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Kull the Conqueror
Apr 8, 2006



Any of you folks seen Dennis O'Rourke's Cannibal Tours? It's all about rich tourists going through impoverished Papua New Guinea in 1987 and generally being awful people.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQiDufdir_M

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Kull the Conqueror
Apr 8, 2006



xcore posted:

There was a pretty good documentary on Australian TV over the weekend on Pussy Riot called Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer Not sure if people overseas can view the ABC iView site, but I'm sure it's on Netflix or Hulu or something as well anyway.

http://www.abc.net.au/iview/#/program/85180658

It aired on HBO here so it's a little harder to access, but I loved that doc. Their speeches during their trial are inspiring.

Kull the Conqueror
Apr 8, 2006



Good morning, doc thread. Start your day right and enjoy Joris Ivens' Regen (Rain) (1929).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPD2C0K38jY

Kull the Conqueror
Apr 8, 2006



Just watched Bert Haanstra's short doc Mirror of Holland. It's an absolute trip. Check it out, it's only 9 minutes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6z8HqfZYfw

Kull the Conqueror
Apr 8, 2006



Thom Andersen's Los Angeles Plays Itself is getting a DVD release. I'm pretty stoked to check it out.

Kull the Conqueror
Apr 8, 2006



MonsieurChoc posted:

Any good documentaries on native Americans? I'm watching one on youtube (this one:) and I just need to know more about the people who used to live where my house now stands ().

You Are on Indian Land. I just watched it recently. It's a 36-minute Canadian work from 1969 about a protest against forcing a sovereign Mohawk community pay duty for crossing an American/Canadian boundary on a bridge that they have never recognized, and the ensuing police confrontation. It was shot and chopped by First Nations peoples, who had been armed with cameras as part of a Canadian documentary initiative called Challenge for Change.

Also, Incident at Oglala is on Netflix. It's very good.

Kull the Conqueror fucked around with this message at 13:59 on Jul 22, 2014

Kull the Conqueror
Apr 8, 2006



Doikor posted:

This is one of the best documentaries I've watched in quite some time.

Another one i watched recently and highly recommend is The Unknown Known made by the same guy (Errol Morris) about Donald Rumsfeld.

edit: I really like the part where he pretty much admits that if Bush didin't name some idiot politician to run the temporary Iraq government who in his infinite wisdom decided to fire the whole iraqi army among other great ideas against the wishes of the Pentagon. (200000+ armed, trained and jobless iraqis who basically turned into the resistance/terrorists/whatever after a short while). He also fired basically all of the existing civilian government there that led the country to being run by people who had zero experience in running a country.

This arrived from Netflix yesterday and I popped it in pretty quickly. I found it kind of empowering in the sense that if I have any sense of a foreign doctrine, I can confidently say it's not that guy's. Little of it is surprising but it's fascinating to witness an individual so convinced by his dumb aphorisms that being rational about what could happen doesn't account for all the crazy nonsense the imagination can conjure up. Fog of War is the easy comparison but I think Morris's work at large is in part about exposing these myths we like to create about ourselves. In Mr. Death a perfectly weird but rather affable schmo becomes a holocaust denier pretty much because he fits in. McNamara and Rumsfeld speak in riddles like it's the only way to maintain their sanity. Standard Operating Procedure shows us that wartime practices are oversimplified by both the press and the military in wildly different directions. Morris is a champion of the medium because he respects the environment of chaos the truth calls home, and with that awareness he can really start investigating human nature like no one else.

Kull the Conqueror
Apr 8, 2006



I watched Pumping Iron and it was pretty average, but I just couldn't stop thinking about how if this had been the last stop of Arnold's fame (i.e. no movies, political future), he would probably be considered a Mark-Borchardt-level classic documentary personality. As it is, however, the film is merely a curiosity.

Kull the Conqueror fucked around with this message at 17:54 on Aug 30, 2014

Kull the Conqueror
Apr 8, 2006



I just learned what quaint means.

Kull the Conqueror
Apr 8, 2006



Yeah, I guess you're right. The film's got some pretty flat form; it probably wouldn't make a difference if historical circumstances were different.

Kull the Conqueror
Apr 8, 2006



HUNDU THE BEAST GOD posted:

The National Parks is one where you think it's just gonna be dull as hell and it's turned out to be one of my favorites.

