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Pete Standing Alone

Pete Standing Alone has come full-circle in his dedication to preserving the traditional ways of his people on the Blood reserve in Southern Alberta. His 50 year journey from cultural alienation to pride and belonging has been uniquely captured by the NFB in the Pete Standing Alone Trilogy. [more inside]
posted by Devils Rancher on Nov 9, 2011 - 11 comments

Jim Fields and Michael Gramaglia's "End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones"

The most vivid figure in Michael Gramaglia and Jim Fields's End of the Century was the least articulate and most archetypal of the Ramones: Johnny, the right-wing prole whose hard-ass sense of style the others nutballed and softened and accelerated and above all imitated. ... Exciting and absolutely right though their '70s sets always were, the film establishes that they kept the faith live till the end, lifted by Joey's goofy dedication and powered by the chords Johnny thrashed out like they were why he was alive. As unyielding in his aesthetic principles as he was in everything else, this reactionary was an avant-gardist in spite of himself. - Robert Christgau
posted by Trurl on Nov 9, 2011 - 17 comments

But this could be almost anywhere.

Highrise: One Millionth Tower is an interactive documentary, architectural visualization, and virtual transformation featuring a highrise development in Toronto. Presented by the National Film Board of Canada. (via Chrome Experiments)
posted by OverlappingElvis on Nov 8, 2011 - 3 comments

Ornette Coleman's "The Shape of Jazz to Come"

"Ornette in '59" - a BBC documentary segment about Ornette Coleman's The Shape of Jazz to Come. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Nov 5, 2011 - 17 comments

Bill Cunningham New York

Bill Cunningham New York is a wonderful documentary about a fascinating man, now available on Hulu. [more inside]
posted by gilrain on Nov 4, 2011 - 34 comments

"I felt like I'd been catapulted from one end of the universe to the other"

This weekend marks the time of the Hajj, a core pillar of Islam in which great tides of humanity venture to the ancient city of Mecca to honor God. Predating Mohammed's birth by centuries, the pilgrimage comprises several days of rites, from congregation like snow on Mount Arafat and the ritual stoning of Shaitan to the circling of the sacred Kaaba (the shrouded cubical monolith Muslims pray toward daily) and kissing the Black Stone (colored by the absorption of myriad sins, and believed by some to be a fallen meteorite). While the city has modernized to handle this largest of annual gatherings -- building highway-scale ramps, gaudy skyscrapers for the ultra-rich, and tent cities the size of Seattle -- it remains mysterious, as unbelievers are forbidden from entering its borders. Richard Francis Burton became famous for touring the city in disguise to write a rare travelogue, but contemporary viewers have a more immediate guide: Vice Magazine journalist Suroosh Alvi, who smuggled a minicam into the city to record The Mecca Diaries [alt], a 14-minute documentary of his own Hajj journey. Browse the manual to see what goes into a Hajj trip, or watch the YouTube livestream to see the Grand Mosque crowds in real time.
posted by Rhaomi on Nov 4, 2011 - 31 comments

Steinway & Sons

Note by Note: The Making of Steinway L1037, a documentary by Ben Niles. "Invention for 900 Hands", a nine-part series in The New York Times. "K 2571: The Making of a Steinway Grand", an article in The Atlantic Monthly. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Nov 2, 2011 - 9 comments

Jews, People with Mustaches, and Divorced People

America in Primetime is a four-part PBS special on four character archetypes that define contemporary television and interviews tons of writers, producers and actors from a set of defining shows. The first episode, Independent Women (which you can stream from their website) aired last night, gaining measured reviews from Bitch and the AV Club. Future episodes: Man of the House, The Misfit and The Crusader.
posted by Apropos of Something on Oct 31, 2011 - 22 comments

Burton Holmes, Inventor of the Travelogue

The Burton Holmes Archive has information about Burton Holmes, the travel writer who became the first person to make filmic travelogues. More importantly, they also have a lot of film clips by Holmes and his associate, André de la Varre, who was also a great travelogue maker himself. Watching these clips is not quite time travel, but it is as close as we can get. Take a look at Reykjavík, Iceland, in 1926, Lake Michigan in 20s, Cairo in 1932 and the 1955 Rio de Janeiro carnival. The later films have sound and narration, but I prefer the silent ones. [Burton Holmes previously, André de la Varre previously, and the Travel Film Archive, which runs Burton Holmes site, previously]
posted by Kattullus on Oct 26, 2011 - 5 comments

