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I was so taken by the chief

How he can move gigantic marble blocks, but his own movements are light? An excerpt from Il Capo by Yuri Ancarani, which follows a foreman at a marble quarry.
posted by klangklangston on Oct 24, 2014 - 22 comments

Rick Was Here, a short film on the NYU dorm room where Def Jam started

30 years ago, Rick Rubin was a college student, living in NYU's Weinstein Residence Hall, room #712. It was there that Def Jam Records was formed, shifting the focus of hip-hop from the MCs to promote the DJs, too. Rubin and his label quickly outgrew the dorm, and he hasn't been back since. Recently he returned, and the adventure was captured and put into context by Rolling Stone Film's mini-documentary, Rick Was Here. New footage rolls alongside old, with some animations to bring a few audio-only stories to life. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Oct 20, 2014 - 13 comments

"...to stay conscious and alive, day in and day out."

Endnotes: David Foster Wallace, BBC Documentary. [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Oct 19, 2014 - 5 comments

Duncan Campbell's Secret Society - BBC Documentary Series - 1987

This is Duncan Campbell's BBC documentary series Secret Society which shows the never broadcast episode on secret groups, committees and societies that operate silently within British government. The first episode about secret cabinet committees features author Peter Hennessy, Clive Ponting and MP Clement Freud amongst others. It also contains the infamous Zircon spy satellite epsode. [Warning - Vimeo - alternative links for four of these are at Archive.org.] [more inside]
posted by marienbad on Oct 12, 2014 - 8 comments

So we're back to nothing! What should we do to make something of it?

Paul Klee: The Silence of the Angel (2005; 51:14) is a documentary about the painter whose lectures/notebooks, The Thinking Eye and The Nature of Nature, have been called "the most complete presentation of the principles of design ever made by a modern artist ... it constitutes the Principia Aesthetica of a new era of art, in which Klee occupies a position comparable to Newton's in the realm of physics."
posted by Monsieur Caution on Oct 10, 2014 - 6 comments

When we do this, we feel alive. And when we feel alive, we are happy.*

While Prohibition may have withered the American drinker’s palate and understanding & sent the most talented drink-slingers into exile, cocktails are back, and better than ever! And who are the people that have brought the all-but-dead art of America’s contribution to world drinks culture (and the profession & craft of the Bartender) back to stunning, exuberant life? Hey Bartender! [more inside]
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey on Oct 6, 2014 - 3 comments

Cowspiracy is a documentary now being screened

Cowspiracy is a crowdfunded documentary now being screened that examines the environmental impact of animal agriculture and seeks to examine why prominent environmental groups have apparently not made it a focus of their efforts. David Robinson Simon, the author of Meatonomics who appears in the film, interviews filmmakers Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn. [more inside]
posted by Drinky Die on Oct 4, 2014 - 32 comments

Spacedrum and Hang, evolution of the steelpan drum

This solo performance of "New Moon" on a Spacedrum by Yuki Koshimoto is mesmerizing, but without much context. Who is she, and what is her instrument? This blog post has a bit more on Yuki, and here is some information on Metalsounds' Spacedrum and other similar metal instruments. If you want more background on the instrument, here's a documentary on the PANArt Hang, something of the predecessor to the Spacedrum, both of which have evolved from the steelpan or steel drum. Going back further, here's Toshi and Pete Seeger, documenting the making of a steel drum, in 1956.
posted by filthy light thief on Sep 28, 2014 - 9 comments

Don't Follow Me (I'm Lost)

Born to Nashville music royalty. Grew up next to George Jones and Tammy Wynette. Had a #2 record on the country charts at age eight. Had a minor alt-rock hit for the same major label as Korn and Incubus in his 30's. His mentor was Shel Silverstein. One of his bands, The Young Criminals Starvation League has featured members of My Morning Jacket, Lambchop, ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, Clem Snide, and myriad others. His other band Is She Weird? Is She White? plays Pixies and Breeders covers on weekends in Nashville. Unless he's opening for Guided by Voices or playing someone's living room. Or delivering lost luggage to pay the bills.

