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"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

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

"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

“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

Thirty Errol Morris movies that can be streamed

Inside, please find a list of twenty-eight movies, TV episodes, and short subjects by Errol Morris and two movies about Errol Morris, all of which can be streamed, along with some short descriptions of their content. [more inside]
posted by Going To Maine on Apr 23, 2014 - 27 comments

My friend, if we go in the ditch you ain't fuckin' around with Chrysler.

In 1984, the Canadian branch of the United Auto Workers, represented by Bob White, and General Motors Canada, represented by Rod Andrew, sat down to negotiate a new wage agreement. GM had gotten the American UAW to agree to profit sharing and was dead-set on doing the same in the North; the Canadians were bitterly opposed to the idea. By the end of the negotiation, workers had struck, negotiators had been stabbed in the back, White and his allies had split from the UAW to form the CAW, and a compromise was reached that left everyone a bit unhappy - but the workers less so than their managers. Filmmaker Sturla Gunnarsson used his unprecedented access to both teams of negotiators to craft Final Offer, "the best collective bargaining film ever made." You can stream the movie in its entirety at the National Film Board's website.
posted by Going To Maine on Apr 13, 2014 - 9 comments

the intimate story of a woman who spoke truth to power.

"Anita", a documentary by director Freida Mock, which opened in New York and Los Angeles last weekend, looks back on the journey of Anita Hill, who famously testified that her former boss and then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her. Trailer [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Mar 27, 2014 - 33 comments

Tim Burton's Batman, the opposite of Pee-wee's Big Adventure

This year marks the 25th anniversary of 1989 Batman movie, which is remembered for everything from the logo "that helped set the course for superhero movies" to the ways the movie was true to the comics, or was really a "noir" update to the 1960s Adam West Batman. While preparing yourself for what may come in the lead-up to the June 23 anniversary date, enjoy Batman: The Making of a Hero documentary, a rare 25 minutes behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film, from the folks at 1989 Batman, a fansite dedicated to the movie, and its sequel, Batman Returns. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Feb 19, 2014 - 48 comments

Uncle America

Blood Brother (2013) focuses on an American man who, after initially visiting as a tourist, moved to India to volunteer at the Arias Home of HOPE, a home for HIV-positive children in Acharapakkam, near Chennai. He eventually became an Indian citizen by marriage. [more inside]
posted by XMLicious on Jan 23, 2014 - 7 comments

The First Entirely New Experience in Entertainment Since Pictures Talked

"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]
posted by filthy light thief on Jan 4, 2014 - 22 comments

Sounds of the wanderers

Whether or not all cultural historians agree with the premise that Rom people came to Europe originally from India, or whether or not the portrayals of Rom musicians in the film are always *accurate* or *authentic* ones (some have indicated they're not, or are too heavily draped in over-stylized Exotica), there is surely no denying that the film is a treasure trove of fantastic musical performances. You've probably guessed by now that we're talking about Latcho Drom, which you can see it in its entirety here.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Oct 15, 2013 - 36 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

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

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

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

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

You've Come a Long Way, Baby...?

Makers: Women Who Make America is a sweeping 3-hour documentary of the movement for women's equality in the last half of the twentieth century. Airing this month on US public television, it's accompanied by an online archive of videos of interviews with individual women in leadership across a variety of fields. Leaders and activists, celebrities and pioneers, and everyday women retell the story of their awakening, organizing, and world-changing efforts.
posted by Miko on Feb 28, 2013 - 5 comments

From The Sky Down

For some, it's a document examining a pivotal point in rock history with one of the biggest bands. For others, it is a eulogy marking the transformation of a vibrant force in music into ironic self-importance. Either way, David Guggenheim's 2011 film From The Sky Down [in two parts, ~90m total, trailer] is an interesting, somewhat historical, definitely hagiographic documentary about the struggles U2 faced between the end of the Joshua Tree tour and during the recording and release of Achtung Baby. [more inside]
posted by hippybear on Nov 7, 2012 - 70 comments

Use the enemy's own films to expose their enslaving ends. Let our boys hear the Nazis and the Japs shout their own claims of master-race crud—and our fighting men will know why they are in uniform.

