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The Story of the Jews

The critically-acclaimed BBC production The Story of the Jews, written and presented by historian (and foodie) Simon Schama, can be viewed online by people with access to BBC iPlayer TV programs. It will be shown in the USA on PBS later this year. [more inside]
posted by Joe in Australia on Sep 30, 2013 - 25 comments

 

I've got a bird, I've got several turtles, I have a couple of toads

Mia & Roman (1968) is a 23 minute-long behind-the-scenes documentary about the making of Roman Polanski's film Rosemary's Baby.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED on Sep 20, 2013 - 6 comments

Soviet Storm

If you're curious about the Eastern Front in World War II, the Russian produced, English spoken Soviet Storm: World War II in the East is obligatory viewing and now all eighteen episodes are available on Youtube. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse on Sep 8, 2013 - 56 comments

artists in their own words

Painters on Painting - 1972 documentary on the New York Art Scene 1940-1970, directed by Emile de Antonio. It spans American art movements from abstract expressionism to pop art via conversations with artists in their studios. Including Willem de Kooning, Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Helen Frankenthaler, Frank Stella, Hans Hofmann, Robert Motherwell and others. (via Bibliokept) [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive on Sep 2, 2013 - 8 comments

Spoiler Alert: James Cameron is difficult.

Originally created as a special feature for the out-of-print 2003 Aliens DVD, Superior Firepower: The Making of 'Aliens' is a warts-and-all documentary about the making of the film.
posted by griphus on Aug 30, 2013 - 44 comments

A Day in Vienna

Tom Waits - A Day in Vienna. "In 1978 or 1979 (we’ll get to that in a minute), Tom Waits was touring Europe. He had a concert in Vienna the day after a show in Amsterdam. He showed up in Vienna and was greeted by two young men named Rudi Dolezal and Hannes Rossacher, employees of ORF (Österreichischer Rundfunk, i.e. Austrian television) with the proposal of shooting an interview while he was in town. Waits countered with a better idea."
posted by homunculus on Aug 29, 2013 - 10 comments

We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Inside the Making of Dr. Strangelove is a fascinating, informative and often surprising 46 minute documentary that offers a thorough and loving look at the creation of Stanley Kubrick's classic of modern cinema.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Aug 27, 2013 - 3 comments

El Gusto of Algeria: the band's back together, after decades apart

It all started with a mirror in the Casbah. Well, it re-started with that mirror, when Safinez Bousbia, who is of Algerian descent but had never visited the country, went to visit with a friend from Ireland. Bousbia commented on the artistry of a mirror. Mohamed Ferkioui, the shopkeeper and artist, told her that he also made music, but had lost contact with his former friends and band-mates, but he had so many memories and items from that past period of his life. As he showed them to Bousbia, she decided she wanted to get the band back together. Her short stay extended into a few years, and she documented the reunion of friends and the playing of a traditional Algerian music style called chaabi, which is a mix of North African polyrhythms, Andalusian classical music, jazz, flamenco and French cabaret. The result was El Gusto (auto-playing music). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 11, 2013 - 5 comments

DEFCON: The Documentary, a record of the 20th annual conference

DEFCON is one of the world's largest hacker conventions, and for its 20th year, MeFite and technology documentarian jscott was asked to capture the event as best as he could. Almost 300 hours of footage was cut down to a two hour documentary, which has been recently released online in HD (YouTube, Vimeo, Archive.org, and an official torrent from DEFCON). More details on IMDb. [via mefi projects] [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 10, 2013 - 27 comments

It Can Wait Presents...

One Second to the Next - Werner Herzog's 35 minute documentary on texting while driving.
posted by dobbs on Aug 8, 2013 - 51 comments

"People treated it with respect, but didn't particularly enjoy it."

In 1973, The Who released their sixth album, Quadrophenia. The epic double album tells the story of a boy named Jimmy Cooper who deals with mental illness on top of the run-of-the-mill stresses of teen life. But Jimmy Cooper isn't just any London teen.  Jimmy Cooper is a Mod. [more inside]
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey on Jul 29, 2013 - 68 comments

Boom And Bust

Bankrupt By Beanies - A short documentary about what happened to people after the "Beanie Babies as investments" fad wore down. (YouTube, 8:30)
posted by The Whelk on Jul 27, 2013 - 167 comments

"Sometimes he talks about art in his sleep."

The Pixel Painter is a short documentary about Hal Lasko, a 97-year-old artist who paints in Microsoft Paint. [more inside]
posted by oulipian on Jul 23, 2013 - 22 comments

Who are you? I really wanna know.