It's got stupendous cinematography and has the benefit of not having to rely entirely on old photography.

Kull the Conqueror
Apr 8, 2006



ravenkult posted:

Any good docus about Alaska or the Canadian wilderness and stuff like that?

One day I stumbled upon Waterwalker. Is Bill Mason a well-known guy in Canada?

Kull the Conqueror
Apr 8, 2006



Goobish posted:

This sounds terrible, but for some reason I like depressing as hell documentaries about homeless/orphan children. The best one I've seen in awhile is Children Underground. The synopsis is, "This documentary explores Romanian dictator Nicolei Ceaucescu's decision to outlaw contraceptives and encourage the populace to have more children." But it's way more than that. There's minimal narration but you come to know and care for the children it follows. And of course you get angry as hell at a broken system that you'll probably never do anything about.

Are there any other good documentaries about street kids? Roving bands of homeless kids is the loving craziest thing.

Well, I'm guessing if you're into the "genre", you've already seen Streetwise, but it's never really a bad time to repost Streetwise.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5lTQgfXb87k

You can also see Mary Ellen Mark's accompanying photo essay that appeared in LIFE here. Documentary film never finds itself too far from documentary photography.

Kull the Conqueror fucked around with this message at 13:50 on Oct 4, 2014

Kull the Conqueror
Apr 8, 2006



Notes on Blindness is a short-doc that showed at Sundance this year, and it's in-loving-credible. John Hull is a writer/theologian who gradually went blind, and he recorded journal entries about the experience for years. The film attempts to realize his experience, which is sort of ironic, and yet perfectly fitting. Plans appear to be to make it feature-length, which I am all about.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LoOWpWHMQw

Kull the Conqueror fucked around with this message at 14:44 on Oct 11, 2014

Kull the Conqueror
Apr 8, 2006



Schlinky posted:

Would anyone else be able to recommend some interesting music documentaries? I'm interested less about the history of an era and more about the stories behind the people, but I'm totally up for anything if it's good.

If you can find it, The Decline of Western Civilization is a classic.

e: Jesus, I had no idea it was so off the grid. That movie needs to get restored, but it's too expensive with all the song rights.

Kull the Conqueror fucked around with this message at 15:02 on Oct 25, 2014

Kull the Conqueror
Apr 8, 2006




I'm 2.5 hours deep and completely engaged. The fact that they were able to interview so many officials from all involved parties makes it really dynamic.

Kull the Conqueror
Apr 8, 2006



HUNDU THE BEAST GOD posted:

My very favorite thing (other than the rad theme music) about it is that Milosevic is just another guy in it. It was a couple years before Kosovo and before he was tried at the Hague and whatever, but it is wild to see. It would be like seeing Charles Taylor or something as a talking head in a documentary.

And also plenty of paramilitary leaders who have now been convicted or awaiting trial, just casually talking about what they've been up to. "Yeah, I was sent to that village where all Bosnian Muslims were systematically murdered. Why are you looking at me like that?"

Kull the Conqueror
Apr 8, 2006



I wrapped up watching The Sorrow and the Pity yesterday, which was pretty excellent. On an informational level it was fairly overwhelming because my frame of reference for the Western side of things in WWII was limited (I had never heard of the attack on Mers-el-Kébir before, ), but I never really felt completely in the dark. Despite plenty of challenges to the historiography of Occupied France, I think it's to the film's great advantage that it never becomes truly didactic. This aim becomes crystal-clear towards the end when Anthony Eden strongly contends that anybody who wasn't there can't pass judgment. At the same time, for all the moral gray areas of existing under occupation, France is pretty goddamn lucky that history didn't take a spotlight to their complicity in Jewish persecution.

Cinematically, I'm always captivated by early(ish) direct cinema technique, and it's especially enrapturing when it's mostly an oral history of WWII. It makes a world of difference to see a person interviewed within their own environment, like a farmhouse or a ritzy foyer, as opposed to some stale studio with a monotone backdrop. It's also fascinating when contrasted against found footage of German/French propaganda of the time. The clashing of myth and reality somehow results in some potent emotional affect.

So yeah, good stuff.

