Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Project)

An ongoing survey of the Criterion Forum membership to create lists of the best films of each decade and genre.
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matrixschmatrix
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 11:26 pm

Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Project)

#1 Post by matrixschmatrix » Sun Jul 07, 2013 4:04 am

BALLOTS ARE DUE BY THE END OF THE DAY MARCH 15, 2014

This time, the list is documentaries, things that really actually happened (maybe) (for some of these)! We had 20 lists submitted for the Animation project, and I am greedy for more, more, more! So everybody post and vote.

Please PM me your list of what you believe are the top 50 Documentary films toward the end of the project. Between now and the end of the project, post the movies you're watching, post about the movies other people are watching, and yammer away at one another until we're exhausted of the topic forever.


THE RULES

We've hammered this out a bit in the list discussion thread, but I'm always happy for more suggestions.

BASICS

Each individual list is to comprise no more or less than 50 films, ranked in your order of preference (with no ties). You can make it your top 50 favorite Jeff Dunham stand up specials (there are that many, right?) if you want, there are no rules for minimum number of films seen or anything.

ELIGIBILITY

Any feature film, experimental film, short film, TV miniseries, TV movie, or TV special which could be called a documentary in any sense of the word- docufiction, ethnography, filmed sports, filmed plays, filmed stand up specials, filmed concerts, nature films, essay films, making-of docs, Tag Gallagher visual essays, and lots of other stuff I'm probably forgetting. If you're not sure if something is a documentary, bring it up in the thread, or just vote for it. I'm generally going for the widest definition of the term possible, so if you think it counts it and can make any kind of a passable case for it, we'll take it.

TV anthologies, like Errol Morris's First Person, should be voted on as individual episodes. Long form series with a defined end point, like Planet Earth, count as mini-series and can be voted for as a whole. For television stuff that fits into news reportage, like Frontline, it will generally count as an individual entry in an anthology, but bring it up in the thread if you're concerned. I'm going to go ahead and say that you have to vote for an individual iteration of the filming of a thing, and not the thing itself- so that you may not vote for "The 1989 World Series", but you can vote for "The Fox Broadcast of the 1989 World Series" or whatever. Also, please do not vote for the 1989 World Series.

For more details about rules and procedures, please refer here.

ELIGIBILITY – REMINDERS / SPECIAL CASES

Placeholder

RESOURCES

I'm going to do some work here when I'm not bone tired, but please post anything relevant in the thread.

PWA Films thread

Any resources are welcomed, and I'll be looking for more myself in the near future.

GUIDES WITHIN THIS THREAD

Obviously, there aren't any of these yet, but I'd be delighted to post them once they are.

Available Guides:


FORUM MEMBER SPOTLIGHTS

You know what these are, you guys. Post your favorites, the ones you're afraid nobody else will have watched.

1. Make a post about the film discussing why you find it so exceptional.
2. Clearly indicate that you wish the film to be one of your spotlight titles.
3. Direct others to where the film can be found.

I'll keep track of all the spotlight titles here so that they can be easily referenced. You're welcome to have more than one spotlight title, but try not to have too many more, so it's manageable for everyone to be able to see them all.

Everyone is strongly encouraged to give each of these films the same chance that you would hope others would give your own spotlight titles.

