Documentary

Abbas Kiarostami: A Report (2013) Bahman Maghsoudlou, Kurosh Afsharpanah, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Godfrey Cheshire, Documentary, History

Abbas Kiarostami A Report (2013)
An analysis of the style and vision of Abbas Kiarostami, the world’s most iconic Iranian filmmaker, through the lens of his earliest work, including his first short film (Bread & Alley, 1970) and, particularly, his first feature, The Report. This early example of Kiarostami’s work gives insight into his poetic, humanistic tendencies, combining allegorical storytelling with a documentary, neo-realist sensibility, and often exploring the very nature of film as fiction, that have pervaded his work ever since, including such recent international sensations as A Taste of Cherry and Certified Copy. Exclusive interviews with film critics, historians and scholars (including the late great Andrew Sarris) and those directly involved in the making of The Report provide a look at how the career of this master independent auteur began and was shaped.
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Die Gebrüder Skladanowsky / A Trick of the Light (1995) Wim Wenders, Stefan Barber, Wiebke Bayer, Nadine Büttner, Biography, Drama, Documentary

A Trick of the Light (1995)
A rare gem of cinematic storytelling that weaves docudrama, fictional reenactment, and experimental photography into a powerful, reflective work on the early days of German cinema. The film tells the story of the Skladanowsky Brothers, the German-born duo responsible for inventing the “bioskop”, an early version of the film projector.
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Tokyo-Ga (1985) Wim Wenders, Chishû Ryû, Werner Herzog, Yûharu Atsuta, Documentary

TOKYO-GA, Spanish poster art, 1985, ©Gray City

TOKYO-GA, Spanish poster art, 1985, ©Gray City

Taking a breather from the Paris, Texas shooting, Wim Wenders hopped a plane, camera in hand, to look for the Tokyo enshrined by the late Yasujiro Ozu (whose work Wenders dubs “the sacred treasure of the cinema”). What he found instead, documented in this filmic journal, was an urbanized dislocation not far from the forlorn emptiness he coached out of German and American vistas. Whether abstracting businessmen teeing off atop skyscrapers or the rigorous, artisanal craft of building a wax sandwich display, Wenders scrambles for humanity seeping through neon and steel – a humanity linked, inevitably, to the old Japan of Ozu’s films (rebellious tykes, cherry blossoms, tranquil countrysides). A far less queasy piece of hero-worship than Lightning Over Water, the picture meditates not so much on Ozu the filmmaker than on Ozu the vanishing feeling, motifs and images reconsidered in a modernized Japan circa 1983 (the trains that fill the Japanese master’s pictures with notions of inexorable movement have now become bullet expresses, gliding with smooth, ominous impersonality). Elsewhere, Wenders bumps into Werner Herzog (who bitches about having to space-travel to find pure images nowadays), Chris Marker (whose Sans Soleil would make a superb double-bill with Tokyo-Ga) and two aged Ozu stalwarts, gracious, dignified leading man Chishu Ryu and anecdotal camera operator Yuuharu Atsuta. Wenders’ eulogy for a culture alienating its own roots is built, characteristically, upon cinema’s capacity for regenerative beauty, though his links to Ozu are, if anything, more tenuous than his affinity with Nicholas Ray – Ozu’s images distill life, Wenders’ etherealize it. Cinematography by Edward Lachman.
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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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Verbotene Filme / Forbidden Films (2014) Felix Moeller, Götz Aly, Stefan Drössler, Jörg Jannings, Documentary

Forbidden Films (2014)
1,200 feature films were made in Germany’s Third Reich. According to experts, some 100 of these were blatant Nazi propaganda. Nearly seventy years after the end of the Nazi regime, more than 40 of these films remain under lock and key. Director Felix Moeller (Harlan: In the Shadow of Jew Süss) interviews German film historians, archivists and filmgoers in an investigation of the power, and potential danger, of cinema when used for ideological purposes. Utilizing clips from the films and recorded discussions from public screenings (permitted in Germany in educational contexts) in Munich, Berlin, Paris and Jerusalem, Moeller shows how contentious these 70-year-old films remain, and how propaganda can retain its punch when presented to audiences susceptible to manipulation.
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Saint Misbehavin’: The Wavy Gravy Movie (2009) Michelle Esrick, Larry Brilliant, Hugh Romney, Documentary

Saint Misbehavin The Wavy Gravy Movie (2009)
Wavy Gravy is known as the MC of the Woodstock festival, a hippie icon, activist, clown, and even a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor. In SAINT MISBEHAVIN’ we meet a true servant to humanity who carries his message through humor, compassion and a song he wrote called “Basic Human Needs”. SAINT MISBEHAVIN’ weaves together intimate vérité footage, reflections from an array of cultural and counter-cultural peers, and a rich collection of never-before-seen archival footage to tell a story that is bigger than the man himself.
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Disinformation: The Secret Strategy to Destroy the West (2013) Stan Moore, John Gray, David Kupelian, Ion Mihai Pacepa, Documentary, History, News

The Secret Strategy to Destroy the West (2013)
WND Films and Emmy-winning filmmaker Stan Moore present a riveting new feature-length film documentary, “Disinformation: The Secret Strategy to Destroy the West.” It’s the amazing true story of a top Soviet bloc spy chief who, at great risk, left the “dark side” to shine a light on the greatest source of political evil in today’s world. Living in the U.S. under a protected identity due to assassination threats, Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa reveals the secret strategies that, to this day, are undermining and destroying Western civilization. The documentary includes rare interviews, dramatic footage and high-level insider information.
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