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“Tower” Documentary film 2016 about Texas Sniper is Superb

May 8th, 2017
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    Richard Brody New Yorker

    One of the best documentaries of 2016, “Tower” (available on Netflix), is about a mass murder that took place on and around the campus of the University of Texas at Austin in 1966, when a twenty-five-year-old man named Charles Whitman, equipped with a trove of high-powered firearms, climbed to the observation deck of the school’s central tower and, from its vantage point, fired down on random passersby. The director of “Tower,” Keith Maitland, conducted extensive interviews with survivors of the attack, as well as with officers and civilians who, together, brought it to an end. He uses them ingeniously, weaving voices together to tell a multifaceted story from multiple perspectives while taking an original approach to the overfamiliar technique of rotoscoped reënactments. It’s too good to spoil, but suffice it to say that the fifty-year gap between the events and the making of the movie are built into the story dramatically and movingly.

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    Brave Hollywood (see trailer)

    “Uncle Howard” a Documentary film about Howord Brookner, Produced by Jim Jarmusch

    April 27th, 2017
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    Burroughs with Howard Brooker from “Uncle Howard”

    Reflection on film

    BRINGING BACK HOWARD BROOKNER – AN ARTIST LOST TO AIDS

    Howard Brooker

    Born: April 30, 1954
    Died: April 27, 1989 (age 34) in New York City, New York, USA

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    photo of Jim, Sara and Howard

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    ‘Uncle Howard’ Remembers NYC Filmmaker Howard Brookner

    NYtimes (1989) Directors race with aids ends before his movie opens.

    ”Howard was kind of a weasel in figuring out how to get things done,” says Sarah Driver, who, along with the director Jim Jarmusch, was his closest friend at N.Y.U. ”Jim and I thought he would weasel out of his illness somehow.” ‘Wanted All the Gory Details’

    Like many of his friends, Madonna is haunted by a specific memory: ”Long before I knew anything, Howard asked me if I had ever seen anybody die. He wanted all the gory details about a friend who had AIDS and I nursed him to the end and was in the room when he died.”

    Earlier, when the disease had touched his body with lighter fingers, Mr. Brookner made a video diary of his sickness. Seeing himself as a film maker was so central to his identity that he was determined to stay alive for the opening of his movie. ”It was like that O. Henry story when a woman knows she will die when the last leaf falls off an ivy vine, and so a friend paints a leaf on the wall,” Mr. Gooch says.

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    Aaron Brookner (Howard’s nephew) and Jim Jarmusch at the Burroughs’ bunker.

    Stop Making Sense, Jonathan Demme – Stepped Out

    April 26th, 2017
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    via

    Jonathan Demme (Vanity Fair)

    rest in peace
    Oscar-Winning Director Jonathan Demme Dies at 73

    NYtimes Obit

    “I can’t think of any other director who is so instinctively and democratically interested in everybody he shows you,” Kael wrote.

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    Love his documentaries.. we’ll miss you Jonathan.

    Stf- Retrospective.

  • David Byrne’s tribute here (Slate)

    Jonathan helped me as I was developing True Stories, I wrote a song for his film Something Wild, a score for Married to the Mob and we made a test sequence for a never completed documentary featuring Robert Farris Thompson called Rule of the Cool. Jonathan went on to make a lot more features—some hugely successful, others not so much. He interspersed these with a number of documentaries and music films. The documentaries are pure labors of love. They tend to be celebrations of unsung heroes—an agronomist in Haiti, an activist (cousin) and pastor and an ordinary woman who does extraordinary things in New Orleans post-Katrina. The fiction films, the music films and the docs are all filled with so much passion and love. He often turned what would be a genre film into a very personal expression. His view of the world was open, warm, animated and energetic. He was directing TV episodes even this year, when he was in remission.

    Jonathan, we’ll miss you.

  • Best of Enemies – Buckley Vs Gore – A Documentary Film

    October 2nd, 2016
  • (Eugene Louis Vidal, October 3, 1925 – July 31, 2012)

    Gore Vidal would have been 91. Prolific, Elegant, Acerbic Writer – we miss you.

    Anais Nin and Gore

    Photos via Previous post (Goodbye Gore Vidal)

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    Best of Enemies (wiki)

    The Best of Beasties by - David Ehrenstein

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    NY Magazine (Best of Enemies)

  • Life in Feuds: How Gore Vidal gripped a nation..