Stop Making Sense (Jonathan Demme, 1984), matrixschmatrix. Available on DVD & Blu.
The Corporation (Jennifer Abbott & Mark Achbar, 2003), colinr0380. Available on YouTube here as well as Amazon Prime and DVD.
Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media (March Achbar & Peter Wintonick), colinr0380. Available on YouTube here as well as Amazon Prime and recommended BFI DVD.
Psychic Powers Exposed - "Secrets of the Psychics" (Carl Charlson? No director listed in credits), Minkin. Available on YouTube here.
A Thing of Wonder (Adrienne Leverette & Eric Schopmeyer), Minkin. Available on DVD here.
Should I Marry Outside My Faith?) (Uncredited), Domino Harvey. Available on DVD as part of Atomic Age Classics Vol 6: Love & Marriage.
Surviving Edged Weapons (Dennis Anderson), Domino Harvey. Available on YouTube here and written up by Domino here.
The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On (Kazuo Hara), Grand Wazoo. Available on YouTube here and on an out of print Facets DVD.
The Lacey Rituals (Bruce Lacy & Everybody), knives. Available on DVD through the BFI.
Ethnic Notions (Marlon Riggs), knives. Available online through the University of California San Diego here and on DVD through California Newsreel here.
Cane Toads: An Unnatural History (Mark Lewis), barbarianeggplant. Available online through StaveVu here or in pieces on YouTube, and on an OOP DVD.
In the Family (Joanna Rudnick), Mr. Sausage. On PBS's website here and on DVD.
Thin (Lauren Greenfield), Mr. Sausage. Available on a YouTube playlist linked here.
Sherman's March (Ross McElwee), zedz. Available on DVD indivudally or as part of a Ross McElwee box set.
Kilka opowiesci o czlowieku (Bogdan Dziworski), Nabob of Nowhere. Available on YouTube here.
Growing Up: A New Approach to Sex Education, No. 1 (Martin Cole), bamwc2. Available on the BFI's Joy of Sex Education/The Birds and the Bees set.
Private Practices: The Story of a Sex Surrogate (Kirby Dick), bamwc2. Available on DVD and Amazon Instant.
Live Nude Girls Unite! (Vicky Funari & Julia Query), bamwc2. Available on DVD.
Katka (Helena Třeštíková), MichaelB. DVD?
Queen of Trees (Victoria Stone & Mark Deeble), Matt. Available on DVD here and on YouTube here.
Paris is Burning (Jennie Livingston), Satori. Available on Netflix, Amazon Instant, and DVD.
Henri-Georges Clouzot's Inferno (Serge Bromberg & Ruxandra Medrea), swo17. Available on DVD and Blu-ray. Written up by swo17 here.
Granton Trawler (Edgar Anstey & John Grierson), swo17. Available on DVD (in the BFI's GPO Film Collection Volume 1) on Blu-ray (in the BFI's The Soviet Influence: Battleship Potemkin + Drifters) and on YouTube here. Written up by swo17 here.
Les Maîtres fous (Jean Rouch), swo17. Available on YouTube here. Written up by swo17 here.
The Farmer's Wife (David Sutherland), HistoryProf. Available on DVD here.
Talhotblond: (Barbara Schroeder), Lemmy Caution. Available on Netflix, Amazon Instant, and DVD.
Facing Ali (Pete McCormack), Lemmy Caution. Available on Amazon Instant and DVD.

AWAITING FURTHER SUGGESTIONS


DESPERATELY SEEKING SO AND SO

Is there a film you're dying to see but you've exhausted all possible avenues for finding it and still come up short? List it here and perhaps some kind soul will be able to direct you to a copy by PM. Please limit listings here to only a few films that you're most desperate to see.

SUBMISSION GUIDE

When the end of this project rolls around and you're submitting a list, pleas ensure the following:
*Check the title against IMDb, and make sure you have it exactly right. If it's not on IMDb, include a link with your list so I can get the right information. If it goes by several names, the format I use is English Title/Original Language Title, so that's preferred, but make sure whatever you use is what's on IMDb.
*Have a director and year marked for every film on your list, so that I don't have to guess at which of several similarly titled works you meant to vote for.
*PM me the list before Midnight PST on the listed due date. I'm willing to go back and fix things if I absolutely must, but it's better for everyone if I have everything right the first go round.
*If you have a substitution to make, send me a full corrected list along a note saying 'I switched this and this' or whatever

I'm not going to throw anyone's list out for not meeting these guidelines, but if everyone follows them my life will be far, far easier.

Resources compiled by matrixschmatrix
Last edited by matrixschmatrix on Mon Dec 30, 2013 12:22 am, edited 28 times in total.