Kull the Conqueror
Apr 8, 2006



Has anyone here seen Maidan yet? I'm hitting it up tonight. It looks sick.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrZAnlIgZpg

Kull the Conqueror
Apr 8, 2006



Only one of the best docs EVER at your service.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MT8q6VAyTi8

e: And this is the original version with narration by Orson Welles instead of Hemingway. Both are good.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nX0RseyGo7g

Kull the Conqueror fucked around with this message at 21:24 on Feb 16, 2015

Kull the Conqueror
Apr 8, 2006



Les Blank's A Poem is a Naked Person was shown for the first time in public last night at SXSW, and it is a great work of direct cinema. I was so happy to hear at the end from Blank's son that it's gonna get a summer release from Janus and then a Criterion bluray. Any doc fan has to see it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6KpbMxxV64

Kull the Conqueror
Apr 8, 2006



GreyPowerVan posted:

Anyone seen decent documentaries lately that would be of interest to people in social services? Alive Inside was good, as was Living on One Dollar in a different way.

It's probably been at LEAST a month since I posted Streetwise, so what the hell. I have a buddy getting his master's in public health/social work and he used parts of it in a presentation he did. He worked in child services for years (goddamn champion) and said he's blown away by how much his classmates are squeamish about the people they're there to help.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5lTQgfXb87k

Kull the Conqueror
Apr 8, 2006



spankmeister posted:

Yesterday I finished The Jinx and it's amazing. The existence of the train wreck that is All Good Things is completely justified solely by being the catalyst for establishing this series.

If you do intend to watch this documentary, don't Google Robert Durst, lest ye be spoiled the ending.

I've been so jazzed about it since blowing through it this past weekend. It's a thrilling documentary. I think Jarecki n' crew really walk straight up to the edge of documentary ethics, and it's going to be hard to determine how I feel about it all until we see whether or not it fucks up any future trials.

Kull the Conqueror
Apr 8, 2006



Abu Dave posted:

That's dissapointing. Any reccomendations for a Vietnam doc then?

I haven't watched this yet but I bet it reeeeallly owns. I mean, drat, that is a documentary supergroup.

Kull the Conqueror
Apr 8, 2006



Goobish posted:

Years ago I found a thing on YouTube about a Scientologist lady who became psychotic, and later died from abuses of Scientologists. I don't remember details, but it always stuck with me and I've always wondered if it was true. Wouldn't be surprised now that I know psychologists and psychiatrists are "Suppressive People."

Are you thinking of Lisa McPherson?

Kull the Conqueror
Apr 8, 2006



Wow, Vernon, Florida is kind of perfect.

Kull the Conqueror
Apr 8, 2006



Steve Yun posted:

Am I imagining things or is there a huge glut of documentaries lately about really niche things?

How niche do you mean?

Kull the Conqueror
Apr 8, 2006



WebDog posted:

I was at a talk with D. A. Pennebaker and he noted that the only places that would screen his early documentaries was a chain of on-the-out porno theaters that were looking to clean up their act.

It predates his era too. Newsreel theaters were around in bigger cities, and immensely popular for that matter, but anything that wasn't newsreel (i.e. establishment-biased stuff produced by big studios) barely made its way through independent theater circuits before fading away. Independent doc-artists were kept out of the mainstream by design.

Kull the Conqueror
Apr 8, 2006



There's a real nice transfer of Huston's Let There Be Light from 1946 on the 'tube. Much of the stuff shown is adorably arcane but the early interviews with shaken veterans is devastating stuff. I'm really kind of astounded by the photography in this. It portrays real moments in a classical Hollywood style that documentaries would not often emulate.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uiD6bnqpJDE

Kull the Conqueror
Apr 8, 2006



You wanna know what's really loving crazy about it? From Barnouw's Documentary: A History of the Nonfiction Film (which is an amazing read if you're at all interested):

Erik Barnouw, p. 164 posted:

Huston looked back on this project as "the most hopeful and optimistic and even joyous thing I ever had a hand in. I felt as though I were going to church ever day out in that hospital." All patients portrayed in the film approved its release. But the army--with various explanations--banned it except for showings to psychiatrists. One explanation was that the film was not the sort of film that had been intended; that Huston had 'pulled a fast one.' Another was that the War Department wished to avoid raising false hopes for incurable cases. But perhaps Huston had again brought the viewer too close to war and its human toll.

I mean, talk about a film that should be viewed by the public to help them to understand the psychological toll of wartime, and they just squelch it moronically.