It's a hell of a life singer-songwriter Bobby Bare, Jr. has had. It's only makes sense that someone went and made a movie about him: Don't Follow Me (I'm Lost). Sample the trailer. [more inside]
posted by DirtyOldTown on Sep 24, 2014 - 17 comments

The 50 Year Argument

The New York Review of Books recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of its founding (previously), growing out of an alliance between Harpers editor Robert Silvers and writer Elizabeth Hardwick to find a place for what she called "the unusual, the difficult, the lengthy, the intransigent, and above all, the interesting." Known as the New York Review or the NYRB, it is also known to fans as the best magazine in the world. Next Monday, HBO will air The 50-Year Argument, a documentary by Martin Scorsese about the history of the magazine and what makes it special. [more inside]
posted by grobstein on Sep 24, 2014 - 19 comments

"That Saturday was really a normal Saturday, like any other Saturday,"

In This Horror Film, Blood Is All Too Real [New York Times] ‘Terror at the Mall’ on HBO documents an Attack in Kenya.
One year ago, gunmen from the Shabab militant group in Somalia laid siege to the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya. Armed with AK-47s and grenades, they stalked their victims from a gourmet burger restaurant at the entrance to the vegetable aisle of a grocery store at the back. The British filmmaker Dan Reed assembled thousands of hours of footage gleaned from more than 100 security cameras inside the mall, video from television crews and modest cellphones, as well as still photographs. Then he and his team tracked down more than 200 people and interviewed 82 of them on camera, many survivors or their rescuers.
[more inside]
posted by Fizz on Sep 17, 2014 - 2 comments

If you can dream it, you can do it. But you have to be able to dream it.

81 year-old Charlie goes to Burning Man. (NSFW)
posted by loquacious on Sep 13, 2014 - 15 comments

Windows on the World That Was

In June 2001, Estonian immigrant Konstantin Petrov got a job as an electrician for Windows on the World, the famous restaurant in the World Trade Center. The New Yorker has an article about the recent discovery of a trove of photographs he took during lulls in his shifts, an incredible record of the complex before the events of thirteen years ago. [more inside]
posted by theartandsound on Sep 10, 2014 - 16 comments

Stop and Seize: An Investigation into Asset Forfeiture

Stop and Seize: Aggressive police take hundreds of millions of dollars from motorists not charged with crimes. A multimedia investigation by the Washington Post.
posted by milquetoast on Sep 7, 2014 - 67 comments

is global collapse imminent?

Limits to Growth was right. New research shows we're nearing collapse [more inside]
posted by flex on Sep 4, 2014 - 61 comments

"For years I lived in the dark, part dead, part asleep...."

"... now, my sight and my world and my life have all returned." Vision: Healing the Blind in Ethiopia [vimeo, 10m] [more inside]
posted by Westringia F. on Aug 29, 2014 - 8 comments

For Kate I wait: BBC documentary and first live show in 35 years

Last night, Kate Bush performed her first concert in 35 years at London’s Hammersmith Apollo. She last toured in 1979, following the release of Lionheart. "Not since the surviving members of Led Zeppelin reunited for a one-off show in 2007 has there been such hype over a comeback." - The Guardian. Last week, BBC 4 released an hour-long documentary called The Kate Bush Story: Running Up That Hill that reflects on Bush’s long and enigmatic career. It features appearances from Peter Gabriel, Elton John, Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, Tori Amos, Annie Clark, Big Boi, Bat For Lashes’ Natasha Kahn, and more. Vimeo link. Guardian review.
posted by porn in the woods on Aug 27, 2014 - 58 comments

Splat.

Are your palms nice and dry? Is your stomach failing to churn? Watch Don't Look Down, a Channel 4 profile of freerunner James Kingston that follows him to the Ukraine to fulfill his need to make other people nervous by climbing (and doing backflips on) cranes, bridges, and buildings.
posted by item on Aug 21, 2014 - 23 comments

Dancehall in Japan

Dancehall in Japan. A short mini documentary from the Scene Unseen project at #ListenForYourself. [more inside]
posted by chunking express on Aug 20, 2014 - 5 comments

"I keep the tank in Wales."

Aphex Twin at Big Love, Otmoor Park, UK on MTV in 28/10/96 (Interview, video clips, etc.) [SLYT]
posted by Fizz on Aug 19, 2014 - 4 comments

Run you cowardly Italian!

