Tag: Documentary

MIFF 2017: The Venerable W. is a Grim Cautionary Tale

Over the next few weeks, our writer in Melbourne, Sean W. Fallon, will be covering the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) and reviewing some of his favourite movies from the festival. Overview: A look at the conflicts between Buddhists and Muslims in Burma and the monk who has become the face of inciting racial hatred. Les Films du Losange, 2017; Rated-R; 107 mins. Hatred: The hate speech used by Ashin Wirathu (the titular W.) is incendiary, dangerous, and hard to hear. It is also talk that is so commonplace in modern society that I found myself seeing exact phrases and expressions that...

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A Life In Waves Elevates An Inspiring Life

Overview: The career of electronic music pioneer Suzanne Ciani is unpacked in this engaging documentary. Gunpowder & Sky; 2017; Not Rated; 76 minutes. The Limits Of Sound: A Life In Waves begins with Suzanne Ciani’s appearance on David Letterman in 1980, and it’s the perfect introduction to her strange, otherworldly sounds. Her career spans from classical piano, to experimental electronic music, to commercial sound design, to a deep dive in New Age music. Ciani, in testimony and archival footage, often speaks about how sound functions and how it’s created. She discusses the mood attached to manmade sounds, and how...

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“True Things about Bad People:” Nobody Speak Pushes at an Open Door

Overview: The 2016 Gawker trial gets top billing, but this documentary also looks at its broader implications for the free press. 2017; Netflix; Not Rated; 102 minutes. “Bullies always act the same”: I didn’t come into this story impartial. I was a longtime reader of Gawker and on the day its office finally closed, I was getting a haircut across the street. I saw Nick Denton and some guys in suits gathered around on the sidewalk clearly having a moment, and while interrupting seemed borderline embarrassing and definitely rude, I felt like I needed to say something. I came...

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Raising Bertie is a Beautiful Rumination of Poetry and Truth

Overview: In a rural county in North Carolina, three young men face hardship and triumph; Kartemquin Films; 2017; 90 Minutes. The Facts of Life: There’s a striking statistic about Bertie, North Carolina presented at the end of the first act of Raising Bertie, a new documentary from Director Margaret Byrne: There are 27 prisons within a 100 mile radius of the county, whose population is predominantly people of color. In cinematic form, it’s a jarring line of text, but one has to imagine that in the real life-goings on of the county, for the residents (particularly younger males) this...

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In Counterpunch, Boxing Fights for Its Life While Boxers Fight to Define Theirs

Overview: Three boxers fight to win—each with wildly different motivations, and to varying degrees of success—against the backdrop of boxing’s decline.  NR;  91 minutes, 2017; Netflix. The Set-Up: In boxing, a counterpunch is just what it sounds like: a punch to counter one that was just thrown. But in practice, it’s much more. All boxers can counterpunch, but for some fighters, what begins as technique evolves into strategy and strategy cements into style. Hear the names of counterpunching notables—Tunney, Ali, Mayweather, Marquez, Hagler, Hopkins, Holyfield—and you might wonder why everyone doesn’t fight this way. It comes down to inclination...

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