Kull the Conqueror
Apr 8, 2006



BiggerBoat posted:

Does Koyaanisqatsi count as a documentary? Cause that movie's pretty great.

City symphonies are a bona-fide documentary tradition.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zg353U4QpxA

(made more revelatory today thanks to the fact that this version of the city would be obliterated in less than two decades)

Kull the Conqueror
Apr 8, 2006



Explain the difference satisfactorily and I'll buy you a beer.

Kull the Conqueror
Apr 8, 2006



Raxivace posted:

I'm still sort of working out how I feel about it, so I'm not sure I can explain how I feel to you satisfactorily to gain that elusive beer.

I guess the best way I could put it is that if you were to describe something like The Man With a Movie Camera to someone that had never heard of the film before, just calling it a documentary and than plopping it into the DVD player would be a bit misleading (Or at least, this is how I felt when this happened to me exactly). The film has such a focus on formalism that we just don't see in documentaries usually, to the point where we have footage of someone editing it together onscreen. Modern documentaries seem more about directly delivering content in an almost journalistic way. In comparison the city symphonies feel like visual poetry, where the focus is more about how they're speaking to audiences through experimental practices like extreme montage, and less about giving insight into what life was like in 1920's Russia or Berlin or whatever.

Everything you're saying is accurate, but doesn't it seem kind of weird to identify a movement starting from the present and then going backwards? Documentary and avant-garde film grew up together, weaving in and out of each other's histories. Some countries encouraged this kind of experimentation; before the state went really nuts on censorship by the 30s, the Soviet Union was the place to be, and as many artists of the 1930s, especially those interested in nonfiction, would attest, Man with a Movie Camera was an earth-shattering game-changer in the same way Battleship Potemkin was for narrative fiction. There are, no doubt, different kinds of documentaries, but their style and/or isn't really what puts them into that category. It's pretty much just the notion that they're somehow negotiating with 'the real' in some form or fashion. Hell, Bill Nichols, one of the bigtime documentary scholars, doesn't even disinclude classical Hollywood fiction in his typology of documentary styles; they're still showing us something that happened, but the cultural paradigm is that we have to accept it as fantasy and performance rather than people acting insane. Anyway, not picking on you or anything, I just love talking about this stuff. It's incredible to see how little the discourse surrounding nonfiction has changed so little in 100 years; folks still use the term propaganda in same way, point out flaws in the reality of the frame as though that matters in absolute terms, and find themselves driven to take a stand on whether documentary should be one thing or the other instead of just seeing how diverse and beautiful it is in all its forms.

Kull the Conqueror
Apr 8, 2006



Cocoa Ninja posted:

I'm with Herzog that ultimately documentary is at its best when it takes the power of what we consider traditional fiction techniques to impart feeling, conflict and catharsis, rather than presuming DOCUMENTARY as a moving picture version of a NY Times editorial exposé.

Absolutely. Renov makes what almost sounds like a plea to the doc culture to stop being so stodgy about aesthetics:

Renov, Theorizing Documentary, P. 35 posted:

[T]he realm of filmic nonfiction is a continuum along which can be ranged work of great expressive variability—from that which attends little to the vehicle of expression (the not-so-distant apotheosis of cinema verité—surveillance technology—might serve as the limit case) to that which emphasizes the filtering of the represented object through the eye and mind of the artist.... [T]he ability to evoke emotional response or induce pleasure in the spectator by formal means, to generate lyric power through shadings of sound and image in a manner exclusive of verbalization, or to engage with the musical or poetic qualities of language itself must not be seen as mere distractions from the main event. Documentary culture is clearly the worse for such aesthetic straitjacketing.

Raxivace posted:

I guess my first question would be about what exactly you mean by "negotiating with 'the real'". I'm not directly familiar with Nichols off of the top of my head, but you mention his argument about not disincluding classical Hollywood fiction in documentary styles. Do you accept his argument, and if so to what extent? Does it merely include biographical films, like Ford's Young Mr. Lincoln? Is it extended to neorealist works that attempted to touch on "real" issues and living conditions through fictional narratives like Bicycle Thieves or that HBO show The Wire? Or what about one of the predecessors to the documentary's development, like Nanook of the North? In other words, how real is 'the real'?