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#2 Post by matrixschmatrix » Sun Jul 07, 2013 4:14 am

Stop Making Sense is one of my favorite movies of any kind, ever, hands down. I really love the music, but I think even if I didn't the movie would work for me- the staging of the show itself is pretty great, demonstrating the creation of a band's sound as it adds elements of the large touring band player by player, from Byrne solo to a huge multi-instrumental funk thing, each song working well on its own but also building on previous ones. There's also a sort of emotional arc on Byrne's part as the show progresses, taking him from a self-enclosed, clean-cut, normal sort of guy to a wildly dashing around the stage madman to the famous giant suit, and the sense of release at the end of the show is as great as it would be in a narrative feature.

Demme's shooting of the thing is what put it over the top, though- the band was so tight that Demme could marry audio from one show to video from another seamlessly, so he can do the thing of shooting all from one side on one night and the other on the next, and thus get really cool angles without having to worry about the crew blundering into the frame. It's tightly focused on the band throughout, with the audience only appearing the last few minutes, which creates a real sense of intimacy with the performers, and the whole thing has a drive that's intensely cinematic. In some ways, I think I'm too close to this movie to describe it well, but it's seriously one of my favorite things in the world, and if it doesn't make the final list here I'm going to be petulant and mean for like months.

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Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#3 Post by colinr0380 » Sun Jul 07, 2013 6:55 am

I'd like to make my spotlight two films: The Corporation which, in a decade full of crusading documentaries trying to tackle tiny elements of the business world (whether it is Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room through to Supersize Me and McLibel), actually manages to build up a coherent, far more overarching and wide ranging argument without overemotionalising or losing its central message too much: that the philosophy behind the creation and management of the corporation as an entity is inherently wrong if you want it to also 'care' for people, the environment, etc. It also, due to wide variety of subjects covered, serves as a handy primer to those more crusading documentarians such as Michael Moore, Naomi Klein, the Yes Men, and so on, along with more specific documentaries on ecological issues, animal experimentation, marketing, media control (for example Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism), collectivisation, protest movements, and so on.

Plus the real events which inspired the more recent fiction film Even The Rain (the attempt by the government of Bolivia, under the direction of the World Bank, to privatise the water supply, even the rain), had already gotten a big chunk of time devoted to them here.

The second film is related, given that Mark Achbar is also the co-director of Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media (out in a great edition from the BFI, although I also have the US Zeitgeist release from ten years ago or so and that is more than serviceable). While very obviously early 90s in look and feel, the messages in the film are still incredibly relevant: who creates the news, or decides what is 'newsworthy?'. How is that decision weighted? How does the media create a 'narrative' to events, even when it may contradict other information?

While both of these documentaries might sound very dry in their subject matter, I do not feel that there have been more engaging, inspirational, necessary, or indeed simply enjoyable and entertaining, pieces of documentary filmmaking to match them recently.
Last edited by colinr0380 on Sun Jul 07, 2013 1:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Minkin
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Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#4 Post by Minkin » Sun Jul 07, 2013 7:54 am

matrixschmatrix wrote:Tag Gallagher visual essays
Score! Taking Power should weigh heavily.

I'll add two spotlights if that won't be too greedy of me (since my last two list attempts to highlight a few titles came too little too late -but that's all my fault).

First is James Randi's Psychic Powers Exposed - "Secrets of the Psychics" - available on Youtube. Its a NOVA production that follows magician and skeptic of all things paranormal James Randi. The documentary goes beyond just exposing various hoaxes by various fortune tellers/psychics, etc and questions why people are drawn to the supernatural.

Second is A Thing of Wonder - available on DVD (here's a short preview on youtube). The film follows Jerry Andrus, an illusionist and odd fellow from my hometown in Oregon. He's been enormously influential for many - James Randi (see above), Penn & Teller, etc. So we see quite a few of his illusions, his poetry, scenes with him wearing a giant devils mask (still unsure why). Its delightfully strange and well made.