  • Tokyo Olympiad (1965)- A Magnificent Documentary by Kon Ichikawa

    August 21st, 2016
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    “None of this, however, was what the Olympic Organizing Board wanted,” continues Richie. “Not only had Ichikawa refused to monumentalize the games, he had humanized them. In the uncut version (never publicly screened), the camera turns time and again from the major events to capture details: the spectators; athletes at rest; those who came in, not first, but third – or last. Japanese victories are not favored. At the end, the celebrations over, the stadium is empty. A man with a ladder crosses the field, from far away comes the sound of children at play. The games were, after all, only games. They are over and life goes on. Much of this footage has never been publicly screened, and among examples of film vandalism, the case of Tokyo Olympiad must rank as especially regrettable.”

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    I remember Ernest Hemingway telling me once that the unnoticed things in the hands of a good writer had an effect, and a powerful one, of making readers conscious of what they had been aware of only subconsciously. A parallel adage suggests that a great photographer can take a picture of a familiar street and tell you something about it you never knew before. After watching the 1964 Tokyo Olympiad, one can surely say that Ichikawa is of that tradition. (Geoorge Plimpton)

    Tokyot Olympiad Criterion

    See the Marathon clip..

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    (Via)

    A Punk Daydream – A Documentary Film Shot in Indonesia Looking for Completion by Belgium Filmmakers

    June 6th, 2016
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  • This is my favorite photo taken for the documentary, at Kota Harbor, Edo playing music on his ukelele to the kids. The metal round thing in the bottom left corner is a soup-bike in the making. It is recycled metal with a hole in it to fit a soup or porridge pot. It is then attached to a bike. That is how the poor make money. They ride around in the city selling street food. And it is actually delicious. The trashed floor… is actually layers of trashed on top of the OCEAN. Yes, there water underneath, not ground. not safe.

    (A Punk DayDream )

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    Jimmy Hendrickx (director) in the center and Kristian Van der Hayden (producer) on the right

    A punk Daydream or “Lamunan Oi!” is a portrait of the largest growing punk community in the world despite Indonesia’s extreme social, political, and environmental conditions, as seen through the eyes of punk youth. – by director Jimmy Hendrickx.

  • Please vote here at Indiewire -for A Punk Daydream.

    A Fuller Life -a Film about Sam Fuller by Samantha Fuller

    May 31st, 2016
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    Jim Jarmusch and Sam Fuller
    Sam Fuller Takes Jim Jarmusch on a trip

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    Meet the Fullers: Sam by Samantha and Christa

    A Fuller Life is a movie memoir of Sam Fuller made by his daughter Samantha. She and her mother Christa recall their lives with the maestro of tabloid cinema.

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    Christa Fuller films

    A FULLER LIFE celebrates the independent spirit of a true American maverick whose unique output broke new ground in journalism, filmmaking, storytelling and even service to his country. The story takes us through highlights of Samuel Fuller’s unconventional and adventurous life spanning a century of American history, a great man’s great yarn, a love song to democracy, and an hymn to independence, originality, and endurance.

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    (via)

    In his memoir A Third Face: My Tale of Writing, Fighting, and Filmmaking, Samuel Fuller wrote, “Heroes? No such damned thing! You moved your ass one way. And you didn’t get hit. You moved it another way, you were blown to bits.” That same thought must have crossed his mind on D-Day as he and “doggies” of the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry disembarked the USS Henrico, down its port-side netting and into bobbing LCVPs.

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    (Francois Truffaut and Sam Fuller - via)

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    (Shirley Yamaguch directed by Sam Fuller in The House of Bamboo)
    Shirley Yamaguchi and Isamu Noguchi – see previous post here

  • Agnes Varda – From Here to There + Her Portrait of Jane Birkin

    May 30th, 2016
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    From Here to There. Varda travels across the globe meeting with a variety of artists working in diverse media to discuss their inspirations, processes, and lives.

    Among others, she visits with fellow filmmakers Carlos Reygadas in Mexico and Manoel de Oliveira in Portugal. She visits experimental director Chris Marker who declines to be on camera but Varda is given access to his workspace shedding as much light on his life and work than an interview might. She visits artists Miguel Barcelo and Annette Messager, sculptor Christian Boltanski, and designer Hans Ulrich Obrist.

    Agnes Varda: From Here to There is a fascinating series not only because of the access she has to other artists but also because of her genuine curiosity about them and her clearly apparent and infectious joy in discovering new works of art. Part travelogue, part treatise on art and part Varda biography, Agnes Varda: From Here to There is an essential documentary for any art or film collection.

    via

  • Agnes Varda paints a portrait of a woman (Jane Birkin), this time in a marvelously Expressionistic way. JANE B. abandons the bio-pic format, favoring instead a freewheeling mix of gorgeous fantasy sequences. (Youtube)

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    Happy birthday Agnes Varda!