Between 1959 to 1970, late English film director Ken Russell (The Who's Tommy and Women in Love) created art documentaries for the BBC, many of them unusual adaptations of artists' lives. The documentaries included The Debussy Film, Dante's Inferno, Isadora, Song of Summer, and Always on Sunday. Bonus: Ken Russell in Conversation and Ken Russell at Work. Previously.
posted by seemoreglass on Jul 18, 2013 - 3 comments

Dear Mr. Watterson

Joel Schroeder, with the help of Kickstarter, has finally finished a documentary about Calvin and Hobbes and its creator, Bill Watterson. It's scheduled to be released on Nov. 15, 2013.
posted by reenum on Jul 16, 2013 - 36 comments

If your suffering leads to our suffering, you may be liable for damages.

The new documentary "Terms And Conditions May Apply," about the privacy overreach of major tech companies, presents its trailer on a cleverly written page of terms and conditions.
posted by mark7570 on Jul 11, 2013 - 11 comments

Six Months at Sea in the Merchant Marine

Martin Machado's short and serene documentary about his experiences working on a container ship. [more inside]
posted by Monsieur Caution on Jul 8, 2013 - 19 comments

Rupert Everett, Really Into Dead Victorian Dreamboats

In 2008 the actor Rupert Everett hosted (seemingly from his apartment) a rather strange documentary: The Victorian Sex Explorer ( 2 3 4 5 ), an attempt to follow in the footsteps of famed Explorer, translator, and author Sir Richard Burton and convince us of Sir Burton's passion for sexual experimentation while laying in lots of bathhouses and visiting brothels. [more inside]
posted by The Whelk on Jul 4, 2013 - 52 comments

If another nation was doing this to our children, we'd be at war.

"The story of American families facing food insecurity is as frustrating as it is heartbreaking, because the truth is as avoidable as it is tragic. Here in the richest country on earth, 50 million of us — one in six Americans — go hungry. More than a third of them are children. And yet Congress can’t pass a Farm Bill because our representatives continue to fight over how many billions to slash from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as food stamps. The debate is filled with tired clichés about freeloaders undeserving of government help, living large at the expense of honest, hardworking taxpayers." Bill Moyers spends an hour with two of the creators of the documentary "A Place at the Table." [more inside]
posted by jbickers on Jul 3, 2013 - 76 comments

A Clean House Is A Safe House.

" The House In The Middle" A 1954 Civil Defense film shows how you can protect your home against atomic firestorms via good housekeeping (13 min, YouTube)
posted by The Whelk on Jun 29, 2013 - 44 comments

Rape on the Job in America

Rape in the Fields is a Frontline documentary that explores the persistent allegations that female agricultural workers in the U.S. are frequently sexually assaulted and harassed by supervisors who exploit their (often undocumented) immigrant status. Victims typically do not seek help from US law enforcement, either out of fear that they will be fired, deported or worse, or from a lack of understanding of U.S. law. Reviews: Popmatters. NY Times [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 26, 2013 - 19 comments

Ain't No Such Thing As A UFO

Mirage Men is a book and documentary by fortean investigator and author Mark Pilkington on governmental manipulation and general mindfuckery of UFO investigators. "In 1983, while researching a documentary on the subject of UFOs for HBO, [Linda Howe] was engaged by Richard 'Rick' Doty, an agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI), initially with the promise of helping her investigate an alleged UFO landing near Ellsworth Air Force Base. But Howe's meeting with Doty took an unexpected turn when the AFOSI agent suddenly produced a manila folder, saying she could take a look at it but, not remove it from the office or make notes. Within it was a document titled "Briefing Paper for the President of the United States of America on the Subject of Unidentified Aerial Vehicles", which listed a number of alleged UFO crash retrievals by the government, as well as paragraphs that became "emblazoned" on Howe's mind concerning how they had discovered that Homo sapiens was a species created by extraterrestrials through genetic manipulation of primates." [more inside]
posted by artof.mulata on Jun 16, 2013 - 47 comments

In Space, No One Can Hear You Cough Politely

Project Kronos: is a documentary film set in the not too distant future, following a mission to achieve interstellar space travel. As the mission unfolds with extraordinary results, the scientists find themselves dealing with a much bigger agenda.
posted by lemuring on Jun 15, 2013 - 15 comments

Robert - Portrait of an Art-er

Robert is a little known artist and long time resident of Franklin New York. In the late nineties, Robert began constructing fantastic stone castles and keeps from native stone, in his small backyard. He has since created amazingly unique works at the homes of several Franklin residents. But, Robert's artistic interests and instincts go way beyond his stonework in ways that are surprising and very enlightening.
posted by VicNebulous on Jun 12, 2013 - 2 comments

Peter Sellers documentary 1969

Will The Real Mr Sellers Please Stand Up - a rare ~50min film narrated by Spike Milligan and made during the filming of 'The Magic Christian'*via Cinephilia and Beyond. [NSFW - some nudity] [more inside]
posted by peacay on Jun 11, 2013 - 12 comments

Here we glimpse a future in which all mysteries are solved

Toute la mémoire du monde (1956: 21 minutes) is a remarkably lovely documentary short by Alain Resnais about the Bibliothèque nationale de France in the age of print. Via The Funambulist. [more inside]
posted by theodolite on Jun 8, 2013 - 5 comments

Sit up straight!

