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Author Topic: Favourite Documentaries
Granola Girl
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posted 11 July 2005 06:44 PM      Profile for Granola Girl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I just rented Control Room the other night and it got me thinking about documentaries as a genre, how little attention they sometimes get as artistic / creative works and how much more accesable as a medium they are than books - making them an imporatant medium for creating political awareness.

Here's a list of my favourite documentaries (this week, at least - fickle creature that I am):

- Control Room (About Al-jazeera, kind of the Arab world's CNN and its coverage of the Iraq invasion. Truly brilliant. Plus female directed, which I always look for, but, sadly, rarely find.)
- Farenheit 9/11 (despite Moore's grandstanding)
- Manufacturing Consent
- The Corporation (must see!)
- Supersize Me
- Through a Blue Lens
(About drug addiction in Vancouver - produced by the police, but surprisingly humane)
- Filthy Lucre (about the Sex Pistols)

On the list to see (are these any good?):
- Fix: Story of an addicted city
- Outfoxed
- The Fog of War
- SPIT - Squeegee Punks in Traffic

Reccomendations? Reviews?


From: East Van | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
The Hegemo
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posted 11 July 2005 08:33 PM      Profile for The Hegemo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I like many of the ones GG has already mentioned. Some other favorites of mine:

Roger and Me -- Michael Moore's first film (and still my favorite) about economic dislocation in Flint after GM closed their plants in the area
Hoop Dreams -- follows two high school basketball players in inner city Chicago over four years. Goes far beyond sports, though, to produce a really compelling look at American society in the 1980s
Welfare -- Cinema Verite film covers events at a New York City Welfare Office in 1973. Seems like it would be boring, but provides lots of compelling little human dramas within the bureaucracy.
Brother's Keeper -- about a group of reclusive, probably developmentally-delayed brothers living on a farm in rural Upstate New York, and what happens when one of them dies and one of the others is charged with his murder
American Dream -- About a disastrous strike by a UFCW local at a Hormel meat packing plant in Minnesota. Along with "Roger & Me," one of the really great documentaries about the economic struggles of the 1980s in the U.S.
Harlan County USA -- Classic about a bloody coal miners strike in Eastern Kentucky in the early 70s
Dogtown and the Z-Boys -- Unlike the others, not really political at all. Documents the history of skateboarding through the legendary Zephyr Skate Team from Venice, CA.
Capturing the Friedmans -- About a family on Long Island whose lives were destroyed by accusations of child molestation. Really difficult to watch, but stays with you for a long time afterwards.

I just watched Gunner Palace, a soldier's eye view of the war in Iraq, on the weekend. It wasn't a great film -- the editing in particular left a lot to be desired -- but interesting watching nonetheless.

(is that better, Hailey? )

[ 12 July 2005: Message edited by: The Hegemo ]


From: The Persistent Vegetative States of America | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
periyar
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posted 11 July 2005 08:34 PM      Profile for periyar   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Here is a review of fog of war-
here

One of my favourite documentaries is Narmada- A Valley Rises
here

One I have been wanting to see for ages is Father, Son and Unholy War. It's a indepth analysis of hindu fundamentalism. I've never been able to find it. Does anyone know of any video stores in toronto with a good documentary section?

review

I also wanted to add Latcho Drom, an unforgettable film. I believe it's a documentary although it doesn't at all seem like one. It tells the story of the roma communities in south asia, middle east, north africa and europe. Their experiences are relayed not through dialogue, but music and dance.

more here

[ 11 July 2005: Message edited by: periyar ]


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Sisyphus
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posted 11 July 2005 09:19 PM      Profile for Sisyphus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The Fog of War is excellent! Get the DVD as some of the outtake footage is fantastic. Macnamara is a great character study, the quintessential technocrat and personifies what Ralsaton Saul was getting at in Voltaire's Bastards. Interesting tidbit: contrary to popular progressive opinion, he feels that if he is a war criminal, it is because of his actions against the japanese, rather than those directed against the Vietnamese.

Outfoxed is also great.

I also thought Life and Debt, Standing in the Shadows of Motown and The Atomic Cafe were all excellent.


From: Never Never Land | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Hawkins
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posted 12 July 2005 12:14 AM      Profile for Hawkins     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
All the documentaries I know are from the past 2 years (was never an avid movie watcher before then and I still don't rent movies, I just have the Bytowne to go see movies and the Passionate Eye/TVO).