Outside Consensus Reality

In 2003 and again in 2009, Director Andy Glynne, with Mosaic Films and BBC4 created Animated Minds, a series of animated documentaries to express the subjective experiences of various kinds of mental health disorders. [more inside]
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur on Oct 22, 2011 - 5 comments

Reel History of Britain

The Reel History of Britain, a BFI/BBC co-production, brings archive film into the nation’s living rooms. The footage shown in the series has been selected from the hundreds of thousands of films and programmes preserved in Britain’s film and television archives. We are complementing the series by making many of the films featured in The Reel History of Britain available online in their entirety, alongside expert commentary from the nation’s archive curators.
posted by Trurl on Oct 17, 2011 - 4 comments

80 Blocks from Tiffany's: they were criminals, but they were also charming

80 Blocks from Tiffany’s was what The Warriors, the cultish and campy Hollywood street gang movie involving roller skates and a race to Coney Island, could never be. It was real. Shot over the course of a couple of weeks in the summer of ’79 (as the seeds of hip-hop culture were slowly sprouting in the BX), 80 Blocks from Tiffany’s, produced by Lorne Michaels [and directed by SNL director Gary Weis], veers away from the social commentary typically associated with gang exposés. Instead, the 60-minute documentary focuses on the personalities behind the news reports, including a tough NYPD detective from the Bronx Youth Gang Task Force and a sympathetic community activist. Quoted from the introduction to an interview with Gary Weis.
posted by filthy light thief on Oct 12, 2011 - 15 comments

"I believe it more than...other...stuff."

Music is a book/app/documentary film by photographer/film-maker Andrew Zuckerman (previously). Similar in format to Zuckerman's film Wisdom, Music features interviews with musical luminaries both fully- and not-so-luminous. [more inside]
posted by eric1halfb on Oct 5, 2011 - 11 comments

Alain Resnais' "Night and Fog"

Alain Resnais' Night and Fog (1, 2, 3) [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Oct 3, 2011 - 12 comments

Elmo backlash? Lovable little monster, or furry menace?

"'Being Elmo,' the crowd-pleasing [documentary film] profile of the man behind Elmo, arguably the most-loved Muppet on 'Sesame Street,' has been melting hearts on the festival circuit since premiering at Sundance this year, where it won the Special Jury Prize. ... [It's the] story of how puppeteer Kevin Clash came up through the ranks on sheer ambition and ingenuity to become one of the best in the business is an underdog tale of the best variety."* However, could it be that there is an Elmo backlash brewing? [more inside]
posted by ericb on Sep 28, 2011 - 107 comments

Living In The Material World

After the success of No Direction Home, Martin Scorsese has turned his documentary eye toward another 60s musician. On October 5 and 6, George Harrison: Living In The Material World will run on HBO in two parts. The film has already played some film festivals and gotten great reviews. [more inside]
posted by hippybear on Sep 28, 2011 - 44 comments

Documentary mistakes videogame footage for genuine terrorist footage

Last night, British ITV broadcasted "Exposure: Gaddafi and the IRA", a documentary which included this 1988 Provisional IRA footage the filmmakers found on YouTube. Unfortunately, the footage is actually and blatently from videogame ArmA 2. ITV has stopped streaming the documentary.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Sep 27, 2011 - 25 comments

PJ20TIFF

Perhaps you've managed to see PJ20 during its limited stand in select theaters. Perhaps you'll watch it when it airs on PBS late next month. Either way, you might be interested in seeing the press conference with all five members of the band plus Cameron Crowe [20m32s], the director of the documentary, which took place after the premiere of the film at Toronto International Film Festival. The press conference is also available in downloadable audio format. [more inside]
posted by hippybear on Sep 26, 2011 - 56 comments

"You hold your breath, it's absolutely perfect."

Like a "modern-day pirate," 75-year-old Ray Ives has been diving for sunken treasure for decades. Wearing an ancient, bronze-helmeted diving suit, he searches the ocean floor and keeps a huge collection of marine salvage (including antique cannon balls, 'bottles, bells, swords, portholes and diving gear') in a shipping container "museum" at a British marina.