On 16 April 1746, the Jacobite forces of Charles Edward Stuart fought loyalist troops commanded by William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland near Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. In 1964, Peter Watkins wrote and produced a docudrama for the BBC, from the perspective of a documentary crew on the ground, depicting the battle and its aftermath: Culloden. [1:12:14]
posted by cthuljew on Aug 18, 2014 - 15 comments

Her Noise - The Making Of (2007)

Her Noise - The Making Of (2007) - running time ~60 minutes. The video documents the development of Her Noise between 2001 and 2005 and features interviews with artists including Diamanda Galas, Lydia Lunch, Kim Gordon, Jutta Koether, Peaches, Marina Rosenfeld, Kembra Pfhaler, Chicks On Speed, Else Marie Pade, Kaffe Matthews, Emma Hedditch, Christina Kubisch and the show's curators, Lina Dzuverovic and Anne Hilde Neset. The documentary also features excerpts from live performances held during Her Noise by Kim Gordon, Jutta Koether and Jenny Hoyston (Erase Errata), Christina Carter, Heather Leigh Murray, Ana Da Silva (The Raincoats), Spider And The Webs, Partyline, Marina Rosenfeld's 'Emotional Orchestra' at Tate Modern, and footage compiled for the 'Men in Experimental Music' video made during the development of the Her Noise project by the curators and Kim Gordon, featuring Thurston Moore and Jim O'Rourke. [more inside]
posted by Ufez Jones on Jul 29, 2014 - 3 comments

George Martin - In My Life

In 1998, after over 40 years in the music studio, orchestral arranger and music producer Sir George Martin (the 5th Beatle, or maybe the 6th, or possibly the 7th, depending on how you count or where your priorities lie) decided he was going to retire with a selfish project: recording an album (mostly) entirely of Beatles songs. This ~50 minute BBC documentary recorded many moments from the creation of this swan song, In My Life. The film features interviews with and studio footage of Phil Collins, Robin Williams, Bobby McFerrin, JohnWilliams (classical guitarist, not Star Wars composer), Goldie Hawn, Jim Carrey, and Céline Dion. [more inside]
posted by hippybear on Jul 25, 2014 - 18 comments

Recreating everything in Sun Records sound

Studio engineer Matt Ross-Spang wasn't even born when most of Sun's most famous records were cut. Nonetheless, he's thought a lot about what makes them sound the way they do (transcript). Matt has been buying up old gear for a few years, returning the Sun Records studio to a vintage state (with a few exceptions), and he is still practicing "sonic archaeology," trying to figure out how Sam Phillips made records sound like Sun Records. There's more to it than the Sun tape echo. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 24, 2014 - 11 comments

Teddy Gray's

Teddy Gray's Sweet Factory is a short and sweet documentary by Martin Parr about a traditionally owned and run confectionery factory in the British Midlands. [via kottke]
posted by carter on Jul 21, 2014 - 16 comments

A Tale of Internet Spaceships

A Tale of Internet Spaceships - A crowd funded documentary on the video game, Eve Online. Filmed at the annual CCP FanFest, a look at the unique world of spaceships, spreadsheets, diplomacy, community, and inevitable betrayal.
posted by Argyle on Jul 12, 2014 - 4 comments

Radio Ambulante

Radio Ambulante [Español] has been called "This Latin American Life". It is long-form non-breaking-news documentary journalism from across Latin America. It was recently featured in an episode of On The Media which looked at Latino and Hispanic media in the US. While the majority of its content is in Spanish, they do have some stories en Inglés.
posted by hippybear on Jul 8, 2014 - 3 comments

Traction Park, redux

The World's Most Dangerous Amusement Park Opens Its Gates Again: (Class) Action Park, perennial MetaFilter favorite, is back in business! [more inside]
posted by flex on Jul 8, 2014 - 56 comments

"She was actually not even in the United States on Sept. 11."

The Woman Who Wasn't There. Her husband died in the attacks. She barely escaped from the south tower. But a new book chronicles the (literally) unbelievable story of 9/11’s most famous ‘survivor.’ [more inside]
posted by MisantropicPainforest on Jul 8, 2014 - 75 comments

The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz

Brian Knappenberger's The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz is available to watch for free in its entirety thanks to the Internet Archive. [more inside]
posted by gman on Jul 6, 2014 - 18 comments

"There are specific instructions when Isaac Hayes comes on."