I'm gonna fall back on some Renov again:

Renov, p. 25 posted:

Given the truth claim which persists within documentary discourse as a defining condition (‘what you see and hear is of the world’), the collapse of sign and historical referent is a matter of particular concern. Our attempts to ‘fix’ on celluloid what lies before the camera—ourselves or members of other cultures—are fragile if not altogether insincere efforts. Always issues of selection intrude…the results are indeed mediated, the result of multiple interventions that necessarily come between the cinematic sign (what we see on the screen) and its referent (what existed in the world).

That's a much more eloquent way of describing what I called the negotiation with the real. Documentary always, more accurately, involves a negotiation between truth and beauty, something that fiction works have less endemic incentive to indulge. Let's trying rolling with the word 'truth.' Nanook is 100% a documentary. We're not looking at natural depictions, "direct" portrayals, if you will. But Flaherty spent years getting to know Nanook intimately before he shot that film. For all its 'fabrication,' it's an undeniably truthful work, much more so than the thousands of repugnant, touristy ethnographies that would follow it in decades to come.

My point was a little muddled but in Nichols' typology of documentary 'modes,' classical Hollywood narrative, that is to say the style of fiction that we all know and accept as the standard, is something that documentary artists can access to evoke truth, and not absolute truth but the truth you can know intrinsically. Look at the triumphant Notes on Blindness from last year. Is it any less a documentary because all of its visual representations are fabricated? Does it matter when it's accompanied by the stark reality of Hull's confessions?

Similarly, Koyaanisqatsi or Berlin: Symphony of a City feature photography with no construction, no fiction. What about their assemblage denies them the qualification as documentary? The way they're edited? It seems no less a betrayal of reality than the way standard persuasive documentarians put together a narrative. Is it the orchestral scores, which drives the pictures? I just don't see why poetic documentary could be any less defined as nonfiction than, you know, Grey Gardens.

Kull the Conqueror
Apr 8, 2006



The Saddest Rhino posted:

What's the thread's view on The Look of Silence (done by the same people who did The Act of Killing)? There's a screening I'm meaning to go on Sunday https://www.facebook.com/events/445355628979601/ but I have conflicting plans on the day itself, and need to weigh my priorities.

It's a masterpiece. Seriously, go.

Kull the Conqueror
Apr 8, 2006



Cocoa Ninja posted:

Dude, it's even followed by Q&A with Joshua Oppenheimer!

Also, that. Hearing him speak made me hopeful for the future of docs. He is the real deal.

Kull the Conqueror
Apr 8, 2006



The Saddest Rhino posted:

One thing I was hoping someone asked was what subject matter he would address in future documentaries - it's clear that he and his crew will never be safe to return to Indonesia again, and because of how Killing was received by the Indonesian government the story he told through Killing and Silence was unique and could not be recreated again.

At a different talk here in town he was asked this, and he said he can't go into great detail because of the nature of the work he does, but he did say it was going to feel a lot closer to home in terms of subject matter. It's funny, when I got out of the Act of Killing the people I went with said, "It's like the Nazis still existed!" (which many others have repeated), as though the film were merely some classic example of exotic gazing on the tribal other, but all I could think was "We do this poo poo too." That's the point he's really making, that it's so easy to subconsciously ignore the horror around us. My guess is that it will have something to do with genocide of indigenous Americans.

Glad you got something out of it. More than anything else that scene where Adi and his family friend (?) make the same walk down towards the river that he saw in the video broke my brain, it was just so devastating.. That creative decision is what sets Oppenheimer apart from most filmmakers.

Kull the Conqueror
Apr 8, 2006



Maidan is on Netflix. Not sure how well it'll play on a smaller screen, but it's totally worth checking out, especially if you're into people-watching.

Kull the Conqueror
Apr 8, 2006



fatelvis posted:

Are there any good documentaries on the Unabomber that you guys know of? He seems like a dude there would be a few documentaries on, but I'm not really seeing much out there.

One of the better First Person episodes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BurUfcV0GR4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FiJ4aE2CarI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frVeN1kzL24

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Kull the Conqueror
Apr 8, 2006



SpitztheGreat posted:

If she did indeed drink that heavily while driving then her family is culpable in missing some pretty obvious signs.

Or just lying about what they knew, which is kind of the impression I got from that flick.

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