All about the Documentary

Discussion in 'Whatever' started by ultrakaiju, Dec 1, 2011.

  1. ultrakaiju

    ultrakaiju Die-Cast Staff Member

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    All about the Documentary
    So let's talk docs. Apart from Japanese movies, it is the one type of film I watch most, and sometimes you might wonder which are more messed up - strike that, there is no question the docs take it every time.

    I was just reading this article about The United States of Documentaries put out by PBS' Point of View series, that lists top/hot docs by state. Some great films are included, though of course I always like to see a wider range than just movies from the US.

    I have mentioned a few already in other threads, but feel free to throw out some reviews and recommendations.
     
  2. coma21

    coma21 S7 Royalty

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    i will hit you back on docs ive seen and loved later but right now all i want to say is...
    Where is that MOTU doc at!!!! I need to see that Damn Documentary so bad!
     
  3. ---NT---

    ---NT--- Prototype

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    All about the Documentary
    A few off the top of my head:

    American Movie
    Dark Days
    King of Kong
    Koyaanisqatsi
    Powaqqatsi
    Roger & Me (most Moore docs are pretty entertaining, IMO)
    Grizzly Man (I actually thought it was terrible - but couldn't stop watching)

    I've watched some good ones on the food industry, and marijuana semi-recently but can't remember what they were called. Most of the docs I've watched lately have made me angry.
     
  4. psilo110

    psilo110 Post Pimp

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    I watch a lot of documentaries myself.

    The Mark of Cain wasn't bad. The film covers Russian prison tattoos. There is also some coverage of the condition in Russian prisons which I was less interested in. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0288114/

    I also watched Young Yakuza, about a kid who has nothing going on in life and joins a Yakuza crew. The film maker agreed not to document any illegal activity so its pretty much this kid cleaning the Yakuza office. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1024257/

    Mark of Cain is on Netflix, not sure about the other. I will check my collection when I go home and post more.
     
  5. BloodDrinker6969

    BloodDrinker6969 Die-Cast

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  6. ---NT---

    ---NT--- Prototype

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    Forgot about that one! Definitely a strange and interesting one.
     
  7. gazpacho

    gazpacho Comment King

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    recently watched paris is burning.

    that right there is a slice of life
     
  8. atease

    atease Super Deformed

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    I haven't seen this in a long time, I'm going to need to track this down. Amazing stuff.
     
  9. ---NT---

    ---NT--- Prototype

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  10. severen

    severen Addicted

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    Fire up Netflix, and watch "The Wild & Wonderful Whites of West Virginia".

    You're welcome.
     
  11. antknee

    antknee Toy Prince

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    I love Grizzly Man, especially the part where Herzog is talking about nature being disorder and chaos, while Treadwell was looking for order in it.

    Man On Wire is also great. I think it was Roger Ebert who said in his review that it actually has you on the edge of your seat, even though it's obvious the guy he made it.
     
  12. Dean

    Dean Prototype

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    Great little indie doc ... I bought the DVD on impulse and was not disappointed. What fascinated me about this documentary is that it feels more like a fictional feature film despite the fact that what you're seeing is a real Yakuza indoctrination. The group that agreed to let the documentarian film them felt that the project would help in a PR sense ... to help "normalize" Yakuza activities in the public mind. Another fascinating aspect is that there's one kid who chickens out of the recruitment and disappears, but towards the end of the film he re-appears despite alleged danger to his life. The viewer doesn't know what happens to him but is left to guess ... a bit of serendipity that the filmmaker couldn't have foreseen. Until now I kinda felt like the only person who's seen this movie so it's cool to see a recommendation here.

