear; sometimes we see them holding the microphone of a tape recorder. The work is sometimes delicate, sometimes not; it’s often bloody. We are form and meat. Read More »