Short documentary film (SLNYT) about 91 year old George Weedon, former Olympic gymnast. Free posture advice included.
posted by neilb449 on Jun 8, 2013 - 5 comments

"I detest audiences....I think they're a force of evil."

Glenn Gould on and off the record. The Russian Journey. Extasis. Thirty-Two Short Films About Glenn Gould. The Goldberg Variations (1955), (1981). The Well-Tempered Clavier. Beethoven Sonatas. The Idea of North. TL;DW: Gould plays Bach
posted by seemoreglass on Jun 4, 2013 - 19 comments

The Last Ice Merchant

"The natural ice from Chimborazo is the best ice. The tastiest and sweetest. Full of vitamins for your bones. But nobody wants natural ice from Chimborazo anymore. They have factory ice. My father taught me and my brothers how to work in the ice mines. My name is Baltazar Ushca Tenesaca. Now I'm the only ice merchant of Chimborazo." El Último Hielero (The Last Ice Merchant), is a short documentary. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jun 3, 2013 - 24 comments

Music on planet Earth would never be the same again.

"40 years ago, in millions of living room across the British Isles, a strange alien creature was beamed on to our television screens. With bright red hair and multicolored spacesuit, his unearthly appearance shocked the nation. But for many teenagers who experienced this televisual visitation, he would change their lives forever." Jarvis Cocker narrates the BBC Four documentary, David Bowie -- The Story of Ziggy Stardust.
posted by Room 641-A on May 30, 2013 - 18 comments

Transcript on the right; annotation on the left.

Wikileaks responds with line by line refutation of the new documentary We Steal Secrets. {via}
posted by dobbs on May 26, 2013 - 114 comments

"You know, you have a very musical voice."

You've probably never heard anything quite like the musical documentary More About Henry. Remixing interviews with musical interpretation, composer Adam Goddard has woven a unique work of art from the stories of his grandfather, Henry Robert Tindale Haws, who spent a half-century farming in rural Ontario. More About Henry first aired on CBC Radio's Ideas. [more inside]
posted by oulipian on May 26, 2013 - 1 comment

"I just want to leave enough images behind that I'll never be forgotten"

The project centers on nine women in the feminist lesbian porn industry who are recorded for a 24-hour period, with 10-second blips of their everyday lives playing out in five-minute intervals. What’s revealed is an intimate portrait of a marginalized community opening up about sex, gender politics, depression, and their daily grind in a way that’s downright real.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on May 18, 2013 - 4 comments

This is victory. This is what winning looks like.

"This is What Winning Looks Like is a disturbing new documentary about the ineptitude, drug abuse, sexual misconduct, and corruption of the Afghan security forces as well as the reduced role of US Marines due to the troop withdrawal." [via vice] [more inside]
posted by Drexen on May 17, 2013 - 45 comments

(working title)

The Untitled Black Lesbian Elder Project is an amazing Tumblr with photos, quotations, film excerpts, and ephemera that accompanies a feature-length documentary, now in production, that "will highlight interviews with black lesbian elders in their 60s, 70s and 80s from across the United States and situate them in a range of black historical movements, spanning the decades between the 1930s and 1980s."
posted by liketitanic on May 16, 2013 - 8 comments

"I'm interested in the way we tell stories about our lives"

Sarah Polley, previously, is a Canadian actress and director whose new documentary Stories We Tell is about her own family's story. Or stories. And how storytelling shapes us. Sarah Polley's Meta Masterpiece [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on May 14, 2013 - 18 comments

Freaks out there who are freakier than I am...

Vinyl -- Alan Zweig feat. Harvey Pekar -- 2000 -- M VG+
"Yeah, the music is the most important thing. I wish it were the only thing. It's not. I'd be better off if it were the only thing."
A documentary about the most noble mania.
posted by OmieWise on May 10, 2013 - 16 comments

Teenage Diaries Revisited

Teenage Diaries Revisited Beginning in 1996, Radio Diaries gave tape recorders to teenagers around the country to create audio diaries about their lives. NPR’s All Things Considered aired intimate portraits of five of these teens: Amanda, Juan, Frankie, Josh and Melissa. They're now in their 30s. Over this past year, the same group has been recording new stories about where life has led them for our series, Teenage Diaries Revisited. - The conversation at the end of the 2013 update on Josh is a complete gut-punch - it left me speechless and unable to breathe.
posted by Slap*Happy on May 10, 2013 - 10 comments

"a job that is so vital to human dignity and human rights."