Why We Fight is a series of seven documentary films commissioned by the United States government during World War II whose purpose was to show American soldiers the reason for U.S. involvement in the war. Later on they were also shown to the general U.S. public to persuade them to support American involvement in the war. Each of them is in the common domain having been produced by the US government, available online, and linked below the fold: [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Sep 16, 2012 - 24 comments

The Bully Pulpit

Late last month, after vocally anti-gay evangelical author and blogger Jonathan Merritt's essay defending Chick-Fil-A appeared in The Atlantic, Azariah Southworth outed Merritt on his blog. An interview with Merritt about his sexual orientation. Follow-up column from Southworth: Why I outed a Christian star. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 13, 2012 - 237 comments

Versailles, Florida

Orlando, FL - 10 ac, 90K sq ft, 13 bed, 30 bath, 20 car garage, 3 pools, 2 tennis cts, bowling alley, skating rink - $100M [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Jul 28, 2012 - 140 comments

He’s documenting history, one Asian movie theater at a time

Three years ago, Phil Jablon (aka The Projectionist) started a concerted effort to start documenting the rapidly-vanishing stand-alone movie theaters and former theaters in Southeast Asia. Today his website, The Southeast Asia Movie Theater Project is a historian and movie-theater lover's dream. Jablon has captured the faded, the lost, the torched, the almost lost, the repurposed, the reborn, and the unbounded. [more inside]
posted by blueberry on Jul 1, 2012 - 6 comments

Sing us a Song to Keep us Warm, There's Such a Chill

In the wake of their grunge-y breakout hit "Creep" and the success of sophomore record The Bends, Thom Yorke and the rest of Radiohead were under pressure to deliver once more. So they shut themselves away inside the echoing halls of a secluded 16th century manor and got to work. What emerged from that crumbling Elizabethan castle fifteen years ago today was a shockingly ambitious masterpiece of progressive rock, a visionary concept album that explored the "fridge buzz" of modernity -- alienation, social disconnection, existential dread, the impersonal hum of technology -- through a mosaic of challenging, innovative, eerily beautiful music unlike anything else at the time. Tentatively called Ones and Zeroes, then Your Home May Be at Risk If You Do Not Keep Up Payments, the band finally settled on OK Computer, an appropriately enigmatic title for this acclaimed harbinger of millennial angst. For more, you can watch the retrospective OK Computer: A Classic Album Under Review for a track-by-track rundown, or the unsettling documentary Meeting People is Easy for a look at how the album's whirlwind tour nearly gave Yorke a nervous breakdown. Or look inside for more details and cool interpretations of all the tracks -- including an upcoming MeFi Music Challenge! [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Jun 16, 2012 - 66 comments

I married adventure

Before Joy Adamson went to Africa, before Margaret Mead sailed to Samoa, before Dian Fossey was even born, a Kansas teenager named Osa Leighty married Martin Johnson. Whether dancing to jazz in Congorilla or meeting headhunters in Borneo, her life with Martin ultimately led to hours of pioneering documentary footage, books, movies and more. Her autobiography inspired a Kate Spade purse, a perfume and her marriage an entire line of clothing while her joie de vivre put her on the cover of a book on trailblazing women of history. Osa Johnson went on to become a character in a play, in a poem while her married life gave birth to a museum (or two). When Osa met Martin, she married adventure.
posted by infini on Apr 19, 2012 - 4 comments

You shall Hear things, Wonderful to tell

A decade on, the Coen brothers' woefully underrated O Brother, Where Art Thou? [alt] is remembered for a lot of things: its sun-drenched, sepia-rich cinematography (a pioneer of digital color grading), its whimsical humor, fluid vernacular, and many subtle references to Homer's Odyssey. But one part of its legacy truly stands out: the music. Assembled by T-Bone Burnett, the soundtrack is a cornucopia of American folk music, exhibiting everything from cheery ballads and angelic hymns to wistful blues and chain-gang anthems. Woven into the plot of the film through radio and live performances, the songs lent the story a heartfelt, homespun feel that echoed its cultural heritage, a paean and uchronia of the Old South. Though the multiplatinum album was recently reissued, the movie's medley is best heard via famed documentarian D. A. Pennebaker's Down from the Mountain, an extraordinary yet intimate concert film focused on a night of live music by the soundtrack's stars (among them Gillian Welch, Emmylou Harris, Chris Thomas King, bluegrass legend Dr. Ralph Stanley) and wryly hosted by John Hartford, an accomplished fiddler, riverboat captain, and raconteur whose struggle with terminal cancer made this his last major performance. The film is free in its entirety on Hulu and YouTube -- click inside for individual clips, song links, and breakdowns of the set list's fascinating history. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Dec 22, 2011 - 107 comments