Wattstax [SLYT] is a 1973 documentary film about the 1972 Wattstax music festival, held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the Watts riots. Featuring performances by Isaac Hayes, Albert King, Rufus and Carla Thomas, The Staple Singers, The Emotions, The Bar-Kays, and other greats of soul, R&B, and gospel, Wattstax also incorporates relatively unknown comic Richard Pryor's musings on life for black Americans in 1972, "man-and-woman-on-the-street" interviews, and audience footage. [NSFW] [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on Jul 3, 2014 - 23 comments

"The movies are like a machine that generates empathy."

Life Itself. The documentary based on Roger Ebert’s memoir, by Hoop Dreams’ director Steve James, premiered at Sundance in January and is now rolling out in theaters and on demand.
posted by scody on Jul 2, 2014 - 6 comments

"I create forms and ideas, but I'm not responsible for them."

In Search of Moebius [SLYT]
posted by Fizz on Jul 2, 2014 - 8 comments

“...like Michael Moore, only not mean.”

Rick Sebak, Pittsburgh’s resident documentarian and the inventor of the scrapbook documentary, has a brand new documentary out: A History of Pittsburgh in 17 Objects. Don’t know about the quirky joys of Rick Sebak, or of Pittsburgh? This is your lucky day. [more inside]
posted by Stacey on Jul 1, 2014 - 33 comments

Moa's Ark

Moa’s Ark (1990) [more inside]
posted by Start with Dessert on Jun 29, 2014 - 3 comments

Prince in the 1980s: a documentary

A documentary of unknown provenance on Prince in the 1980s.
posted by MoonOrb on Jun 19, 2014 - 11 comments

Les Invisibles

Les Invisibles: Vintage Portraits of Love and Pride is a collection of found photographs by film-maker Sébastien Lifshitz showing (mostly anonymous) gay couples together in the early years of the 20th century. 'He found most of his collection in the US and western Europe, but none in the UK: “Maybe the British think such photographs have no value, or are too private to sell.”'. In 2012, Lifshitz released Les Invisibles, a related documentary exploring the lives of 11 gay and lesbian individuals over the age of 70. [more inside]
posted by dng on Jun 17, 2014 - 8 comments

“Is it about a bicycle?”

Flann O'Brien: The Lives of Brian [VIMEO]: A documentary about Flann O'Brien aka Brian O'Nolan. [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Jun 13, 2014 - 13 comments

"It will ache in my chest the rest of my life."

On May 13th, the film world was shocked and saddened by the tragic death of documentary filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul, who had won an Oscar just last year for the documentary "Searching for Sugar Man". In the month that has passed since then, more details have emerged of the months and days that led up to his suicide. The Hollywood Reporter profiles the life and death of Bendjelloul and takes a look at how sudden success can bring about even more sudden depression.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Jun 11, 2014 - 16 comments

"The Clash would have KILLED to have come from Derry"

Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland, was a dangerous place to be in the late 1970s. With bombs, shootings, British Army Patrols, riots on the streets, and The Ramones and New York Dolls on the turntable, the most punk thing 5 Catholic lads could do was to sing upbeat songs about adolescent lust, girls, getting nowhere with said girls, and the general struggles of being young. In the bleeding heart of The Troubles, The Undertones escaped by dreaming of a life more ordinary. [more inside]
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey on Jun 11, 2014 - 38 comments

They know when the boxed bird sings.

Vinkensport (finch sport), or vinkenzetting (finch sitting) is a Belgian, primarily Flemish, sport involving a box, a bird, and a counting stick. The bird that sings the most times in an hour wins. Here is a short and somewhat doubtful documentary.
posted by hydrophonic on Jun 4, 2014 - 9 comments

It's like The Oscars, but with just the good parts

In a world On May 30th the 15th Annual Golden Trailer Awards were handed out in Beverly Hills, CA. There are a total of 75 categories; the 17 top awards were handed out live at the sold-out show and are linked below the fold. [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on Jun 4, 2014 - 11 comments

“It is the year 2001. You’re on your way to a space station…"

2001: A Space Odyssey -- A Look Behind the Future. In 1966, Look magazine released a documentary on the making of Stanly Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and the science featured in the film. Vernon Myers, the publisher and president of the magazine, bookends the documentary, announcing that Look would feature the film in its magazine to coincide with its then-1967 release date. If you remember, Kubrick got his start in photography working for the magazine as a young man, so it makes sense that his former-employer would want to feature his upcoming film.
posted by KokuRyu on Jun 2, 2014 - 3 comments

"We are the facilitators of our own creative evolution."