Ray: A Life Underwater: Vimeo / YouTube. (A short film documentary.) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 23, 2011 - 5 comments

I’m lucky, but…

Metafilter Favorite Stephen Fry announces that he is now the president of mental health charity MIND, in part because of his 2006 documentary: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive. [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Sep 23, 2011 - 24 comments

Bitter condemnation

Barizogon ("bitter condemnation") is a 1992 indie Japanese docudrama about Fukushima Daiichi and Daini nuclear power plants and is a dramatization of the life and "accidental" death in 1989 of the whistle-blowing Nao--a twenty-six-year-old who takes on crooked campaigning and a cover-up at the unsafe nuclear plant where everyone in Okuma works. The movie is available (with subtitles) on YouTube: Part 1. The whole series of YouTube videos are collected on this blog. [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu on Sep 8, 2011 - 5 comments

Keep Your Enemies Closer

Better This World is a documentary about two activists from Austin who joined a group heading to protest the 2008 Republican convention. Their problem was that they prepared molotov cocktails at the last minute, and one of their ring-leaders was an FBI informant. Legal nightmare ensues. Aired on PBS September 6, it can be viewed online until October 6.
posted by Brian B. on Sep 8, 2011 - 115 comments

People tend to forget

'“The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975“ is an incredible documentary with an equally incredible story behind it. The film is constructed entirely from hundreds of hours of archival footage of the black power movement, footage that’s not just rare, but unseen; it was shot by a Swedish news crew in the 1960s and 1970s, then left untouched in a Swedish TV station’s cellar for 30 years, where it was discovered by documentary filmmaker Göran Hugo Olsson.' [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Sep 6, 2011 - 13 comments

The Monsterous Master Of Mystical Language

in 1976, surrealist icon Salvador Dali starred and directed in the fake documentary/travelogue Impressions de la haute Mongolie - Impressions of Upper Mongolia - about his quest to find a rare hallucinogenic mushroom. It was intended as a tribute to the late Raymond Roussel. It is available on Youtube in 5 parts. 1 - 2 -3 - 4 - 5 (70 min)
posted by The Whelk on Sep 3, 2011 - 25 comments

We call this "dislocated polygamy".

The Tribes of Darkest Austria - or: if Africans ruled Anthropology. (slyt)
posted by divabat on Sep 2, 2011 - 43 comments

Inside Iranian Cinema

Inside Iranian Cinema (23 mins.) on VBS.tv
posted by lemuring on Aug 27, 2011 - 3 comments

March of Time

From 1935 to 1951, Time Magazine bridged the gap between print & radio news reporting and the new visual medium of film, with March of Time: award-winning newsreel reports that were a combination of objective documentary, dramatized fiction and pro-American, anti-totalitarian propaganda. They “often tackled subjects and themes that audiences weren’t used to seeingforeign affairs, social trends, public-health issues — and did so with a combination of panache and subterfuge that today seems either absurd or visionary.” (Previous two links have autoplaying video.) By 1937, the short films were being seen by as many as 26 million people every month and may have helped steer public opinion on numerous issues, including (eventually) America’s entry to WWII. Video samples are available at Time.com, the March of Time Facebook page and the entire collection is available online, (free registration required) at HBO Archives. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 22, 2011 - 8 comments

Anselm Kiefer

Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow bears witness to German artist Anselm Kiefer’s alchemical creative processes and renders as a film journey the personal universe he has built at his hill studio estate in the South of France. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Aug 19, 2011 - 8 comments

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth

Style Like U features an exhaustive video archive of people talking about their clothes and history and what personal style means to them and the power of self transformation. [more inside]
posted by The Whelk on Aug 14, 2011 - 32 comments

I see trees of green, red roses, too...

Do you see what I see? Do people always see the same thing when they look at colours?
posted by crossoverman on Aug 12, 2011 - 68 comments

The Interrupters: Documenting CeaseFire on the streets of Chicago

The Interrupters is a new film from Steve James (Hoop Dreams) and Alex Kotlowitz (There Are No Children Here) about the work of CeaseFire's Violence Interrupters (previously), who work to prevent violence in Chicago with direct intervention and mediation. The film follows Ameena Matthews, the daughter of of a notorious gang leader; Eddie Bocanegra, who teaches art to children and is driven by remorse for a murder he committed when he was seventeen; and the charismatic Cobe Williams, who recently joined James and Kotlowitz for an interview with WFMT's Andrew Patner. Some of the videos contain strong language and scenes of violence.
posted by hydrophonic on Aug 10, 2011 - 10 comments