I might also suggest you check out (these aren't spotlights from here out, just further suggestions) Leonard Nimoy's In Search of... series from the 70s. Each week he would explore a different unusual event, mystery, etc. From Atlantis to the march of the invasive fire ant across the US, each episode is a blast. There's 144 episodes, so probably pick whatever sounds most interesting.

Naturally, I can't go without voting for Huell Howser. He's a (sadly passed away in January) local California host of, well, everything in California. He would make an hour long program about a restaurant, and somehow it would be the best and most entertaining hour you will have spent. His chipper attitude has been endlessly parodied (even by the Simpsons - where he fell off the back of a turnip truck). To Huell, everything was amazing, or the best thing imaginable (even if its just a cheetos factory) - and he'd often say "it doesn't get any better than this". His upbeat attitude, and miniscule production values (I don't think he ever edited anything) led to an endless supply of unintentional humor (whether a lady dressed in office wear falls down a hill while trying to show off the Hollywood sign, or what appears to be an illegal immigrant running into the country in full sight of the camera, while carrying a giant crucifix, simply because Huell has distracted the border guard, or perhaps the most infamous - when Huell visits the Bagdad Cafe -and meets every single weird character from a Wim Wenders American road movie - including the best: the general (who proclaims that he is a real general and not a fuck up). You can't write television more entertaining than that. But with Huell's personality, he manages to carry the viewer beyond the mistakes and inspire some semblance of good nature. Most Huell episodes steam free from the Chapman University website.

Finally, I'll make an appeal (I'll assume it will count, since each episode is a separate location and is essentially a walk-through and brief history of a location) for a television show that I might consider one of the best made: Most Haunted. On the surface, its another one of those ghost shows. At its heart, its also one of the most entertaining and hilarious shows created. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, you will find enjoyment from this show. Sometimes, there might be the occasional "unexplained phenomenon" but the bulk of the episodes suffer from the team padding out time and jumping at every single noise. This leads to a plethora of humor based on the team's inability to cope with the real world (like their "my first camping" experience at Sleepy Hollow - where one character is "attacked by an 8 foot tarantula,"or when the same character fell into an open grave, or when he was attacked and dragged by a spirit -thus leading to his complete loss of hair - due to fright). There are genuine moments though when one might question their grasp on reality, but the bulk of episodes are amongst the most entertaining television created.

No, I don't have a thing for the occult/supernatural or the debunking of said supernatural. I just find the examination of such topics to be interesting since there's often a lot of rational thought (or lack of) that is required to explore the topics (since they are so often outrageous). They can also be hilarious in terms of the pseudo-science done or the presenter's inability to cope with reality.

If you want something more, uhh, realistic/worldly, than you can't go wrong with either Louis Theroux or BBC's Our World; or travelogues such as Rick Steves' Europe, Journeys in Japan, or The Happy Wanderers (good luck finding any episodes). There's also the hilariously strange school science lecture shows: Mr. Wizard or The World of Chemistry.

*Prepares for 50 orphans*

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domino harvey
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Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#5 Post by domino harvey » Sun Jul 07, 2013 9:09 am