Hardwood was a fairly short doc about an interracial kid who was the son of globetrotter who had another marriage after the film maker with his wife. A touching story, which some good paternal leasons.

The Take, Avi Lewis and Naomi Klein's documentary about the expropriation-cooperative movement in the post economic collapse of Argentina. At the onset it is made clear that the documentary is about showing a good alternative to global capitalism, supposedly something the "left" hasn't been doing. I really enjoyed it - saw it in theatres and twice on the Passionate Eye.

The Power of Nightmares. Wonderful BBC documentary about the rise of militant Islam and neo Conservatives. It draws the parallels of how both were reacting to liberal American culture and how they have played off of each other, using the other ideology to gain advantages. It makes it fairly shocking clear that they are the same thing. And that they only differ on the dressings of their message. Both manipulate their respective public using fear and illusions to drive their ideological goals. A must see in the modern climate.


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Suzette
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posted 12 July 2005 01:43 AM      Profile for Suzette     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Ken Burns is a name known to many babblers, I'm sure. He makes really beautiful, engaging and thoughtful documentary films that unfold at a leisurely and digestible pace. He managed to make a topic as alien as the American Civil War compelling viewing for Australians -- no mean feat.
From: Pig City | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
Tommy Shanks
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posted 12 July 2005 10:50 AM      Profile for Tommy Shanks     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Ones I like:

The Sorrow and the Pity
Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr.
Any of the "7-up" series
The Times of Harvey Milk
Hoop Dreams


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WingNut
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posted 12 July 2005 10:58 AM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Have a look around for Darwin's Nightmare.

http://www.coop99.at/darwins-nightmare/


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N.Beltov
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posted 12 July 2005 11:07 AM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The first is sometimes one of the best. Think of Cervantes' Don Quixote in the history of literature and the novel. I was really impressed with Fred Engels' documentary The Conditions of the Working Class In England. Published in 1845 it may very well be the first documentary. No film version available yet.
From: Vancouver Island | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
RP.
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posted 12 July 2005 11:11 AM      Profile for RP.     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Just rented Word Wars, a documentary on Scrabble tournament players. Very entertaining!

Is it just me, or did everyone see the documentary on the Weather Underground when it was on Newsworld this spring? Just about everyone I know was channel skipping at the time, and came across it unexpectedly.


From: I seem to be having tremendous difficulty with my lifestyle | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged
Crippled_Newsie
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posted 12 July 2005 11:26 AM      Profile for Crippled_Newsie     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Oldies but goodies:

Murrow's Harvest of Shame

Emile de Antonio's
Point of Order


From: It's all about the thumpa thumpa. | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Hailey
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posted 12 July 2005 11:46 AM      Profile for Hailey     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Nobody's allowed to answer unless they say what it's about!
From: candyland | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
Hephaestion
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posted 12 July 2005 11:54 AM      Profile for Hephaestion   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
This is Spinal Tap


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Nikita
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posted 12 July 2005 12:32 PM      Profile for Nikita     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Heh heh the first time I watched Fubar I thought it was serious when the guy died and my friend still makes fun of me for it.

edit: links are fun

[ 12 July 2005: Message edited by: Nikita ]


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Sisyphus
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posted 12 July 2005 01:07 PM      Profile for Sisyphus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Life and Debt

Standing in the Shadows of Motown

Atomic Cafe

From a civil defense film included in the latter documentary on equipping your fallout shelter:

quote:
Be sure to include tranquilizers to ease the strain and monotony of life in a fallout shelter. A bottle of 100 should be sufficient for a family of four. Tranquilizers are not a narcotic, and are not habit-forming.

[ 12 July 2005: Message edited by: Sisyphus ]


From: Never Never Land | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
markhoffchaney
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posted 12 July 2005 02:30 PM      Profile for markhoffchaney     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
"Hearts and Minds," about Vietnam, it I think, won an oscar in 1972 or 1973, oddly, still very relevant.

"Hearts of Darkness" the making of Apocolypse
Now.

and of course, "Bob Roberts"


From: winnipeg | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Vansterdam Kid
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posted 12 July 2005 08:32 PM      Profile for Vansterdam Kid   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
'The revolution will not be televised' is pretty good. Usually international/foreign politics aren't my favourite field, nonethless, this was a very compelling documentary that strongly highlighted the role of private media holdings, amongst other things, in the 2002 coup of Hugo Chavez.

