Part of the British ‘Free Cinema’ movement, which included Lindsay Anderson’s ‘Every Day Except Christmas’ (daily life at Covent Garden fruit/vegetable market) and ‘O Dreamland’ (a working-class trip to Margate amusements), and Reisz and Tony Richardson’s ‘Momma Don’t Allow’ (about a London jazz club) all made in the mid to late 1950s, before the three went on to direct features in the British ‘new wave’ social realist genre that drew from their experiences in Free Cinema.
From the first time he performed Swimming to Cambodia – the one-man account of his experience of making the 1984 film The Killing Fields – Spalding Gray made the art of the monologue his own. Drawing unstintingly on the most intimate aspects of his own life, his shows were vibrant, hilarious and moving. His death came tragically early, in 2004; this compilation of interview and performance footage nails his idiosyncratic and irreplaceable brilliance.
The U.S. vs. John Lennon (2006) David Leaf, John Scheinfeld, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Stew Albert, Documentary, Biography, Music
After background about the childhood and youth of John Lennon (1940-1980) and the birth of Vietnam-War protests, the film plunges into Lennon’s quest for world peace: compositions such as “Give Peace a Chance”, the lie-in following his marriage to Yoko Ono, appearances at concerts, “War Is Over” posters, and plans for a series of concerts in 1972 in U.S. presidential primary states reach newly-enfranchised young voters. This plan for concerts, in particular, led a prominent Senator, the FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover, and Nixon’s White House to initiate a concerted and illegal effort to deport Lennon. Thirty talking heads, led by Yoko, comment on Lennon and these events.
Scénario du film ‘Passion’ (1982) Jean-Luc Godard, Pierre Binggeli, Jean-Bernard Menoud, Documentary
Scénario du film Passion, Godard constructs a lyrical study of the cinematic and creative process by deconstructing the story of his 1982 film Passion. “I didn’t want to write the script,” he states, “I wanted to see it.” Positioning himself in a video editing suite in front of a white film screen that evokes for him the “famous blank page of Mallarmé,” Godard uses video as a sketchbook with which to reconceive the film. The result is a philosophical, often humorous rumination on the desire and labor that inform the conceptual and image making process of the cinema.
Director Jonas Mekas travels through New York nights, through apartments, studios, backstage rooms, galleries, bars, and clubs. Encountering old acquaintances like Ken and Flo Jacobs, Yoko Ono, friends, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters. Mr. Mekas begins the film with the words ‘I can’t sleep.’ Who hasn’t been in this situation? Sleepy and yet wide awake at the same time, you find yourself in the world of those exhausted from the day’s exertions, the drunk, the relaxed, the dancing, the brooding, the mourning, and the pensive.
Voci nel Tempo / Voices Through Time (1996) Franco Piavoli, Patrizio Girardi, Emanuela Cobelli, Laura Carnevali, Drama, Documentary
Nekam Achat Mishtey Eynay / Avenge But One of My Two Eyes (2005) Avi Mograbi, Shredi Jabarin, Documentary
Shot in the Occupied Territories by Israeli director Avi Mograbi, this controversial documentary film draws parallels between the Israeli – Palestinian situation today and the enduring myths of Samson and Masada. Mograbi offers a powerful, at times chilling, lament of the continuing cycles of violence rooted in the past and threatening to engulf everyone’s future. With the roots of so much real-world conflict left unexamined by today’s restless media, this film reminds us just how vital filmmakers like Avi Mograbi are. Documentary today is rarely immersed in questions of this magnitude – or tackles them with the level of eloquence shown here by Mograbi. An exceptional and challenging film.
McDonald’s loved using the UK libel laws to suppress criticism. Major media organisations like the BBC and The Guardian crumbled and apologised. But then they sued gardener Helen Steel and postman Dave Morris. In the longest trial in English legal history, the “McLibel Two” represented themselves against McDonald’s £10 million legal team. Every aspect of the corporation’s business was cross-examined: from junk food and McJobs, to animal cruelty, environmental damage and advertising to children. Outside the courtroom, Dave brought up his young son alone and Helen supported herself working nights in a bar. McDonald’s tried every trick in the book against them. Legal manoeuvres. A visit from Ronald McDonald. Top executives flying to London for secret settlement negotiations. Even spies. Seven years later, in February 2005, the marathon legal battle finally concluded at the European Court of Human Rights. And the result took everyone by surprise – especially the British Government.