My Spotlight

Should I Marry Outside My Faith? (Dir Uncredited 1962) Ostensibly this is a film made to warn young lovers against getting involved in mixed faith relationships. The intent is to show how, even if you love someone, being a Catholic and not a Catholic just don't mix. Well, that's what the film meant to do, at least. What it actually does, and this is why it's one my spotlight and one of the most fascinating educational films I've ever seen, is inadvertently make a good argument against organized religion, period. Pete and Jane love each other and want to get married, even though Pete's Catholic and Jane ain't. They look at their friends David and Evelyn, happily married with a newborn baby. David's Jewish and Evelyn isn't and they're so happy, why can't Pete and Jane be happy? Well, the film says, actually no one is happy. The community's religious leaders, be they Catholic or Protestant or Jewish, explain in excruciating detail what the loving couple will be missing out on by daring to just listen to their hearts and not the word of their respective Gods. By the end nothing is left but a scorched earth approach that makes it impossible to even figure out what side the film's on-- every organized religion is made to look petty, officious, and impossibly heartless. I may not be particularly religious but even the most hardened Hitchens-aping atheist would probably see this film as going too far. The final result is deeply depressing: the film's message is one of hopeless emptiness, as everyone depicted is bound to a system that seems engineered solely to make them unhappy. Should I Marry Outside My Faith? is simply the best argument I've ever seen against organized religion, and that it was made under the auspices of bolstering the purity of the religions depicted only makes it more laudable. (Atomic Age Classics Vol 6: Love & Marriage R1 Alpha DVD)

I have seen all of the hundreds of educational shorts curated by Skip Elsheimer via Kino and Alpha's DVD compilations if anyone needs further suggestions in that arena-- they're immensely watchable and fascinating cultural relics, especially for a project like this

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domino harvey
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Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#6 Post by domino harvey » Sun Jul 07, 2013 9:24 am

Matrix, I strongly recommend switching the deadline to February-- you're coming up against the 70s List's due date and I always studiously avoided interfering with the decade lists when deciding on deadlines. It's your show, of course, but I think the results will be better if we adjust now

Minkin: By some weird twist of faith I actually watched that Randi special a few weeks ago and then went down the rabbit hole of seeing his assorted talk show appearances, &c. I remember he used to pop up on these specials Fox would air Sundays before the Simpsons in the 90s and he was quite entertaining to me as a kid and now me as an adult!

As far as Tag Gallagher visual essays go, my favorite is his analysis of Mogambo, which I'm not sure has ever been commercially released but was uploaded with his blessing to That Site Which Shall Not Be Named. Gallagher examines John Ford's film solely through Grace Kelly's performance and it's a great example of close reading. Highly recommended and will surely make my list

And as for Louis Theroux, Louis and the Nazis will be Number One on my list, and he will have the strongest overall presence on my final list no doubt

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Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#7 Post by Grand Wazoo » Sun Jul 07, 2013 11:36 am

I've been following the lists project threads almost religiously for years now without ever having the time to participate properly. I'm still unsure of my ability to do so but I feel I have to share a little bit here while I can, and want to say how wonderful these discussions have been in an educational sense over time.

My Spotlight

The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On (Kazuo Hara, 1988) Perhaps the greatest document of post-war angst and overall military hypocrisy, we follow Kenzo Okuzaki, a former soldier in the Japanese army as he confronts officers, usually through "radical" means involving creative deception and outright assault, demanding answers for suspicious deaths of various kinds during WWII. Despite Okuzaki's seeming (and confirmed by the director) insanity, it conveys the most palpable feeling of rage, of "being wronged", and of a government and military refusing to admit any sort of accountability for the senseless massacre of young soldiers. It's an indictment of war and an entire generation.

Hara makes some questionable moral choices as director
SpoilerShow
such as holding his camera in place while Okuzaki pummels a former officer in front of his wife
but in a fashion I feel some aspects of the seething anger would not be conveyed properly without this scene on screen. I'm often torn between love and revulsion here, as these men seemingly deserve some sort of punishment, but at this advanced age mixed with Ozuzaki's ramblings and fury, we cannot be certain exctlay what is true, what is deserved, where moral lines have been crossed on either side.

Okuzaki acts as a real-life vigilante, exacting his own form of justice which is at some times perfect
SpoilerShow
such as when he fools one officer with the "family" of a murdered soldier
or sometimes barely defensible like the event discussed above. Utterly fascinating. I also highly recommend the book Camera Obtrusa: The Action Documentaries of Kazuo Hara which acts as an autobiography and discussion of his films, plus it includes a second part that was once published separately comprising his diaries concerning The Emperor's Naked Army during the shooting process. You get to learn a lot more about the insuperability of Okuzaki.
(Available on an OOP Facets disc that is seemingly going for crazy money on Amazon. A shame as it's one of their better looking discs.)