Ashta

Gullah—the African-influenced dialect of Georgia’s Sea Islands—has undergone few changes since the first slave ships landed 300 years ago, and provides a clear window into the shaping of African-American English. This classic PBS program traces that story from the west coast of Africa through the American South, then to large northern cities in the 1920s. Studying the origins of West African pidgin English and creole speech—along with the tendency of 19th-century white Southerners to pick up speech habits from their black nursemaids—the program highlights the impact of WWI-era industrialization and the migration of jazz musicians to New York and Chicago.
posted by cthuljew on Nov 15, 2011 - 12 comments

Mayor of the Sunset Strip, Rodney Bingenheimer documentary

In Southern California in the 1980s, KROQ had this weird un-DJ-like guy named (seriously) Rodney Bingenheimer, who came on late at night on Sundays and played punk records and new bands like Blondie, The Ramones, X, Joan Jett, Devo and Cheap Trick. Did this weirdo really have some influence? A 90-minute 2004 documentary now on YouTube, Mayor of the Sunset Strip (Part 1) tells his story, and it's weirder than you may have imagined. [more inside]
posted by planetkyoto on Nov 14, 2011 - 24 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

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

Arduino the Documentary

A movie about Open Source Hardware:
Arduino the Documentary [more inside]
posted by lemuring on May 1, 2011 - 33 comments

An Extended Finnish Saturday Matinee

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]
posted by filthy light thief on Apr 30, 2011 - 12 comments

The Definitive Look at the Diversity of Our Planet

Five years ago this week, the BBC started broadcasting one of the most extraordinary documentaries ever to grace television: Planet Earth. The culmination of five years of field work, it employed the most cutting-edge of techniques in order to capture life in all its forms, from sweeping spaceborne vistas to shockingly intimate close-ups -- including many sights rarely glimpsed by human eyes. Visually spectacular, it showcased footage shot in 204 locations in 62 countries, thoroughly documenting every biome from the snowy peaks of the Himalayas to the lifegiving waters of the Okavango Delta, a rich narrative tapestry backed by a stirring orchestral score from the BBC Concert Orchestra. Unfortunately, the series underwent some editorial changes for rebroadcast overseas. But now fans outside the UK can rejoice -- all eleven chapters of this epic story are available on YouTube in their original form: uncut, in glorious 1080p HD, and with the original narration by renowned naturalist Sir David Attenborough. Click inside for the full listing (and kiss the rest of your week goodbye). [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Mar 7, 2011 - 69 comments

ex-Marine and gay grieving mother expose corruption in abandoned chocolate factory

"An optimistic history professor and a Jewish organic farmer form a punk rock band in a UN refugee camp." -- "Three starry-eyed karaoke performers and a gay warlord start a girl's school in a Baltic village." -- "A starry-eyed high school journalism teacher and a mustachioed HAM radio operator follow their dreams on a leaky cabin cruiser." All this and more at the FALSE/FALSE FILM FEST. [more inside]
posted by philip-random on Feb 16, 2011 - 30 comments

Restrepo

Restrepo is a feature-length documentary that chronicles the deployment of a platoon of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley. The movie focuses on a remote 15-man outpost, "Restrepo," named after a platoon medic who was killed in action. It was considered one of the most dangerous postings in the U.S. military. This is an entirely experiential film: the cameras never leave the valley; there are no interviews with generals or diplomats. The only goal is to make viewers feel as if they have just been through a 90-minute deployment. This is war, full stop. The conclusions are up to you. (previously) [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese on Dec 14, 2010 - 41 comments

"Only trust yourself. People who say they'll take care of you are the very ones who will hurt you the most."

The shady, predatory side of the modeling industry is the one former model Sara Ziff wanted to portray in her new film “Picture Me: A Model’s Diary”, which chronicles five years in the lives of a group of models, following them backstage and beneath the makeup." An interview with Ziff regarding her then-upcoming film appeared on MeFi in June, 2009. The documentary opens today in NYC. Official Site. Trailer. At New York Magazine's Website: Webisode 1 / Webisode 2. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 17, 2010 - 38 comments

"Australia would not send forces here; that's impossible."

Death of a Nation – East Timor. [more inside]
posted by cthuljew on Aug 28, 2010 - 12 comments

Babies. Babies. Babies.

A new documentary, Babies, is reviewed by Village Voice.
posted by zardoz on May 6, 2010 - 69 comments

Can a person disappear in surveillance Britain?

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]
posted by zarq on Apr 29, 2010 - 17 comments

"I am an American as you can see from my shirt."