Last month, HBO Documentaires released "Which Way Is The Front Line From Here? The Life And Times Of Tim Hetherington." It is a "posthumous recounting of one of the most impressive photojournalism careers to date." "'Restrepo' director has sorrowful Sundance return. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on May 8, 2013 - 3 comments

Dystopian Future (and present)

Panopticon is a documentary which details how our concept of privacy is altered by the modern surveillance state.
posted by antonymous on Apr 30, 2013 - 12 comments

Much Ado About Nuttin'

In 2005, he was considered the finest high school football player in the country. Heavily recruited, the quarterback was sought after by Notre Dame, Alabama, and the school just down the road from home, Arkansas. Many believed that he was a better player than another promising high school quarterback, Tim Tebow. In 2013, Mitch Mustain is the back up quarterback to the San Jose SaberCats, an arena football league team. The documentary,The Identity Theft of Mitch Mustain, seeks to understand what happened.* *Trailer for documentary. [more inside]
posted by Atreides on Apr 26, 2013 - 23 comments

Come un Lampo di Vita

Cirque du Soleil Reinvents the Circus: La Cirque Réinventé. Nouvelle Expérience. Saltimbanco. A Baroque Odyssey. Alegría. Quidam. La Nouba. Dralion. Journey of Man. Varekai. Midnight Sun. . Corteo. Delerium. Koozå. All Together Now. Amaluna. Worlds Away. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 19, 2013 - 23 comments

‘Why do people always want things from me?’

Unsung Color Photographer Saul Leiter Is In No Great Hurry. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Apr 19, 2013 - 5 comments

Mozart in Turkey: parts biography, history, documentary, and performance

Mozart in Turkey is film made of three distinct, but related, elements. First, it is a look into Mozart at the time of his courting Constanze, a bit on his new patron, the "enlightened monarch" Joseph II, and other influences, including the Turkish music and culture, along with thoughts on Mozart's opera as a work created in the Age of Enlightenment, all through the running commentary by opera director Elijah Moshinsky, who also interviews Alev Lytle Croutier, the author of Harem: The World Behind the Veil. Then there is the production of an opera in Turkey, specifically set in and around the Topkapi Palace (virtual tour; Wikipedia). And the last piece is the performance of Die Entführung aus dem Serail, or The Abduction from the Seraglio. You can watch the entire film online on Vimeo, thanks to Directors Cut Films.
posted by filthy light thief on Apr 15, 2013 - 3 comments

The Labrador Duck, the Great Auk, the Carolina Parakeet...

The Lost Bird Project documents the stories of five North American birds driven to extinction in modern times and sculptor Todd McGrain's road-trip to memorialize them. (via)
posted by spamandkimchi on Apr 13, 2013 - 5 comments

The Japanese Version

In the late '80s, documentarians Louis Alvarez and Andrew Kolker spent six months in Tokyo looking at how symbols and imagery familiar to Americans had been appropriated and given new significance in Japan. Though more than 20 years old, the resulting video remains popular in undergraduate courses across the social sciences and humanities in part because it's so entertaining. [more inside]
posted by Monsieur Caution on Apr 13, 2013 - 13 comments

Nuit et Brouillard

Night and Fog is a 1955 documentary directed by Alain Resnais.

It is mortifying, for both its brutal imagery, and poetic narration, but moreso, the fact those two could seemingly live together.

Censored by the French over one shot it only came to fruition after writer Jean Cayrol, a camp survivor himself, agreed to write the script.

The soundtrack was by Hanns Eisler, whose music was banned by the Nazis in 1933.

[What follows is 30 minute documentary film concerning two Nazi concentration camps. Please be warned there are some very NSFL/triggers ahead.] [previously] [more inside]
posted by timsteil on Apr 12, 2013 - 32 comments

Today we begin a "cyber march" on Washington

A group of respected entertainers (and some not-as-respected celebrities), businessmen, Civil Rights leaders and academics have signed an open letter calling on the President to #EndTheWarOnDrugs. [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Apr 9, 2013 - 49 comments

Les Blank

Beloved indy ethnographic documentarian Les Blank died yesterday. This interview gives a good overview of his background, and this post includes clips. Watch a couple of his public domain films here. Or do yourself a favor and find the complete version of Garlic is as Good as Ten Mothers. [more inside]
posted by latkes on Apr 8, 2013 - 19 comments

Dreams of your Life

This interactive experience is a sister project to Carol Morley's documentary Dreams of a Life.
posted by Bistle on Apr 6, 2013 - 5 comments

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