Burma: the Dictatorship of the Absurd

Happy World: Burma, the Dictatorship of the Absurd. A surprisingly funny "hypervideo" web documentary about life in Myanmar Burma. [Via]
posted by homunculus on Aug 8, 2011 - 34 comments

Antoni Gaudí

"Hiroshi Teshigahara's Antonio Gaudi is a spare, astonishing, and haunting documentary on the designs of famed turn of the century Spanish architect, Antonio Gaudi (1852-1926). A profound influence on the Spanish art nouveau movement, Gaudi's sensual adaptation of Gothic, Middle Eastern, and traditional architecture is a truly a unique artistic vision. Teshigahara immerses the viewer into Gaudi's unorthodox vision using lingering takes and mesmerizing panning sequences, accompanied by an equally eclectic soundtrack that vacillates from lyrical symphony to disquieting near silence. The film, largely structured without verbal narrative, unfolds as a figurative mosaic of Gaudi's early influences and nascent vision in the mid 1800's - from an overview of the Catalonian culture, to the contemporary works of other prominent architects, to the medieval art and architecture pervasive in the region." (Janus/Criterion, 1:12, color)
posted by puny human on Aug 3, 2011 - 15 comments

When they want to kill a dog, they say it's crazy.

When they want to kill a dog, they say it's crazy. A photo essay from Haiti by Jared Iorio.
posted by chunking express on Aug 3, 2011 - 5 comments

NHK looks at Fukushima

On July 9, the Japanese public broadcaster NHK aired a documentary on the earliest days of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear crisis. There appears to be precisely one place on the internet where it can currently be viewed: here.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jul 27, 2011 - 44 comments

The Library of Congress documentary

The Library of Congress (1:30m), a tour documentary by C-SPAN.
posted by stbalbach on Jul 20, 2011 - 8 comments

Michelangelo Antonioni's "Chung Kuo"

[Michelangelo Antonioni's Chung Kuo] as a documentary film was one which was draped with fascination for both filmmakers as well as an audience, rather than championing anti-whatever sentiments from either side of the world. Not having seen many movies, either features, shorts or documentaries made during the Cultural Revolution era or about that era in question (propaganda included), I think this Antonioni film has more than made its mark as a definitive documentary that anyone curious about the life of the time, would find it a gem to sit through.
posted by Trurl on Jul 11, 2011 - 3 comments

Bloggers against type

Maggie McNeil is a semi-retired "honest courtesan" who recently countered Ashton Kutcher's "sex slavery" claims (previously) with some statistics and facts. Bobbi Starr is a professional concert oboist, nationally ranked swimmer, and works in some of the hardest porn available. She was recently featured on the (highly recommended) BBC Radio Assignment series. Primary links are obviously NSFW; BobbiStarr.com also has potential trigger warnings.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Jul 8, 2011 - 23 comments

Lee Marvin

Lee Marvin: A Personal Portrait by John Boorman "While trolling youtube for all things Lee Marvin and Parker I discovered this really nifty mini-documentary that filmmaker John Boorman (Point Blank, Hell in the Pacific, Deliverance, Excalibur) did for the BBC called Lee Marvin: A Personal Portrait. It's really fantastic with appearances from folks like William Hurt, Jim Jarmusch, Pamela Marvin, and others. Readings from Marvin's personal journal about his WWII experiences as well as his great fishing expeditions in Australia. And yes, you'll be able to see the wallet Marvin was carrying when a bullet went whizzing through and granted him his Purple Heart."
posted by puny human on Jul 5, 2011 - 23 comments

Living in the Red: The Chicago Fire Soccer Team Fan Base, Section 8

Living in the Red: A 15 minute student documentary on the Ultras of the Chicago Fire.
posted by PenDevil on Jun 29, 2011 - 27 comments

"There are no national standards or regulations regarding forensic pathology and practices vary widely from place to place."

