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by Cynthia Fuchs

3 Apr 2012


“Nothing about this case was ever believable. It was always the twilight zone in the Madoff case, because every time you saw something, it never made sense.” Set against an abstracting black background and addressing the camera, Harry Markopolos looks like he’s had experience in that zone. Even as Markopolos went repeatedly over 10 years to the SEC with evidence that Bernie Madoff was stealing from people, no one took notice: papers were filed and ignored. Based on Markopolos’ book, No One Would Listen, Jeff Prosserman’s smart, weird, provocative documentary makes its subjectivity a virtue. Chasing Madoff shows Markopolos’ self-certainty (bolstered by his colleagues at Rampart Investment Management, who did believe him) and also his growing paranoia; the film not only shows it, but lets you feel a bit of it too, because, in Markopolos’ world, it makes too much sense. When he reenacts his concerns in deep shadows cocking a gun and glowering, the scenes are at once sensational, nutty, and strangely affecting. Markopolos’ outrage is also supported by interviews with Madoff’s victims, identified here by their Madoff numbered accounts. Along with Markopolos, they voice the film’s underlying argument: Madoff was not deviant, he was exemplary. His system depends on silence, on insularity, and on repeated looks the other way. The film insists that you look, that you feel uncomfortable, that you worry.

See PopMattersreview.

by Thomas Britt

29 Feb 2012


An Appointment with The Wicker Man

The biggest news to emerge from a recent Empire web chat with Nicolas Cage is that Cage has not given up on The Wicker Man. The actor starred in Neil LaBute’s 2006 remake of Robin Hardy’s classic 1973 horror film, and the result was an endlessly rewarding misfire, earning the film cult status and generating wildly popular Internet memes.

The Wicker Man (2006) Trailer:

by Cynthia Fuchs

28 Feb 2012


Late last year, Nuon Chea, better known as Brother Number 2, was charged with war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide, in a UN-based court in Phnom Penh. On the second day, the prosecution played a clip from a documentary, Thet Sambath and Rob Lemkin’s Enemies of the People.

The film uses multiple interviews with Nuon Chea, conducted over years, to tell the story of the Khmer Rouge from a distinctly, agonizingly personal perspective. Sambath begins by remembering his father’s murder. “They arrested him and took him to the rice field. They killed him by thrashing by knives,” Sambath says. “He did not die immediate. He very, very suffer. My brother, he watch.” Now a senior reporter with the Phnom Penh Post, Sambath has spent years seeking answers to the question that has shaped his life: “Why the killing happened.” His film includes interviews with several killers, now living un-special lives in villages, as well as Nuon Chea. As these interview subjects sift through memories, they sound variously true and delusional, fragmented and self-serving, working their way to confessions in roundabout ways. You can’t know whether this is a function of fading memories, confusion or deliberate obfuscation. “Frankly,” one says, laughing weakly, “Without the wine, we wouldn’t dare kill people.” At the same time, the film’s compositions insist on the layers of storytelling, showing multiple frames within frames, arranged in camera lenses and mirrors, doorways and monitors. The effect is complex, brilliant, and devastating.

by PopMatters Staff

8 Dec 2011


Enter for your chance to win a copy of Michael Jackson: The Life of an Icon on Blu-ray along with a Blu-ray disc home theater system (prize pack valued at $375)!

All entries will also be qualified to win the national grand prize package which includes:

+ 46” LCD HDTV
+ Blu-ray Home Theater System
+ Michael Jackson: The Life of an Icon on Blu-ray

ENTER THE CONTEST HERE

 

by Cynthia Fuchs

20 Sep 2011


The Chile of Patricio Guzmán’s childhood is long gone, a collective history he’s explored in other films. But Nostalgia for the Light (Nostalgia de la luz), now available on DVD from Icarus Films, looks at that history in brilliant new ways, articulating two searches for the past. One is a pursuit of scientific knowledge, the evidence to support theories of how life began and what might be coming for the planet earth; it’s conducted by astronomers via the world’s largest optical telescope (called the European Extremely Large Telescope, or E-ELT) located in Chile’s Atacama desert. The other, ongoing since 1990, is undertaken by the relatives of victims of August Pinochet’s dictatorship: they seek remains and stories, knowledge of how their loved ones died. Both searches, the film points out, involve bodies, material and celestial, and both are endless. As the documentary draws parallels, it also points out the elusiveness of understanding. The past is ineluctably the present, bodies of all kinds exist in cycles, as the astronomer Valentina Rodríguez explains. At the same time, past and present, she is also the daughter of two of the disappeared. “What happened to my parents and their absence takes on another dimension” when she studies the stars, she says. “It takes on another meaning and frees me a little from this great suffering, as I feel nothing really comes to an end.” 

See PopMattersreview.

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