Documentary

Stop Making Sense (1984) Jonathan Demme, David Byrne, Bernie Worrell, Alex Weir, Documentary, Music

Stop Making Sense (1984)
David Byrne walks onto the stage and does a solo “Psycho Killer.” Jerry Harrison, Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz join him for two more songs. The crew is busy, still setting up. Then, three more musicians and two back-up singers join the band. Everybody sings, plays, harmonizes, dances, and runs. They change instruments and clothes. Bryne appears in the Big Suit. The backdrop is often black, but sometimes it displays words, images, or children’s drawings. The band cooks for 18 songs, the lyrics are clear, the house rocks. In this concert film, the Talking Heads hardly talk, don’t stop, and always make sense.
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Muhammad ALI – Through the Eyes of the World (2001) Phil Grabsky, Billy Crystal, Richard Harris, James Earl Jones, Documentary, Biography

Muhammad ALI - Through the Eyes of the World (2001)
Muhammad Ali’s grace, charisma, and remarkable bravado shine through in this affectionate look at his life and career. Muhammad Ali († 03 Jun 2016): Through the Eyes of the World takes a fairly straightforward documentary approach, chronicling Ali’s life and career through film footage and interviews with journalists, loved ones, and a few bizarre commentators, like Scottish comedian Billy Connolly. The film does an excellent job of conveying both Ali’s genuine importance as a historical figure and his incredible personal magnetism. Though the documentary doesn’t shy away from his faults, Ali is simply impossible to dislike. Most importantly, the film’s commentary and carefully selected fight footage make it clear even to those who don’t follow the sport what a remarkable boxer Ali was. At one point, Lennox Lewis refers to the “sweet science” of not getting hit, and watching Ali dodge a barrage of punches, we understand exactly what he means. Muhammad Ali: Through the Eyes of the World doesn’t pack quite the dramatic wallop of When We Were Kings, but it is a compelling look at one of history’s greatest athletes.
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Kinoglaz / Kino Eye (1924) Dziga Vertov, Documentary

Kino Eye (1924)
This documentary promoting the joys of life in a Soviet village centers around the activities of the Young Pioneers. These children are constantly busy, pasting propaganda posters on walls, distributing hand bills, exhorting all to “buy from the cooperative” as opposed to the Public Sector, promoting temperance, and helping poor widows. Experimental portions of the film, projected in reverse, feature the un-slaughtering of a bull and the un-baking of bread.
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Combat Diary: The Marines of Lima Company (2006) Michael Epstein, Documentary

Combat Diary The Marines of Lima Company (2006)
Everyone nods and agrees that war is brutal; rarely is that brutality glimpsed as vividly as in Combat Diary – The Marines of Lima Company. During their 2005 tour of duty in Iraq, Lima Company–a unit of Marines, all from Ohio–lost 23 men on the front lines. Combat Diary combines footage shot by the Marines themselves with home digital cameras and interviews with many of the surviving soldiers and parents and wives of men who died. The soldier’s footage ranges from bored hijinks to actual firefights, including a troubling, surreal scene of men in full gear with rifles ready patrolling through a crowded Iraqi bazaar. In frank, uncensored language, the men describe how excitement turns to terror and misery, how their friends were shot or set on fire; but even before these jolting stories are told, the price of war can be heard in their voices and seen in their faces. This, combined with interviews with a mother who’s kept an answering machine message from her dead son and with a wife who was pregnant with her second child when she learned her husband had been killed, creates a potent documentary. Combat Duty makes no political statements; conservatives and liberals can read their own messages into the movie’s stark, simple remembrances. But every American should watch Combat Diary and see, in the eyes of these men, what happens on the ground when a nation decides to go to war.
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Chelovek s kino-apparatom / Man with a Movie Camera (1929) Dziga Vertov, Mikhail Kaufman, Documentary

Man with a Movie Camera (1929)
Soviet director Dziga Vertov’s experimental film grew out of his belief, shared by his editor, Elizaveta Svilova (who was also his wife), and his cinematographer, Mikhail Kaufman (also his brother), that the true goal of cinema should be to present life as it is lived. To that end, the filmmakers offer a day-in-the-life portrait of a city from dawn until dusk, though they actually shot their footage in several cities, including Moscow, Kiev, and Odessa. After an opening statement, there are no words in the film (neither voice-over nor titles), just dazzling imagery, kinetically edited – as a celebration of the modern city with a marked emphasis on its buildings and machinery. The Image Entertainment DVD edition of the film offers a musical score composed from notes left by the director, which adds greatly to the impact of the film.
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Kommunalka (2008) Françoise Huguier, Mano Siri, Documentary

Kommunalka (2008)
In Saint Petersburg in Russia, there still exists communal apartments, vestiges of the Soviet system. People from all backgrounds and social classes are gathered together here, due to circumstance. They form a cross-section of Russian society grouped together in the same place. Kommunalka is a-slice-of-life portrait of a communal apartment in Sovetskaya Street.
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