  • James Broughton – Seeing the Light

    November 10th, 2015
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    Portrait of James Broughton (via)

    Bunuel has Catholic zen. Dryer has Protestant zen.
    Stravinsky has Russian zen. Eisenstein almost lost his.
    Precise spontaneity is the only way of hitting the target.
    When you know how to be where you are and to do what you do, you can take any risk.
    Order does not interfere with freedom, as Bach proved.
    Bach makes all kinds of freedom live together harmoniously.

    James Broughton
    (Seeing the Light – page 48)

  • Poet, Memoirist, Playwright, Film maker - James Broughton (wiki)
    (November 10, 1913 – May 17, 1999) was an American poet and poetic filmmaker. He was part of the San Francisco Renaissance, a precursor to the Beat poets.

  • He briefly lived with the film critic Pauline Kael and they had a daughter, Gina, who was born in 1948

  • Documentary Films on Robert Noyce + Michael Fassbender as Steve Jobs

    July 18th, 2015
  • Silicon Valley Rebels (youtube)

  • These two documentaries recount the history of Silicon Valley and the creation of the digital integrated circuits without which modern digital technology would not exist. They focus on pioneer Fairchild Semiconductor founded by Robert Noyce, Gordon Moore, and others and their second move to start Intel (founded on this day July 18, 1968), creator of the microprocessor. Forming the backbone of a new industry, the later work of Apple and others would not have been possible. Yet these pioneers and their companies do not get the attention given to those applying their technologies. Early on, Gordon Moore saw that advances in digital integrated circuitry was so rapid that the capacity of the devices doubled every 18 months. This became known as “Moore’s Law” and still holds today. Your tiny phone with built in camera, GPS, WIFI, etc. is the result of these continuous advancements now in their fifth decade.

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    Robert Noyce Intel

    Robert Noyce

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    Steve Jobs and Robert Noyce

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  • Nicholas Vreeland & A Film “Monk with a Camera” by Guido Santi and Tina Mascara

    May 15th, 2015
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    photo via

    He became a disciple of Khyongla Rinpoche, attracted by his teachings about the importance of diminishing “self-cherishing” and negativity, and developing compassion for others. Three years later, he became a full-fledged monk and the only Westerner in a settlement of 20,000. Faced with the rigors of a devout life, he gave up photography for a while, until Martine Franck, the widow of Cartier-Bresson, visited his monastery and persuaded him to embrace it anew.

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    Nicholas Vreeland with a tea merchant in New Delhi, India

    Vreeland insists that he is not an artist at all, just a busy monk who happens to find pleasure in taking pictures, and honor in photographing the Dalai Lama on several occasions. (It was the Dalai Lama who appointed him abbot.) Almost sheepishly, dutifully keeping pride at bay, he admits that it was only by selling his photographs to collectors that the planned expansion of the monastery (to house an enormous wave of refugee Tibetan monks) was made possible. Vreeland understands and employs the power of art without seeking any of its ego luster. When filmmakers Guido Santi and Tina Mascara asked to make him the subject of a documentary, he declined until his master told him it would benefit others.

    Nicholas Vreeland (LA review of books)

    Monk with a Camera Trailer (youtube)
    Directed by Guido Santi and Tina Mascara

  • More touching and moving story of Christopher Isharwood and Don Bacardy was also directed by Santi and Tina Mascara
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    Chris and Don by David Hockney

    “Chris & Don: A Love Story”

  • The Social & Political films of Michael Winterbottom

    March 29th, 2015
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    Russell Brand and Michael Winterbottom
    photo via

    Bio

    Three of his films — Welcome to Sarajevo, Wonderland and 24 Hour Party People — have been nominated for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festiva (via his wiki)

  • Winterbottom to direct Amanda Knox Murder Trial – The Face of an Angel starring Daniel Bruhl.

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    Everyday photo via

    Michael Winterbottom has made an almost unbearably moving film that follows the lives of a prisoner’s family through the years

  • In this world Left to right: Jamal Udin Torabi as Jamal and Enayatullah as Enayat

    See In this World full film – (youtube)

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    Baldessaris Yellow fin and Tristram (scroll down to see the trailer – Trastram Shandy)

  • Has made three movies based on novels by Thomas Hardy: Jude (1996), based on “Jude the Obscure,” The Claim (2000), re-setting “The Mayor of Casterbridge” from rustic England to a California mining town, and Trishna (2011), an update of “Tess of the d’Urbervilles.”.(via Bio)

    Jude (Thomas Hardy) – Full film (Kate Winslett one of her finest performances).

  • Genova (Colin Firth- (trailer)