    Haven't seen "Paris is Burning" since its original release but remember being very impressed. That movie was a big deal here in San Francisco, right at the peak of the HIV activist movement.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the 3D version of Herzog's "Cave of Forgotten Dreams" ... a film that fully justified using the tech. However I'm told that it's just as good in 2D. I really want to see Herzog's newer doc "Into the Abyss" about a young condemned murderer whom Herzog interviewed not long before his execution. I've got a huge DVD set of his documentaries and short films going back to when he was 17 ... it's going to take awhile to get through all of them. I love some of the push-the-envelope things that the director has done with the form. For example "Lessons of Fire" is ostensibly about the effort to put out the oil well fires started by Saddam at the end of the first USA incursion into Iraq, but it's presented as sort of an alternate history science fiction movie. Herzog gets at the heart of "truth" in the film by distorting truth. But then, there's been a little bit of that in documentary ever since "Nanook of the North," which included staged scenes presented as objective documentary.
     
  13. Dean

    Dean Prototype

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    A few quick mentions...

    - Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. directed by the great Errol Morris. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0192335/ - Leuchter devised methods of making state executions a little more humane and dignified (by his reckoning anyway) but "distinguished" himself later in life by letting himself be used by a Canadian white supremacist in order to "prove" that the Auschwitz gassings didn't actually happen. He is thoroughly inept but doesn't realize it, and manages to deeply offend Jewish people (among others with respect for history.) Deep stuff, totally fascinating.

    - Prohibition by Ken Burns and crew. Yeah, the recent program televised on PBS. I'm a little burnt out on Burns' style, but in this case, he pulled off a slam dunk. Not a dull moment in a total of six hours. A historical doc that manages to be as entertaining as it is informative. Worth a rental if you didn't catch it.

    - Bill Cunningham New York http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1621444/- This one is pure fun, an intimate visit with the NYT's charmingly quirky fashion photographer, a guy with more talent than he seems to realize he has ... completely unpretentious against all odds, and loved by everyone who knows him. You'll understand why if you watch the film.

    - The Wild Blue Yonder http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0443693/ - Another super-quirky Herzog "documentary." He received access to a huge amount of NASA space mission footage which had never before been seen publicly, and mixed long excerpts of that with sequences of Brad Dourif as a seriously pissed off hippie alien who is furious that his race screwed things up so badly. Definitely not for everyone but I loved it for its balls-out weirdness as a concept.

    - The Architecture of Doom http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0098559/ - Nothing experimental here, this is a straightforward doc regarding the role of aesthetics during the Nazi era. Art and architecture were used powerfully to convey a sense of permanence and righteousness in the regime while at the same time, the avant-garde in the arts was labelled degraded and barbaric as part of the demonization of Blacks and Jews. Depressing but very interesting.

    - One Day in September http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0230591/ - Also dark but compelling, this film revisits the 1972 Munich Olympics at which a Palestinian terrorist group took Israeli athletes hostage. The Olympic Committee decided to let the games continue despite the crisis. The documentary allegedly inspired the Spielberg film "Munich."
     
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  14. psilo110

    psilo110 Post Pimp

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  15. deadboy

    deadboy Comment King

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    All about the Documentary
    big documentary fan
    off hand, here are some favorites
    Titicut Follies
    Harlan county USA
    American Movie
    Man on wire
    Capturing the Friedmans
    Restrepo

    still many more to see
     
  16. AladdinSane

    AladdinSane Addicted

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    I'll echo deadboy's recommendations.

    Restrepo
    Capturing the Friedmans
    Man on Wire

    All three are amazing.

    Also try:
    Dear Zachary (it's heartbreaking. Not the best made documentary but powerful)
    Marwencol
    Exit Through the Gift Shop
    Art of the Steal
    Waiting for Superman
    Knuckle
    Anvil

    If you like genre docs check out:
    Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation
    Machete Maidens Unleashed
    American Grindhouse
    Best Worst Movie
     
  17. michael

    michael Side Dealer

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    im with alladinsane and MARWENCOL- makes me feel weird and sad at the same time. filmed well too.
     
  18. Russblue11

    Russblue11 S7 Royalty

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    I really liked Anvil also. Recommending "The Devil and Daniel Johnston"
     
  19. bbb

    bbb Side Dealer

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    I was in Toronto two weeks ago and I bumped into Robb Reiner! He was just hanging out on the street, just like in the doc, basking in the glory of his fans. I'm pretty sure he signed a girls tits but I had to go at that point.
     