The Hardest Cases: When Children Die, Justice Can Be Elusive A joint investigation by PBS Frontline, ProPublica and NPR has found that medical examiners and coroners have repeatedly mishandled cases of infant and child deaths, helping to put innocent people behind bars. (Via. (Article contains descriptions of children that have been killed by abuse. May be disturbing / triggering to some readers.) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 28, 2011 - 20 comments

Such Hawks Such Hounds

Such Hawks Such Hounds explores the music and musicians of the American hard rock underground circa 1970-2007, focusing on the psychedelic and '70s proto-metal-derived styles that have in recent years formed a rich body of unclassifiable sounds.
posted by mhjb on Jun 28, 2011 - 17 comments

Objectophilia

Married To The Eiffel Tower is a documentary that tells the stories of three females who are sexually and emotionally attracted to inanimate objects. (Previously)
posted by gman on Jun 25, 2011 - 77 comments

Dorothea Lange on historical impact of images

2-part KQED documentary about Dorothea Lange, from 1965. Lange meditates on the historical impact of images and how they can be used to examine/change society [more inside]
posted by Ideefixe on Jun 22, 2011 - 1 comment

Jim Henson

The World of Jim Henson: 1 :: 2 :: 3 :: 4 :: 5 :: 6 :: 7 :: 8 :: 9 :: "An excellent biography of the Muppet master, this 85-minute film from the PBS show Great Performances mixes the history of Henson's projects with plenty of sketches that any fan age 6 and older should enjoy. The film shows the incredible range of Henson's creations, starting in 1955 with "Sam and Friends" then moving on to Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock, and beyond. It illustrates the breadth of his genius, from creating entirely new worlds in film (The Dark Crystal) to pithy '60s TV commercials that achieved branding and a laugh in less than six seconds. There's footage that most fans haven't seen in years, or at all: a regular bit from The Jimmy Dean Show; tantalizing bits of his 1965 Oscar-nominated short, Time Piece; appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show and The Tonight Show; his explanation of Wall Street on Nightline; and Miss Piggy's hilarious deconstruction of Morley Safer on 60 Minutes."
posted by puny human on Jun 21, 2011 - 23 comments

Barbet Schroeder's "General Idi Amin Dada: A Self Portrait"

Amin's hunger for publicity was so great, in fact, that in 1974 he became the first dictator in history to agree to be the subject of an independent documentary film. The resulting movie, Barbet Schroeder's General Idi Amin Dada... is a devastating look at despotism in action and a riveting, and strangely entertaining, portrait of Amin. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Jun 16, 2011 - 31 comments

Russian Video from Russia

Russian Video from Russia does what it says, providing a variety of videos from Russia, presented in English or with English subtitles, and brief descriptions of the videos. You can check out videos as they're posted, or sort through by categories (including customs, musical video, science and technology, and movie for the weekend). This last category ranges from Russian Sherlock Holmes movies to a traditional New Year romantic comedy, a documentary on Yuri Gagarin to a classic Russian children's tale of Old Hottabych, an old genie freed in modern times.
posted by filthy light thief on Jun 16, 2011 - 8 comments

"Bigotry is ugly. It is especially ugly when it poses as virtue."

Rights And Reactions: Lesbian & Gay Rights On Trial is a 1987 documentary about the culmination in 1986 of the struggle to pass "Intro 2", the New York City "Gay Rights Bill", which prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation in matters of housing, employment, and public accommodation. Made by Phil Zwickler and Jane Lippman, it is available in 3 Quicktime segments: Part 1 (22m), Part 2 (19m), Part 3 (16m). Total running time: 56m. [more inside]
posted by hippybear on Jun 12, 2011 - 12 comments

Milo Goes To The Movies

FILMAGE: The Story of DESCENDENTS / ALL is an upcoming feature-length documentary about pop-punk pioneers Descendents. The makers are looking for photos, video, and film of the band. The band's first album, 1982's Milo Goes To College, was an instant classic with songs like I'm Not A Loser. Various splits, reformations, and line-up changes followed. Their most reformation in 2010 included sets at Australia's No Sleep Till festival (full Sydney set at Moshcam). Classic Desendents: I'm The One. Merican. Hope.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn on May 31, 2011 - 28 comments

What the Eye Doesn't See, the Heart Doesn't Mind.

Step Across the Border (previously, link now broken) "as long as I was playing in a band I didn't have to actually go out there and talk to girls and dance, I could just be on stage and watch everybody else doing it". The critically acclaimed music documentary on Fred Frith, written and directed by Nicolas Humbert and Werner Penzel (amazon link). It is also available in 8 parts, on youtube. [more inside]
posted by idiopath on May 28, 2011 - 11 comments

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