Ya'll remember Johnathan "The Impaler" Sharkey, Minnesota gubernatorial candidate for the Vampires, Witches, and Pagans Party? Of course you do. But have you seen Impaler, the documentary about him? hulu
posted by Pope Guilty on Nov 3, 2009 - 10 comments

CGI-brows short mockumentary

CGI-brows (link goes to video on Vimeo which contains a naughty word but is otherwise SFW.) A short mockumentary about extreme emoting through SFX by RocketSausage (Dir. Andrew Gaynord) which has won the Virgin Media Shorts People's Choice Award for 2009.
posted by planetkyoto on Oct 1, 2009 - 12 comments

Pogue Mahone, ya Nipple Erectors

Shane MacGowan is the face and name most often associated with The Pogues. Unraveling Shane's psyche would require a book-length study but the crux of his identity lies somewhere in that conflict between English experience and Irish heritage. The abbreviated story of his life starts with his birth in England, but he was raised in Ireland, and moved back to England some years later. He won a scholarship to the renowned Westminster School, where he was possibly enrolled alongside Thomas Dolby and other notable people. MacGowan was involved with drugs and publicized hooliganery before being in a band, the first of which was The Nipple Erectors in 1977. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Sep 13, 2009 - 87 comments

Inside a bloody cultural tradition.

TV star. Amusement park attraction. Mine sweeper. Stew meat. Funded by SGI & Netscape founder James Clark, award-winning documentary The Cove goes undercover for an inside look at the brutal slaughter of dolphins in the Japanese town of Taiji. Previously.
posted by kanuck on Aug 6, 2009 - 20 comments

Life in the Tunnel - Dark Days

Sunday Morning Movie - A moving and fascinating documentary, Dark Days is on Google Video. Marc Singer lived in the tunnel, and started filming with the help of his fellow tunnel dwellers. Trivia here. Inevitable Wikipedia link here. [more inside]
posted by Fuzzy Skinner on Nov 9, 2008 - 19 comments

War-porn clearinghouse

Real Military Flix. Documentaries, combat clips, full-length movies. For all your warporn needs. Iraq/Afghanistan firefights. The Great War etc..
posted by stbalbach on Jun 26, 2008 - 6 comments

The Documentary Blog

Do you love documentaries? The Documentary Blog offers reviews and news about documentary films. Check out their list of the Top 25 Documentaries.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner on Mar 27, 2008 - 52 comments

I don't want no more of this Crazy Love...

Crazy Love, a Sundance feature documentary, tells the bizarre love story of a couple (Burt Pugach and Linda Riss) who married after he stalked her and threw lyme acid in her face, eventually blinding her. Interview with the couple, some pictures from the movie. Some years into their marriage, he was again accused of stalking, and his wife defended him.
posted by misha on Jul 2, 2007 - 49 comments

"Almost true freedom."

Off The Grid: Life On The Mesa. A new documentary explores life in 15 square miles of northern New Mexico. With no cops, no official authority, and barely any understanding of who even owns the land, a special environment has arisen. Hippies, rednecks, and other assorted loners exist in either the last outpost of true American freedom or "the largest outdoor insane asylum" - and then they are tested by self-proclaimed revolutionaries with their own idea of how to run things. Check out the official MySpace page for the trailer and some clips.
posted by Sticherbeast on Jun 2, 2007 - 54 comments

post-slatewiper documentary

"When you walk into a house that was sealed in the last couple of years of the plague, you can crack the door or window and it pops like a vacuum seal, and you walk in and there's surprisingly little dust..."

Among the quotes from "Ever Since the World Ended," a fake documentary about the 186 survivors left in SF following a slate-wiping pandemic. No idea if it's any good, but the documentary approach makes it creepy, because it doesn't feel far from home.
posted by cloudscratcher on Nov 13, 2006 - 61 comments

Loose Change

Loose change A one hour analysis of 9/11 and how it is more likely than not that the government was actually behind the attacks. A documentary analyzing the footage and presenting an alternative view to the official version.
posted by zeerobots on Nov 11, 2005 - 115 comments

The Most Charming Trailer I've Ever Seen

A few of you may have seen this trailer on Kottke's site yesterday, but its just to wonderful to miss. "Mad Hot Ballroom" is a new Paramount Classics documentary about a junior competitive ballroom dancing circuit up north. To state the completely obvious, its like a "Spellbound" with the kids dancing instead of spelling.
posted by JPowers on Apr 6, 2005 - 12 comments

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