Since his death from cancer at age 32, comedian Bill Hicks's (very previously) legend and stature have only grown; American: The Bill Hicks Story (previously) fills in the details of a life cut tragically short, blending live footage and animation, and is narrated by the 10 people who knew Bill best. A comic's comic and unflagging critic of hypocrisy and cultural emptiness, American: The Bill Hicks Story is now streaming for free on Snag Films.
posted by Room 641-A on May 28, 2014 - 76 comments

‘And This Is Free’ (1964)

A 50 minute documentary about Maxwell Street Market and musicians in Chicago (I interpret the title with an implicit accusatory question mark.) Mike Shea—previously a photographer for Life, Look and Time—directed this exquisitely composed, Frederick Wiseman-esque documentary that lurches between the wiles and complaints of street vendors to some astoundingly well-recorded street side blues performances—recorded by Gordon Quinn. Most notably numerous songs by Robert Nighthawk and one electrifying performance by Carrie Robinson. There's also one seriously awesome-looking house party. [more inside]
posted by zbsachs on May 14, 2014 - 10 comments

Making B7: Behind the scenes of "The Dirty Dozen in Space"

Before there was Firefly, after there was Star Trek, in between there was… Blake's 7 (previously). The BBC's dystopian space opera ran for four series, ended with arguably the bleakest finale in sci-fi TV, yet never achieved popularity in proportion to its influence. To accompany its DVD release, documentary filmmaker Kevin Jon Davies prepared making-of videos for the first three series, which he has now posted YouTube: Series 1, Series 2, Series 3. Learn the origins of Blake's dysfunctional band of freedom-fighters, the secrets of the show's horrible SFX, watch the cast read aloud their worst reviews, and much more!
posted by Doktor Zed on May 13, 2014 - 32 comments

Forty-three Werner Herzog films that can be streamed

Inside, please find a list of forty-three movies, TV episodes, and short subjects by Werner Herzog, all of which can be streamed, along with some short descriptions of their content. One or two of the films are in German without subtitles; this is noted in the description. [more inside]
posted by Going To Maine on May 4, 2014 - 65 comments

Hold me tight

Valley of Dolls
Eleven years ago, Ayano Tsukimi returned to her home in Nagoro. Confronted with constant departures, she has populated the village with dolls, each representing a former villager. Around 350 of the giant dolls now reside in and around Nagoro, replacing those that died or abandoned the village years ago.

In a recent documentary titled The Valley Of Dolls, Fritz Schumann explores Tsukimi's world, highlighting the time and artistry that goes into making the figures, and explaining her motivations. In it we're shown around a local school, once filled with children and teachers, that now houses dozens of dolls, sitting statically, waiting for class to begin.

posted by infini on May 3, 2014 - 13 comments

I wanted to incorporate the city and its inhabitants into my filmmaking.

No Your City In a city of over 8 million people, it is impossible to walk the streets without running into interesting New Yorkers with unique relationships to the city. Whether it is Don Ward, the best shoe-shiner in Manhattan or Te'Devan the 6'7" Nomadic-Jewish-Healing-Freestyler. Everyone has a story that is worth hearing, but unfortunately most of them go unheard. New York City is the busiest place on earth and it is rare for someone to take a few minutes out of their schedule to stop and chat with a fellow New Yorker. No Your City is an 8-part documentary series that offers a glimpse into the lives of these extraordinary New York City inhabitants. [more inside]
posted by davidstandaford on Apr 30, 2014 - 12 comments

“Why in the world would someone be doing this with a rabbit?”

You've heard of dog and horse shows, but are you familiar with rabbit shows?  Rabbit Fever is a coming-of-age story that follows six competitors as they strive to win the top title at the National American Rabbit Convention - an event that draws more than 20,000 rabbits in one building, the largest mass of rabbits in the world. While adult members of the rabbit habit compete for BEST IN SHOW, the teenage enthusiasts quest for an even more coveted honor in the rabbit community - Rabbit King and Queen!
posted by Room 641-A on Apr 24, 2014 - 16 comments

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