Oh honeys, I re-watched this as an accompaniment to Cronenberg's Naked Lunch. It's about the writer, Paul Bowles and his wife Jane (Tom & Joan Frost in Naked Lunch). He wrote The Sheltering Sky and it's kind of prophetic in a way but in this case it was Kit (Jane Bowles) who ended her days badly in Morroco. It's full of gossip and intrigue... The Bowles were endlessly fascinating.
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Last few eps could've been tighter - only needed 6 eps total probably. Otherwise, really great. Varied interviewees, multilayered examination of the case, the social and political context, abundant archive footage. I liked the static-noise transitions - sort of a televisual nod where the case played out so popularly, used here to collapse the past footage and present perspective. As for the McCann's, it's a fascinating, horrifying look at their situation, their type of sudden "celebrity" - the helical media appeal and dithering public opinion, and between them the frightening quickness of potential (or revealing) volte-face. It puts you in that questioning, second-guessing space, and doesn't resolve so easily. Like that montage of the mother with the doll - grief or guilt?
More too - trolls, tabloids, the Portugal police boxing out England, the ringer of suspicion, innocence sullied, and such a lengthy mystery, that, with less than answers, demands something....
Lotta stuff, and Chris Smith the director does a real impressive job. Any fans of him? He directed 1999 film-student-staple American Movie, and the amazing Jim & Andy 2017 doc.....
Watched Sarah Polley’s Stories We Tell today which I enjoyed quite a lot. Such a bizarre story of family drama and the personal interviews with each family member and person involved are incredibly raw and powerful. Like most docs it has a few dry stretches and could’ve probably used some cutting down, towards the end especially it felt like it was starting to repeat itself, but overall a very enjoyable & poignant memoir.
I guess I tuned out when this was going down in 2017, the only thing I knew about Fyre was that it was some botched music festival. So… for me there were a lot of surprises in this entertaining doc. Arguably, now my Top 5 of the Year are all Netflix docs!
From the ambitious start-up bros, for hire influencers, the social media marketing gurus… their job simulating and selling a dream, the fulfillment of which is impossible, taking them to lengths at times absurd, hilarious, and then ultimately illegal, with the unpaid labor and fraud… It’s sort of a parable of our times. Between the star-studded promise of the event and the supremely arrogant Billy who is both its ringleader and its microcosm, they represent the paradoxical hype machine, all external appeal and pledged success to lure the rapt and the gullible. It’s like Plato’s allegory of the rave! (wink) where the festival goers don’t realize (until it’s too late) that they’ve bought into a faux-reality.
Chris Smith the director does another impressive doc job - leanly doesn’t lag for a second, smartly using the ample footage which is ironically available bc of those involved like Billy who were cataloguing their trek of success! - at one point Billy spills his beer on a map of the island.
I like how Smith uses the ‘Fyre countdown’ as foreboding, and the way he folds in the personal stakes and professional conflicts of the interviewees, and thankfully he doesn’t chomp on the obvious bait that such an event could be seen as an instagram era parable - we’re so aware of the broader context that bringing it in would weaken the affair with didactic finger-wagging. One more thing - with Smith having done American Movie, about passionate amateur filmmaking, you can draw parallels with this as a bloviated tentpole, its inverse....
I Love You, Now Die: The Commonwealth v. Michelle Carter (2019) from HBO
This was pretty good and engaging, but definitely not on the level of the other docs this year that are on Netflix. For one, it feels a little unorganized, jumping all over the timeline at its own convenience, the interviewees aren't great, and its attempts to build and broaden, with the divided public opinion and the psychoanalyzing of Michelle, mainly just spur its oddly comic aspect. She's awful, pathetic, borderline evil... deeply insecure and misguided too... her behavior is as absurd as it is chilling, and the filmmaker can't navigate that tone. Some of this invites mockery, such as the scholar calling her a modern witch, or her texts.... "If you do a last tweet, can it be about me?" or when her bf says her "I'm scared babe" and she goes "Aw you called me babe!"
The extent of her lying and the question of her self-awareness and motivation is the most compelling part; the filmmaker only gets her hands on the bf's family or other peripheral "characters" and so we only get to really gauge Michelle thru her texts, often appearing on screen they are the predominant device and what sources the doc. But I'm left with questions - what was her family life like? what did she do for nearly two years during the appeals process? For someone whose seeming entity was attention seeking and fulfilling a fantasy, at any cost, I feel like we were missing a punchline or deeper ending note...
Post by The_Cake_of_Roth on Jul 12, 2019 3:32:55 GMT
Just saw Christopher Nolan's 8-minute documentary short Quay, which was part of a longer program of short films by the Quay brothers that was screened at Austin Film Society. A brief, but interesting glimpse inside the animators' work space, their scrupulous attention to detail in the filmmaking process, and their eccentric personalities. I appreciated Nolan's decision to maintain the focus on the subjects themselves rather than insert himself into the proceedings, eschewing narration or commentary of any kind... though part of me was curious to hear from him about what he personally values in their work, since it's so outside anything he's done as a director.
This doc felt like a miniature love letter to filmmaking in the way it spotlights the craft of small-scale artistry (which is interesting coming from someone who typically works on a large canvas). It was funny seeing the Syncopy logo in front of something that wasn't a blockbuster, and now I'm anxious to see a full-length, out-of-left-field documentary from Nolan someday.
An ideal doc for anyone who doesn't want Trump to get reelected. This isn't about Trump but a town with a fabric that has no place for liberalism. It's mostly a farming/religious community with a limited field of work opportunity: teaching, farming, retail, cooking, etc. These are the towns that never get any coverage, unless they're profiled by the likes of Frederick Wiseman. God bless him.
A visual and aural feast - seriously, this film is a sensual celebration. Alexander McQueen's designs are given the reverent display they deserve. I just don't think the film dug deeply enough into McQueen's psyche - there isn't a distinct enough line drawn between his tortured artistry and his suicide at 40.
Definitely worth watching though, whether you're into fashion or not.
A great example of self-propaganda. It's a self-portrait of Idi Amin (Though not directed by him; Barbet Schroeder) that tries to make him look like a fun-loving man, when in reality he was anything but. I'm sure Trump views himself in a similar light.
Last Edit: Aug 10, 2019 22:46:36 GMT by erickeitel