The Fifth Estate's 'Sticks and Stones' was pretty good as well. I think there are few threads on babble about it, but you can watch the entire documentary online if you wish. It's a good outline of the rather crude level that political discussion has gotten to in the United States.


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bittersweet
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posted 12 July 2005 10:43 PM      Profile for bittersweet     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
American Movie. A young man tries to maintain seemingly boundless enthusiasm despite a soul-destroying background in the burbs and every burden under the sun absurdly arrayed against him - from his own demons to the IRS to his cemetery cleaning job to his cheapskate Uncle Bill giving up after take 35 to an associate who's in jail, etc., etc. He sets about to make a short horror flick called "Coven"...in order to make money to make his feature horror flick, called "Northwestern." He's helped out with the eerie soundtrack by his best friend, a guitar-playing sweetheart who's done WAY too many drugs but knows at least one Bach tune. It's hysterical, a guilty-pleasure of a train wreck, and poignant at the same time. You really, really hope the guy makes his movie.
From: land of the midnight lotus | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Willowdale Wizard
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posted 13 July 2005 06:57 AM      Profile for Willowdale Wizard   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
it's elementary was a great little film on promoting tolerance of gays and lesbians among primary school children.
From: england (hometown of toronto) | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged
bittersweet
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posted 13 July 2005 10:18 AM      Profile for bittersweet     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
A terrific double bill would be Etre et Avoir by Nicolas Philibert - about a dedicated teacher and his relationships with kids in a one-room country French schoolhouse, and Spellbound - about the National Spelling Bee competition in the U.S. Both movies full of delightful characters; the first meditative, the second nail-biting.
From: land of the midnight lotus | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
fern hill
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posted 13 July 2005 10:59 AM      Profile for fern hill        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Hotel Terminus by Marcel Ophuls was on PBS some years ago in 2-hour chunks (I think it's 8 hours in total). It wasn't on all that late, but I had a huge job on the go and needed to sleep. I kept saying, 'I'll just watch one more', then one more, one more, until I watched the whole thing.

'Favourite' is not a word I'd use on it. Rivetting, certainly. It's almost all talking heads. Ophuls interviews person after person who was involved in the German occupation of Lyons under Klaus Barbie. Every interview was wrenching in its sorrow, exhilarating in its heroism, or fascinating in its prevarication if not downright lying.


From: away | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged
notright
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posted 13 July 2005 01:07 PM      Profile for notright        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Children Underground: Romanian Street Kids, A bit shocking, sad

Rebels with a Cause: SDS in the '60's, informative

The Weather Underground: Splintered from the SDS, reminds me of some CFS staff I have met

Blue Vinyl: Make you think twice about vinyl siding for your home, that is if the tackyness already did not

Overnight: Must see, Troy Duffy's face should be in the dictionary under arsehole

The Filth and the Fury: Sex Pistols, enough said


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Granola Girl
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posted 13 July 2005 01:57 PM      Profile for Granola Girl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
The first is sometimes one of the best. Think of Cervantes' Don Quixote in the history of literature and the novel. I was really impressed with Fred Engels' documentary The Conditions of the Working Class In England. Published in 1845 it may very well be the first documentary. No film version available yet.

Ooops, I guess I should have specified films!

I think my to-see list has just expanded exponentially.

I also just remebered one of my more lighthearted favourites: Trekkies - an in depth look at the fan culture surrounding Star Trek. Those people are scary!


From: East Van | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
UrsaMinor
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posted 13 July 2005 04:02 PM      Profile for UrsaMinor     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Every Canadian should watch Rocks at Wiskey Trench

http://www.nfb.ca/launchers/?id=45

By

Alanis Obomsawin

http://www.sensesofcinema.com/contents/directors/02/obomsawin.html


From: Canada | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mudd
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posted 14 July 2005 07:08 PM      Profile for Mudd     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Bowling for Columbine (still Moore's best)

Trekkies (good one, Granola Girl)


From: On-Scary-Oh | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged
catje
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posted 16 July 2005 04:21 AM      Profile for catje     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
a belated reply-

Fix was amazing.


From: lotusland | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged

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