Documentaries

Can director David Thorpe sound less gay? Should he even try? Let's ask the experts. ... Is the gay accent – identifier for the queer community, cheap fodder for comedians, often a secret shame of growing up a little bit different – learnt or inherited? ... Newly single and pushing the big 4-0, Thorpe takes the first-person documentary approach to examining his own lilting lisp, consulting linguis... Read more
"The world of reality television wouldn't exist without Frederick Wiseman's lingering examinations of fragments of society. And those who've grown up watching such programs should look at this film to see what it's like to investigate a scene without being rushed. Wiseman's relaxed detachment is integral to the way the stories unfold in Domestic Violence. Ten minutes into the film you'll be white-... Read more
"The world of reality television wouldn't exist without Frederick Wiseman's lingering examinations of fragments of society. And those who've grown up watching such programs should look at this film to see what it's like to investigate a scene without being rushed. Wiseman's relaxed detachment is integral to the way the stories unfold in Domestic Violence.Ten minutes into the film you'll be white-k... Read more
For the past 35 years, Frederick Wiseman has meticulously documented a unique and penetrating view of American social relations and the institutions that try to mediate them. In Domestic Violence, also screening this year at MIFF, he turned his perceptive eye on police responses to brutal abuse calls and women and children being counselled at a shelter. The follow-up, Domestic Violence 2, concentr... Read more
"Unusual, perceptive, slightly off-beat… [a] sensitive piece of documentary film-making … thanks to Jerzy Sladkowski's kind camera and Oleg's generosity and shy, open heart." – Screen Daily ... At 22, Oleg should be entering the prime of his life. Instead he's a work-shy, borderline recluse hemmed in on one side by the intense social anxieties produced by his autism, and on the other by his ty... Read more
"Openhearted and surprisingly funny … Frank is delightful company, as emotionally transparent and offhandedly insightful in person as he is as his art." – Slant ... An artist always one step ahead of the zeitgeist, New York photographer and filmmaker Robert Frank has until now remained deliberately in the shadows. Directed by long-time editor and friend Laura Israel, Don't Blink: Robert Frank is a... Read more
Few filmmakers have generated as great a body of lurid gossip, myth and speculation as Donald Cammell. He was the creator and driving force behind Performance, one of fhe most startling and innovative British cult classics. The film starred Mick Jagger and James Fox and is a psychedelic document of wild times and, in many ways, the closest thing to a biography of Cammell. ... The director is reput... Read more
... ... In December 1985 two Nevada teenagers car­ried out a suicide pact in the playground of a local church. Ray Belknap succeeded in blow­ing his brains out, but James Vance survived with most of his face blown off, only to die three years later. The cause of death was given as Heavy Metal music and the band Judas Priest was eventually brought to trial in Reno for inciting teenage suicide throu... Read more
The all-singing, all-dancing, Takarazuka Revue is one of Japan's foremost musical extravaganzas, with lascivious sets, classically romantic Broadway style shows and an all female cast. The stars of the show, the young women chosen to play the 'male' leads, attain the status of pop icons with thousands of fanatical fans showering them with gifts and acclaim. Even with two shows a day every day of t... Read more
"By the end of Kim Longinotto's harrowing Dreamcatcher, I could barely catch my breath." – RogerEbert.com ... "It is hard to trust after being on the streets for so long," notes former sex worker Brenda Myers-Powell, now mentoring Chicago women pounding the same pavements through her Dreamcatcher Foundation. It's a statement that hails back to her own drug-addicted days under the name Breazy, but ... Read more
An up-close-and-personal portrait of trailblazing fashion icon Dries Van Noten, one of the world's last truly independent fashion designers. ... In a fashion landscape marked by consolidation and imitation, Dries van Noten has always stood apart. A designer who works to his own brief and follows his own passions, van Noten has spent 25 years one-upping the fashion establishment, turning out season... Read more
Duke Ellington: Reminiscing in Tempo is a portrait of a man who, for over fifty years, led a dance band around the world and created a lasting body of music. A chronicle of social change, the film examines Ellington's subtle role in fighting segregation in U.S. society and challenging the reign of prejudice. ... During the course of an interview with the great American composer he is asked for an ... Read more
"Wherever we go it has beaten us; wherever we turn, it follows us. We're surrounded by it, it gets inside us, we shed it... it nestles right into the despair of its own existence" - filmmaker Hartmut Bitomsky ... The bane of cleaners and allergy sufferers everywhere, dust is so tiny, so minute, that most of us don't think twice before sucking it up or sweeping it under the carpet. Documentary film... Read more
An impossibly poetic, moving and memorable film capturing the story of an isolated Aleutian Island port in deeply grained black and white. Simple in structure yet wonderfully evocative, warm in spite of the snowbound isolation it depicts, Dutch Harbour is certain to be one of MIFF 1999's quiet achievers. Directors Braden King and Laura Moya both have a background in photography and their gifts are... Read more
Could you build a career out of your parents' painful and protracted divorce? Gees Krijner can. The young Dutch artist won the prestigious Prix de Rome art prize for a performance piece about the breakup of his family, starring his own mother. The height of conceptual art, or a bizarre form of revenge? Dutch Heroes provides the answers. Krijners Father is the last in a distinguished line of accomp... Read more
A historical tragedy meets a personal rebellion in Lech Kowalski's idiosyncratic third instalment of his Wild, Wild East documentary trilogy. East of Paradise opens with a harrowing description by Maria Kowalski - Lech Kowalski's mother - of her transportation from Krakow to the Soviet gulags in Siberia during World War II. She expresses doubts as to whether anyone who hadn't lived through that da... Read more
Films showing workers singing in fields, teenagers dancing on the beach, or glam­orous working women are not widely associated with socialist European countries. This may change with Dana Ranga's entertaining docu­mentary which reveals that a succession of socialist musicals were made in the USSR, East Germany and other Eastern Bloc countries from the 1930s to the 1970s. The film excerpts seen her... Read more
Natalie Portman guides us across America in this nonfiction adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer’s bestseller: a passionate examination of industrial food production that you won’t soon forget. ... In the history of documentaries about the planet’s dangerous over-consumption of food, there has never been any quite like Eating Animals (this is definitely not Super Size Me). Director Christopher Dillo... Read more
Who would imagine that Swiss avant-garde yodelling could bring so much joy? Well, it does. Enter the wondrous sonic world of three exceptional Swiss vocal artists whose universe of sound extends far beyond what we would describe as singing. The Alpine vistas are a stage and inspiration for our three good-natured singers as they explore local and international traditions and vocal possibilities tha... Read more
"Ulmer was nothing if not a self-inventor - by his own fantastic account, he created the first dolly and worked on every major film to come out of Weimar Germany, handily listing himself as an uncredited assistant. But Ulmer's moviemaking influence is incontrovertible. Using a Peter Bogdanovich interview as the connecting thread, the director taps helmers such as Joe Dante, John Landis, Roger Corm... Read more
Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director