Documentary

That’s Sexploitation! (2013) Frank Henenlotter, Albert Cadabra, Gal Friday, David F. Friedman, Documentary, Erotic

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Before the advent of modern-day pornography, a vast and rapidly-paced world of smut peddling was the norm, complete with its own secret history. This documentary reveals the untold story of American cinema’s gloriously sordid cinematic past. Starting in the 1920s, expert exploiteer David F. Friedman and Henenlotter navigate us through more than five salacious decades of skin flicks. It’s the true story of dirty movies, traced in elegant detail from the bizarre locations where these nudie shorts were screened to the ongoing legal battles fought by their promoters. And of course there are the stories of the innovators themselves, people who often risked their own security and livelihood to make these films, believing in some way that what they were doing wasn’t a ‘bad’ thing – and that it could rake in some dough.

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Scenery / Pung-gyeong (2013) Lu Zhang, Documentary

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The film asks fourteen foreigners who had left their hometown and came to Korea, “Which dream remains in your memory the most in Korea?” They visit their hometown, dance with loved ones, and meet their lost families in their dreams. How would the scenery of Korea reflect in their dreams?

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Venus Boyz (2002) Gabrielle Baur, Diane Torr, Dréd Gerestant, Del La Grace Volcano, Documentary

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A film journey through a universe of female masculinity. A legendary Drag King Night in New York is the point of departure for an odyssey to transgendered worlds, where women become men – some for a night, others for their whole lives. What motivates them? What changes take place? What do they dream of? The drag kings of New York meet in clubs and change lustfully into their male alter egos, parodying them and exploring male eroticism and power strategies. In London we see women experiment with hormones to become new men and ‘cyborgs’. Masculinity and transformation as performance, subversion or existential necessity.

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Katka (2010) Helena Trestíková, Documentary, Biography, Drama

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Helena Trestikova is the author of 10 episodes from the series Women on the Brink of the New Millennium, intimate portraits of both successful women and women on the social periphery. The tragic story of a girl named Katka who believes that joy and happiness can be applied through a hypodermic needle. All she is left with is despair. We first meet Katka at a rehab clinic in Nemcice, still full of optimism and faith in a drug-free future. The film tries to draw attention to the drug problem from a somewhat different point of view.

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Walden / Diaries Notes and Sketches (1969) Jonas Mekas, Timothy Leary, Ed Emshwiller, Franz Fuenstler, Documentary

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Jonas Mekas, the godfather of American “underground” cinema, shot literally miles of impromptu film on a tiny, touch-and-go Bolex camera before assembling his first “diary film” and screening it before an audience of friends and fellow indie artists in 1969. At that point the home-movie ethos was somewhat less than groundbreaking, but a glance at what Mekas’s contemporaries were working on or releasing at the time—Kenneth Anger was ensconced in off-and-on production for Lucifer Rising, Stan Brakhage was toiling on the 8mm Songs cycle, and Paul Morrissey had just morphed the Warhol aesthetic into the zeitgeist-preaching Flesh—suggests just how perpendicular his project stood in relation to the remainder of the bicoastal art-house scene. Mekas, as a distributor and critic in the ‘60s, had praised and promoted films both archetypically absurd (Anger’s Scorpio Rising) and angularly as well as legally shocking (Jack Smith’s Flaming Creatures); perhaps this is why the program notes prepared for the first showing of Diaries, Notes and Sketches, also known as Walden contained an uncharacteristically humble and ambivalent letter from the director of the evening’s presentation. “You are going to see maybe two, maybe three, maybe four reels, from the total of six,” it read. “It will depend on your patience, on your interest.”

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Tchoupitoulas (2012) Bill Ross IV, Turner Ross, William Zanders, Bryan Zanders, Kentrell Zandrs, Documentary

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Bill and Turner Ross’s Tchoupitoulas begins with wistful narration from its young protagonist, an impoverished African-American boy with a distinctly Southern drawl detailing a dream he’s recently had: “I don’t really have dreams,” he says, “but last night I did. It was actually a close-up of my future—like a flashback, except a flashing future. I was dreaming I seen me in the NFL, and I was playing for the New York Giants.” Right away, the similarities between this doc-fiction hybrid and Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild are evident, which makes sense considering both films are products of Court 13, a so-called “independent filmmaking army” made up of a group of ex-New Yorkers who moved to New Orleans in hopes of fostering a grassroots film community. But thanks to its decidedly less sensationalistic point of view, Tchoupitoulas proves the perfect antidote to the twee affectations of Zeitlin’s feature.

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Agenda: Grinding America Down (2010) Curtis Bowers, Documentary

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When Idaho Legislator Curtis Bowers wrote a “letter to the editor” about the drastic changes in America’s culture, it became the feature story on the evening news, people protested at the Capitol, and for weeks the local newspapers were filled with responses. He realized then… he’d hit on something. Ask almost anyone and you’ll hear, “Communism is dead! The Berlin Wall came down.” Thought the word communism isn’t used anymore, this film will show the ideas behind it are alive and well. Join Bowers for a fascinating look at the people and groups that have successfully targeted America’s morality and freedom in their effort to grind America down. It’s a well documented AGENDA.

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