Documentary

Umarla klasa / Dead Class (1977) Andrzej Wajda, Tadeusz Kantor, Maria Kantor, Zofia Kalinska, Documentary, Drama

Umarla klasa (1977)
The Dead Class (1975), by Tadeusz Kantor and the Cricot 2 company, is considered one of the most innovative and influential works of twentieth-century theatre. The breakthrough first version of the production – performed to great critical acclaim, but only rarely seen live by audiences outside Poland – was documented on film in 1976 by the Oscar-winning director Andrzej Wajda.

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Quiet Rage: The Stanford Prison Experiment (1992) Ken Musen, Documentary

Quiet Rage The Stanford Prison Experiment (1992)
In the summer of 1971, Philip Zimbardo, Craig Haney, and Curtis Banks carried out a psychological experiment to test a simple question. What happens when you put good people in an evil place-does humanity win over evil, or does evil triumph? To explore this question, college student volunteers were pretested and randomly assigned to play the role of prisoner or guard in a simulated prison at Stanford University. Although the students were mentally healthy and knew they were taking part in an experiment, some guards soon because sadistic and the prisoners showed signs of acute stress and depression. After only six days, the planned two-week study spun out of control and had to be ended to prevent further abuse of the prisoners. This dramatic demonstration of the power of social situations is relevant to many institutional settings, such as the Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq.

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Smejdi / Crooks (2013) Silvie Dymáková, Roman Vanek, Ondrej Vetchý, Documentary

Smejdi AKA Crooks (2013)
Silvie Dymáková’s raw documentary uncovers the manipulation, humiliation and pressure that exist behind the closed doors of “product demonstration excursions for seniors” in the Czech Republic. The sad heroes of her film show us the non-functional saucepans, unused vacuum cleaners, “wool” blankets and bio-lamps they bought during such excursions for tens or even hundreds of thousands of crowns… and that is the best-case scenario. In exchange for their ID cards, confiscated by sellers, many have signed loan contracts. Despite their shocking experiences, the elderly repeatedly take part in these events in a bid to escape their loneliness or because they can’t say no to the offers. Dymáková succeeded in smuggling a hidden camera into product presentations and, with a psychologist and a lawyer, analyzed the high-pressure methods employed. Even while being completed, her documentary sparked a deserved uproar when it became clear that dozens of Czech firms were abusing seniors’ …

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Yuki Yukite shingun / The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On (1987) Kazuo Hara, Kenzo Okuzaki, Riichi Aikawa, Masaichi Hamaguchi, Documentary, War

Yuki Yukite shingun AKA The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On (1987)
The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On is a brilliant exploration of memory and war guilt, a subject often ignored in modern Japan. In this controversial documentary, Kazuo Hara follows Kenzo Okuzaki in his real-life struggle against Emperor Hirohito. He proudly declares that he shot BBs at the Royal Palace, distributed pornographic images of the Emperor, and once killed a man for the sake of his strange crusade. As the film progresses, Okuzaki reveals a gruesome mystery: why were some Japanese officers killing their own soldiers during WWII? What happened to their bodies? Okuzaki begs, cajoles, and occasionally beats the story out of elderly veterans. When these old men do break down and talk, their testimonies are some of the most chilling, riveting descriptions of wartime desperation ever committed to film. In his desire to unearth these horrors, Okuzaki’s behavior grows increasingly extreme and bizarre. By the film’s end, Hara seems to ask whether the terrible nature of this buried incident is worth the violence of Okuzaki’s methods.

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Myrna Loy: So Nice To Come Home (1991) Richard Schickel, G. Larry Butler, Henry Fonda, Clark Gable, Documentary

Myrna Loy - So Nice To Come Home (1991)
This tribute to Myrna Loy is organized chronologically with a few photographs, many film clips, a handful of personal appearances, and a detailed commentary delivered on camera by Kathleen Turner. Turner walks us through Loy’s career as a dancer and an actress miscast as an exotic. She comes into her own as a grown-up women: shrewd, funny, decorous, and sexy – in “Manhattan Melodrama” and “The Thin Man.” Her volunteer work during World War II, later stage work, and progressive politics come in for admiration as well. It’s her style – seen best in her roles as a wife of charm and independence – that’s captured and celebrated here.

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