Sunday, 11 May 2008

Hot Docs Continued...

My Hot Docs postings got interrupted by life, and even though the festival is now over, I still want to share with you some of the films I saw. I had also asked my friend Jason Charters (Riddle Films) to share his thoughts as we both saw completely different films.

Jason's Hot Docs

The English Surgeon
A simply told and beautifully shot film with an amazing subject. This is a case of a wonderful subject to follow and incredible access. Not for the squeamish however.


Man on Wire
Phillipe Petit's story is like something out of a Mamet play. This is a fascinating story of an unlikely group of people pulling off an incredible stunt: high wire walking between the twin towers of New York's World Trade Center in 1974. A bittersweet, funny and suspenseful film.



Dear Zachary
An undeniably moving and powerful movie. It's impossible not to be profoundly affected by this story, however it did call into question for me what makes a good documentary film. As a film, I'm not sure that this is a great one, but in this case, I'm also not sure it matters.

Primary/Crisis
Two pioneering films from the lens of cinematographer Richard Leacock. Watching Primary, I felt like I was seeing the genesis of DA Pennebaker's acclaimed The War Room. Pennebaker, incidentally, was a camera operator on Primary. Crisis is a privileged glimpse inside the Kennedy White House and an entertaining and suspenseful portrait of Robert Kennedy and John Kennedy during the 1963 stand-off at the University of Alabama.

Wild Blue Yonder
This film by Celia Maysles is probably as much self-help therapy as it is a documentary about her father, filmmaker David Maysles. It's rough, repetitive but ultimately at least somewhat redemptive and an interesting look inside the lives of the Maysles brothers and their influence on the people around them.

Murphy's Law
This is a short worth watching if you can. Along with the audience I saw it with, I first laughed at Chris Murphy's family, then cringed, and finally really cared about them. An intimate look at the dysfunction and love between a single father and his sons.


Jason's Film List (in order of preference)

The English Surgeon
Man on Wire
Primary/Crisis
Dear Zachary
Murphy’s Law
Beginning Filmmaking
As Slow As Possible
Wild Blue Yonder
Carny

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