  20. Dean

    Dean Prototype

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    An old acquaintance from the punk days (Henry Rosenthal aka Hank Rank of Crime) produced that, but I still haven't seen it. :oops: Into the queue it goes!

    Let's not forget "The People vs. George Lucas." I think most board members would enjoy that one.
     
  21. bunnyboy

    bunnyboy Side Dealer

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    Brilliant recommendations as usual. Some other great docs that haven't been mentioned so far:


    Barbet Schroeder's General Idi Amin Dada - Autoportrait

    Broomfield's The Leader, his Driver and the Driver's Wife

    Herzog's Lessons in Darkness, Fata Morgana & The White Diamond

    The Maysles Bros.' Salesman

    George Ratliff's Hell House

    Julien Temple's The Filth and the Fury

    Kirby Dick's Twist of Faith & Sick - The Life and Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist
    (although I wouldn't recommend the latter if you have a weak stomach)

    Lixin Fan's Last Train Home

    Marcel Ophüls' The Sorrow and the Pity

    Toshiaki Toyoda's Unchain (not the best doc, but still intriguing & interesting, especially if you dig Toyoda of course)

    Steve James' Hoop Dreams

    And more of a documentary spoof, but very funny: Incident at Loch Ness
     
  22. toothaction

    toothaction Team Tsubu Staff Member

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    Some top shelf stuff off the top of my head. There are many more I'd like to spout about, but I'll start with these ---

    Hip to the Maysles brothers? Criterion makes it easy -
    Salesman - Bet you never thought you'd see an amazing film about the last legs of door-to-dooe bible sales, did ya?
    Gimmie Shelter - The first of it's kind, this movie is about way more than a day in the park.
    Grey Gardens - The other side of old money. Lauded, recently, and with good reason.
    - Take that, cinéma vérité!

    Like films about records?
    Let it Be - probably the best portrait of a relatively obscure band called The Beatles that I've had the pleasure of viewing.
    Sympathy for the Devil - Jean-Luc Godard's meandering portrait of the making of a song, with all manner of digression mixed in... a genre unto itself.

    Before he all but reinvented the so-called documentary's form with The Thin Blue Line, literally saving a life in the process, Errol Morris made two of the strangest, funniest and most deeply engaging filmed portraits I have ever seen -
    Gates of Heaven and
    Vernon, FL.
    - Unlike anything else.

    I like films about films.
    Heart of Darkness - an after the fact assemblage, documenting the making of Apocalypse Now. Made by Coppola's wife, and a far superior film to the one her hubby made in my opinion.
    Burden of Dreams - a film by Les Blank, shot while Werner Herzog was making Fitzcaraldo.

    Herzog deserves his own thread, but check out
    Lessons in Darkness - It's a sort of sequel to Fata Morgana that takes actual footage of the aftermath of a "popular" conflict and transforms it into an unparalleled SF parable of a dying planet.

    Just do yourself a favor and buy or steal the 13 disc collection WERNER HERZOG: Documentaries 1962 - 2005!

    Edit: Ha! I see someone was typing about a few of the same films while I was putting the above together. Awesome!
     
  23. gazpacho

    gazpacho Comment King

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    another one just occurred to me. everyone should do themselves a favor and watch kill your idols. even if you're not into post punk, its a cool look into an interesting time and place
     
  24. ribbon controller

    ribbon controller S7 Royalty

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    180 degrees south
     
  25. m3kcomp

    m3kcomp Side Dealer

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    A few not mentioned that hit hard me when I first saw them (these are bigguns, there's countless docs that I have loved over the years)...

    Brother's Keeper

    Thin Blue Line

    Crumb

    Marwencol is a pretty amazing doc...really wish I had seen it in the theater. A lot like Crumb, but without the fame and family.

    Also, have to re-mention Capturing the Friedmans...which I think changed the way people approach documentaries as much as dudes like Morris, Moore and the Maysles' did.

    documentaryheaven.com is a great site to see some interesting stuff...
     

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