I'd also like to second Dom's highlight of Louis and the Nazis. A truly amazing document which in turn made me seek out every doc Louis Theroux has produced. This was brought to my attention years ago on this board by Dom, having never heard of Louis at the time. So a much belated thank you!

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Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#8 Post by Murdoch » Sun Jul 07, 2013 11:42 am

I probably won't have the time to commit to this list, but I would like to draw attention to Nina Conti's Her Master's Voice. Following her mentor Ken Campbell's death Conti makes a pilgrimage to Vent Haven, home of a ventriloguist convention and a museum that's come to be the final resting place for puppets whose owners have passed away. What could have been a slight examination of a misunderstood and widely disparaged craft instead becomes an examination of Conti's use of puppets as a coping mechanism for her loss (both of her mentor and of others) and how ventriloquism in general is often adopted by misfits as a way to deal with social awkwardness. The AVClub had a nice little write-up about the film.

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Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#9 Post by swo17 » Sun Jul 07, 2013 12:01 pm

domino harvey wrote:Matrix, I strongly recommend switching the deadline to February-- you're coming up against the 70s List's due date and I always studiously avoided interfering with the decade lists when deciding on deadlines.
I can't promise that '70s deadline will hold though.

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Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#10 Post by barbarianeggplant » Sun Jul 07, 2013 12:46 pm

Here's my spotlight: Cane Toads: An Unnatural History (Mark Lewis, 1988, 47 minutes)

This movie, detailing the rise of Australia’s out-of-control cane toad population, would be a brilliant work of farce if it weren’t for the fact that it is 100% factual. Much like one of the film’s vocal proponents, Werner Herzog, it moves beyond the basic nature documentary to reveal a morbid absurdity in the relationship between humans and the natural world. Unlike Herzog, though, it relies on comedy as its primary device and highlights how successful comedy can be in explaining challenging situations in a way few documentaries attempt.

The story of the production is not unlike that of the cane toads themselves: Australia’s Department of Agriculture clearly had no idea what they were signing themselves up for in either case. The film was originally commissioned by the Department as a simple informational short about the toad’s introduction as a predator for sugar cane beetles and subsequent population explosion when native predators proved no match for it. Lewis fulfills his assignment in telling this story, but spends more time looking at the ways in which Australian society has responded to their ubiquitous presence by interviewing people with strong, wide-ranging opinions about the toads. Many of these characters are the kind that character-driven sketch comedians would kill to write and both the variety and affect of the interviewees are what drive home the true absurdity of the situation, beyond what the facts initially requested can explain.

Sadly, Cane Toads is currently out of print and...not cheap. My local library has it; yours might, too. Netflix has it on disc, but not streaming. It's up on Youtube in chunks (playlist here), and is available on the site which shall not be named and streaming here.
Last edited by barbarianeggplant on Sun Jul 07, 2013 3:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#11 Post by Lowry_Sam » Sun Jul 07, 2013 1:22 pm

I never would have considered including Stop Making Sense in a documentary list, a filmed performance list definitely (which would make a great separate list project), but not documentary. Despite the fact that the Talking Heads are one of my all time favorite bands (whereas I would never opt to put on Madonna on my stereo), I would be much more likely to include Madonna's Truth Or Dare or Gimme Shelter on the list because of the slices-or-tour-life transitions between performances. That of course begs the question of whether This Is Spinal Tap or other mockumentaries should be allowed too.

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#12 Post by matrixschmatrix » Sun Jul 07, 2013 1:31 pm

Filmed performances definitely count- 'documentary' is actually the first genre marked for Stop Making Sense on IMDb, so please do not save your votes for it or anything like it for a future list that I doubt is going to happen.

