"The rise in popularity of television is credited with inciting the move to the widescreen systems that flourished throughout the 50s, 60s, and 70s. This is only partially true. In the early 1950s, studios did begin to compose their movies so that the top and bottom of the picture could be chopped off and a wider screen would show the center of the old 1.37:1 frame. The aspect ratio used by the various studios varied from about 1.5:1 up to the common 1.85:1. But the real reason for the birth of a multitude of widescreen and large format systems was the 1952 opening of a movie made in a process that had its roots in a World War II aerial gunnery trainer. This Is Cinerama (modern YouTube trailer; Wikipedia) shook the industry to the core. The public and reviewers loved it. Its giant screen filled with three oversized 35mm images and an incredible new sound system called Stereophonic were a marvel to behold, and the studios immediately rushed to find something that could do what Cinerama did (Google books preview of the August 1952 issue of Popular Mechanics)." [more inside]
Portrait of a Handmade Artisan: Korehira Watanabe The Sword Maker (one of a number of films by Etsy) [more inside]
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]
'“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]
Finnish YouTube user Ishexan has uploaded seven English subtitled movies in parts: Broken Blossoms (1919), Aelita (1924), The Gipsy Charmer (1929), The Tragedy of Elina (1938), The Activists (1939), The Wooden Pauper's Bride (1944), and Sampo (1959), which is based on the epic poem The Kalevala. The films are mostly Finnish, though Aelita is a silent Russian sci-fi film, and Sampo was a joint Finnish and Soviet production. More film clips inside (mostly Finnish documentaries and "dorky musical numbers"). [more inside]
It's been estimated that the average UK adult is now registered on more than 700 databases and is caught many times each day by nearly five million CCTV cameras. So how hard would it be for an average citizen to disappear completely? That’s the subject of a new documentary film: Erasing David, (Trailer: YouTube, Vimeo) which premieres this evening in the UK on More4. It's also now available worldwide online at the iTunes store and through several Video On Demand services, as well as through Good Screenings. [more inside]
Hippie Masala [masala is the Hindi word for spice mix] is a documentary which poignantly depicts the lives of a handful of old hippies from different countries, who not only remained in India but also remained in the caricature roles of a small few in those days. These are, in some ways, lost souls stuck in the amber of the 1960's and 70's and this movie offers glimpses into their lives now. SnagFilms also has 510 other excellent documentaries to watch for free online. [more inside]
Sequel to Guy Catches Sunglasses With Face It wasn't too long ago that we had a look at Guy Catches Sunglasses With Face. Here is the sequel, Bobbing For Glasses. Both videos are from artist Ben Kaller, who has worked on most of Spike Jonze' best stuff, among other things. His brother Jeremy Kaller is also a talented director, who recently released a a documentary about the progressive recycling scene in San Francisco.
17 Million Words / 155 Volumes / One bedridden hypochondriac (?) : Arthur Crew Inman wrote one of the strangest diaries of the 20th century. Listen to his voice (WMA), or see an excerpt from the documentary being made about him (WMV) by the man who wrote a play based on his life.
Congratulations to the winner of this year's Sundance World Cinema Documentary Audience Award - The story of the Canadian general who, under the auspices of the United Nations, could only watch helplessly as the Rwandan genocide occured.
Fahrenheit 9/11 tops box office If it's posted on Drudgereport, it must be official; This, despite an all out effort from the Vast Right Wing Conspirators to keep if from being shown...
Ryan is a documentary about Oscar nominee/animator Ryan Larkin, who now panhandles on the streets of Montreal. A preview clip is at the far right of the photo gallery.
Derailing The Friedmans. An interesting Slate piece on the neutrality of the Oscar-nominated documentary "Capturing The Friedmans." It starts: "When a documentary filmmaker uncovers overwhelming evidence that the subject of his film was wrongly convicted, shouldn't he take a stand on the man's innocence?"
If you're in or around LA this weekend, you might want to check out all the academy award nominated documentary films being screened at the Director's Guild theater.