Documentaries

Black River is a sumptuous and compelling adaptation of one of Australia's boldest contemporary operatic works, featuring Abo­riginal mezzo-soprano, Maroochy Barambah (Bran Nue Dae, Women of the Sun) as Miriam. The production was originally mounted, to unanimous acclaim, by the Sydney Metropoli­tan Opera and the Bangarra Dance Theatre. This inherently cinematic rendering of that work has taken it ... Read more
If perestroika seems slow to influence Soviet features, its effect on documentaries is clear in Black Square, an original and lively look at 20th century avant-garde painting in the USSR. ... Directer Pasternak approaches his subject with a real feeling for the visual and for the joys of filmmaking. The Soviet avant-garde is traced from Russian Constructivism to a brief flowering in the Kruschev y... Read more
"A mesmerizing psychological thriller with a bruised and battered killer whale at its center." – Variety ... In 2010, the orca Tilikum killed one of his Sea World trainers. It was the third death the killer whale had been involved in over two decades in captivity. This eye-opening film focuses on the collision between a five-ton star attraction and a multi-billion dollar theme-park franchise, expl... Read more
“It felt like our lives were movies.” - singer Debbie Harry ... A meticulously observed document of New York underground film in the late 70s and early 80s, Blank City zeros in on the No Wave and Cinema of Transgression scenes that spawned a generation of filmmakers. ... Before the Reagan era resolutely gentrified the lower end of Manhattan, a group of dispossessed twenty-somethings banded togethe... Read more
... ... Paparazzo-photographer Victor Malafronte's philosophy is simple: "I don't have any sympathy for a guy who's making $20-30 mil­lion a year." Chasing Madonna, ambushing Michael J. Fox, screaming at Robert de Niro, Blast 'Em is an arm's length look at life as a New York paparazzo photographer. ... ... ... It is an off-beat, funny and sometimes frightening journey into the North American obses... Read more
Filmed in the half-lit homes of its four participants, Blind Loves looks at the anxieties of falling in love when you can't see. ... Imagine being unable to clink a celebratory glass of champagne, or losing your partner on a crowded dance floor. Peeking into the minutiae of non-sighted existence, this compassionate documentary reveals great insight - without mawkish sentimentality - through many d... Read more
Blind Spot: Hitler's Secretary (Im Toten Winkel: Hitlers Sekretärin)Austria'I have finally let go of my story. Now I feel the world is letting go of me.'Traudl Junge, Hitler's secretaryAfter keeping silent for over half a century, 81-year-old Traudl Junge finally tells her remarkable story of working alongside Hitler during his final years. Eschewing all form of stylish embellishment, the filmmak... Read more
In this shocking close-up of America's white-supremacist movement, the members of the American Nazi Party, the Klu Klux Klan, and the Aryan Nations are chillingly relaxed, even genial, as they speak about the need to return the U.S. to a state of racial purity. ... Most of the film was shot during the white-supremacist convention held at a medium size barn in the Michigan countryside. The particip... Read more
Challenging British director Derek Jarman's final major work has been compared in visual execution to Warhol's Sleep and Empire State. Where it outstrips them both is in the meticulously crafted and impressionistic soundtrack. An amazing aural cut up of voices, Jarman's amongst them, supplemented and punctuated by sound collage and glorious music, this combination of monologue and prose poem is wo... Read more
As the Great Barrier Reef tumbles towards oblivion, filmmaker Karina Holden delivers an urgent, impassioned and achingly beautiful plea to save our oceans before it's too late. ... Beneath the waves, where our eyes can't follow, a slow-motion apocalypse is taking place. From decaying reefs and overfishing to warming oceans and the sealife killed by our garbage, our oceans stand at the forefront of... Read more
Joseph Paul Jemigan was executed eight years ago but anyone with a modem can view his body today. While still warm, Jemigan was handed over to Texan scientists, who froze his corpse and sawed him into millimetre thick slices to be used for anatomical studies worldwide. ... Jernigan was on a slippery slide to disaster when he beat a 76 year old pensioner to death in order to steal his microwave ove... Read more
"Arguing that vinyl is the most potentially deadly consumer product on the planet, Blue Vinyl doesn't just draw our attention to the lurking danger. Rather, this enormously entertaining documentary takes a surprisingly light-hearted jaunt through Silkwood and Erin Brockovich terrain." - Variety ... Billed as a 'toxic comedy', Blue Vinyl premiered at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival. Judith Helfand'... Read more
The boatman is Gopal. He rows the waters of the Ganges, the Sacred River of India, guiding his vessel through Benares, the city of Shiva, the city of the Dead. Creating the illusion of a moving point of view, Boatman takes on the shape of a journey without destination, in which Gopal is both charismatic protagonist and wryly humorous narrator. Characters and images emerge and sink from the screen,... Read more
A triple award winner at the Tribeca Film Festival – including Best Documentary – Bobbi Jene offers a candid vignette of renowned Batsheva dancer Bobbi Jene Smith in flux between two lives, and two loves. ... In 2005, American dancer Bobbi Jene Smith followed venerated choreographer Ohad Naharin to Tel Aviv and became a star of his world-famous Batsheva Dance Company. A decade later and pushing 30... Read more
[Born Dead] is Jacek Blawut's powerful and intimate observation of Robert Jurczyga, a 23-year-old man incarcerated in remand centres since he was just 15. Close to his release date, Robert volunteers as a carer in the Duet Rehabilitation Programme, initiated by the Krakow Penitentiary and a local institution for the intellectually handicapped. The camera follows Robert closely, recording his initi... Read more
Born Into Brothels USABritish photographer Zana Briski ventured into Calcutta's red-light district on assignment and wound up working there for two years, appalled by the plight of the children of sex workers. The kids seemed trapped by their circumstances and destined to 'join the line', the euphemism their parents use for their induction into prostitution.Briski rounded up a small class of child... Read more
Now that New Zealand is synonymous with The Lord of the Rings, don't think that all Kiwi dark pleasures are confined to the subterranean lairs of Trolls. Director David Blyth has embarked on his own quest for the ring: the nipple ring! Blyth trekked through New Zealand's most notorious dungeons, meeting and profiling the dominatrixes and slaves that comprise the thriving BDSM (Bondage. Discipline.... Read more
Stan Brakhage is considered a living legend and one of the most important avant-garde filmmakers. Since 1952 Brakhage has created over 300 films, constantly and consistently redefining Ihe shape of film art. Jim Shedden's documentary explores the depth and breadth of Brakhage's genius; the exquisite splendour, sensuality and intimacy of his films; his magic personal charm; his aesthetic fellow tra... Read more
Tom Zubrycki's new film (following Friends and Enemies, Kemira etc.) follows performances of Broome's Aboriginal musical Bran Nue Dae, from rehearsal and development to the rapturous reviews and its enthusiastic reception throughout Australia. The play has yet to open in Melbourne, where it is scheduled for later this year, before touring the UK and Europe. This year Bran Nue Dae won Australia's m... Read more
Ex-addict, bon vivant, actor, troublemaker, writer, self-styled champion of the underclass: Russell Brand. ... Noted chronicler of iconoclasts Ondi Timoner (Obey the Artist, MIFF 2014; We Live in Public, MIFF 2009) tackles the particular cultural figure of Russell Brand in this wild and wooly documentary exposing the wayward trajectory of his career – from naughty boy British comedian to Hollywood... Read more
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