As for mockumentaries, they are explicitly works of fiction, without any of the mixed part and part that characterizes docufiction or ethnofiction or whatever, so I can't see them qualifying unless someone makes a case that I'm not seeing.

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Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#13 Post by MichaelB » Sun Jul 07, 2013 1:43 pm

Completely agree. Stop Making Sense is unarguably a documentary, This Is Spinal Tap unarguably isn't. And the same goes for a Kevin Brownlow early-cinema documentary and Peter Jackson's Forgotten Silver, for identical reasons.

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knives
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Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#14 Post by knives » Sun Jul 07, 2013 1:53 pm

I'm getting a weird sort of anxiety over this because what I do know just shows me how little I do and it's overwhelming. I suspect that I'll be sticking away from more popular forms of documentary with even my arguments for the more popular sort being away from how they're generally perceived. With that in mind spotlights.

The Lacey Rituals: The BFI just released this fantabulous exercise in everything that can be interpreted a million ways such as a communal form of filmmaking, a look into the lies that go into truth documentaries, and Bruce Lacey's own call of observing the most mundane tasks of human life so that they will never be lost. In building this conceit that all footage shot no matter how mucked up will be in the film the movie seems to mock those in the verite movement who suggest that they are filming actuality. Of course the Lacey's are never so cruel so eventually they turn the camera and motive fully on them and how they are leaving behind the truth with the very presence of the camera. This reaches its emotional climax in a truly shocking scene that paints nakedly what the camera has done to the whole family's psychology. Even Hitchcock wasn't able to implicate his characters and the viewer so strongly.

Ethnic Notions: I'd like to politely disagree with Colin and point to this film, available on youtube, and its director the sadly departed Marlon Riggs as the high point in this social conscious film essay subgenre. It's rather simply built, but concisely in that form expands on how the present is unable to remove the past via the evolution of archetypes. The film fairly squarely focuses on the Black American experience which can't be ignored in context, but without being loud about things implicates the whole wheel of history and how each generation builds and runs from the previous without daring to alter the status quo.

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#15 Post by matrixschmatrix » Sun Jul 07, 2013 2:30 pm

Minkin- to be sure you don't waste any votes, can you explain how In Search Of and California's Gold fit as anthologies and not episodes of a series? Not saying they don't, since I'm not too familiar with either, but it seems iffy and worth hashing out to me.

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Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#16 Post by MichaelB » Sun Jul 07, 2013 2:43 pm

barbarianeggplant wrote:Here's my spotlight: Cane Toads: An Unnatural History (Mark Lewis, 1988, 47 minutes)

This movie, detailing the rise of Australia’s out-of-control cane toad population, would be a brilliant work of farce if it weren’t for the fact that it is 100% factual.
Embarrassingly, the Monthly Film Bulletin assumed that it wasn't, and reviewed it as though it was a mockumentary!

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#17 Post by matrixschmatrix » Sun Jul 07, 2013 2:54 pm

domino harvey wrote:Matrix, I strongly recommend switching the deadline to February-- you're coming up against the 70s List's due date and I always studiously avoided interfering with the decade lists when deciding on deadlines. It's your show, of course, but I think the results will be better if we adjust now
That's a good point- I'll bump it out to February 8th, and adjust as needed as the Decades list movies.

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Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#18 Post by barbarianeggplant » Sun Jul 07, 2013 3:00 pm

MichaelB wrote:
barbarianeggplant wrote:Here's my spotlight: Cane Toads: An Unnatural History (Mark Lewis, 1988, 47 minutes)

This movie, detailing the rise of Australia’s out-of-control cane toad population, would be a brilliant work of farce if it weren’t for the fact that it is 100% factual.
Embarrassingly, the Monthly Film Bulletin assumed that it wasn't, and reviewed it as though it was a mockumentary!
Haha, I can only assume that mockumentary makers are a little jealous - or at least in awe - of this movie. It really does have the same texture as one and the situation is truly absurd. Actually, it's more absurd than a lot of mockumentary topics, now that I think of it - they tend to stick to fairly mundane topics and highlight the absurdity of the people involved. This also does that, but the prompt is far odder.

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domino harvey
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Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#19 Post by domino harvey » Sun Jul 07, 2013 3:02 pm

matrixschmatrix wrote:Minkin- to be sure you don't waste any votes, can you explain how In Search Of and California's Gold fit as anthologies and not episodes of a series? Not saying they don't, since I'm not too familiar with either, but it seems iffy and worth hashing out to me.
I have not seen In Search Of since it aired mornings on Sci-Fi when I was probably eight years old, but if I remember correctly each episode was a self-contained documentary on a given target (like, say, the Loch Ness Monster) with the only connective tissue between episodes being Nemoy's narration. Seems like a fit if Errol Morris' TV work fits

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knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#20 Post by knives » Sun Jul 07, 2013 3:06 pm

Likewise I could see maybe individual episodes of California's Gold being chosen though obviously not the whole show. Beyond host the episodes have so little to do with one another it makes sense to be allowed (though personally I wouldn't dream of voting for it).

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matrixschmatrix
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 11:26 pm

Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#21 Post by matrixschmatrix » Sun Jul 07, 2013 3:18 pm

Fair enough. To help me out at the end of this project, I'm going to put a submission guide in the OP- on Animation, a lot of the music video kind of stuff wound up taking me a lot of time to track down information about, so please everyone who submits follow the guide and save me a bunch of time.

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Lowry_Sam
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Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#22 Post by Lowry_Sam » Sun Jul 07, 2013 3:50 pm

knives wrote: The Lacey Rituals: The BFI just released this fantabulous exercise in everything that can be interpreted a million ways such as a communal form of filmmaking, a look into the lies that go into truth documentaries, and Bruce Lacey's own call of observing the most mundane tasks of human life so that they will never be lost. In building this conceit that all footage shot no matter how mucked up will be in the film the movie seems to mock those in the verite movement who suggest that they are filming actuality. Of course the Lacey's are never so cruel so eventually they turn the camera and motive fully on them and how they are leaving behind the truth with the very presence of the camera. This reaches its emotional climax in a truly shocking scene that paints nakedly what the camera has done to the whole family's psychology.
Sounds a bit like a UK version of the PBS series An American Family, which I could have sworn I took out from my local library (complete series), but looks to be only available in a truncated 2 hour edit on Amazon.

Having mentioned PBS, I can't help but mention Eyes On The Prize (part 1) which will definitely be making my top 10.

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knives
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Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#23 Post by knives » Sun Jul 07, 2013 3:52 pm

Due to a few conceits within the film there's a few pretty sizable differences between that show and The Lacey Rituals.

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MichaelB
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Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#24 Post by MichaelB » Sun Jul 07, 2013 3:54 pm

domino harvey wrote:
matrixschmatrix wrote:Minkin- to be sure you don't waste any votes, can you explain how In Search Of and California's Gold fit as anthologies and not episodes of a series? Not saying they don't, since I'm not too familiar with either, but it seems iffy and worth hashing out to me.
I have not seen In Search Of since it aired mornings on Sci-Fi when I was probably eight years old, but if I remember correctly each episode was a self-contained documentary on a given target (like, say, the Loch Ness Monster) with the only connective tissue between episodes being Nemoy's narration. Seems like a fit if Errol Morris' TV work fits
Similarly, I'm assuming that British television strands like Monitor, Omnibus and The South Bank Show won't be eligible for collective votes - Ken Russell worked for all three, but I'm certainly going to regard what he created for them as individual works (so Elgar rather than Monitor, assuming I end up voting for Elgar).

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matrixschmatrix
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 11:26 pm

Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#25 Post by matrixschmatrix » Sun Jul 07, 2013 4:26 pm

For my own use as much as that of others- I'd been wanting very badly to watch Mikhail Romm's Ordinary Fascism, and I've located it in two parts here and here.

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