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Film

Filmmaker Marlon Riggs Knew That Silence = Death

In turning the camera on himself, even in his most vulnerable moments as a sick and dying man, filmmaker and activist Marlon Riggs demonstrated the futility of divorcing the personal from the political. These films are available now on OVID TV.

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Music

'All I Can Say' Examines the Final Years of Blind Melon's Shannon Hoon

When the Blind Melon vocalist Shannon Hoon died in 1995, he left behind a tape archive that captured him in his most intimate moments. Directors Danny Clinch, Taryn Gould, and Colleen Hennessy discuss the beauty and tragedy of the musician's life.

Film

Apocalypse '45 Uses Gloriously Restored Footage to Reveal the Ugliest Side of Our Nature

Erik Nelson's gorgeously restored Pacific War color footage in Apocalypse '45 makes a dramatic backdrop for his revealing interviews with veterans who survived the brutality of "a war without mercy".

Film

Of Purges and Prescience: On David France's LGBTQ Documentary, 'Welcome to Chechnya'

The ongoing persecution of LGBTQ individuals in Chechnya, or anywhere in the world, should come as no surprise, or "amazement". It's a motif undergirding the history of civil society that certain people will always be identified for extermination.

Television

The Enduring Appeal of 'Unsolved Mysteries'

Society is reckoning with Clinton-era "tough-on-crime" policies, law enforcement is no longer seen as the unambiguous good guys, yet true crime television thrives in Netflix's Unsolved Mysteries.

Television

'Tiger King' and the Post-Truth Culture War

Tiger King -- released during and dominating the streaming-in-lockdown era -- exemplifies in real-time the feedback loop between entertainment and ideology.

Film

'The Ghost of Peter Sellers': When an Actor Destroys His Own Movie

Peter Medak's documentary about his ill-fated 1974 pirate comedy, The Ghost of Peter Sellers, is less bonkers tale of a production gone mad than therapeutic excursion into a traumatic memory.

Film

Disruptive Films and Political Turmoil

Facet's Disruptive Film: Everyday Resistance to Power, Volume Two documents the multiple approaches a variety of filmmakers take in wielding video and celluloid for social change.

Film

'Capital in the 21st Century': Pie for the Rich, Crumbs for the People

Justin Pemberton's film version of Thomas Piketty's landmark book on the dangers of today's yawning income inequality, Capital in the 21st Century, is more TED Talk than documentary, but it's a handy summary nonetheless.

Film

Before Ru Paul and Trixie Mattel There Was the Ball Circuit: 'Paris Is Burning'

Told through the voices and movements of the legends and pioneers of the '80s Harlem drag-ball scene, Paris Is Burning is an indispensable look at one of America's most influential subcultures of the last half-century.

Film

'Slay the Dragon' Is a Road Map of the GOP's Methods for Dividing and Conquering American Democracy

If a time traveler from the past wanted to learn how to subvert democracy for a few million bucks, gerrymandering documentary Slay the Dragon would be a superb guide.

Film

Daniel Krikke's 'Scared of Revolution' Brings Forth the Last Poet

Hip-hop, the most lasting and revolutionary contribution to popular music in the post-War period, does not exist without the Last Poets Umar Bin Hassan's work.

Film

For Valentine's Day, the End of Anti-Miscegenation Laws: 'The Loving Story'

The Loving Story's tale of this Supreme Court victory lays out both its legal and moral import, and then turns back to Richard and Mildred Loving in intimate, evocative images.

Film

'The 2020 Oscar-Nominated Short Films: Documentary' Shows People Struggling for Security

Anxiety about institutions' ability to provide security is at the root of a strong crop of nonfiction short subjects, which range from South Korea to Sweden, the suburbs of California to the city of St. Louis, in The 2020 Oscar-Nominated Short Films: Documentary.

Film

The Kids Are Not All Right: Jean-Gabriel Périot's 'A German Youth'

Jean-Gabriel Périot's documentary on the rise and fall of Germany's radical Red Army Faction (RAF), A German Youth, warns how each generation's sins can evoke violent trauma amongst its progeny.

Film

Alex Gibney's 'Citizen K': The UK and US Through the Post-Soviet Looking Glass

In Citizen K, director Alex Gibney refrains from judging his imperfect protagonist, exiled Russian oligarch business man and political philanthropist, Mikhail Borisovich Khodorkovsky.

Film

Hamptons International Film Festival 2019: 'On Broadway'

Oren Jacoby's richly illustrated documentary on the ups and downs of modern Broadway, On Broadway, is all celebrations and no questions. Whether that's a problem depends on your level of theater mania.

Film

'One Child Nation' Illuminates One Horror, Reveals Another

Starting as a personal look at the damages wrought by decades of China's one-child policy, One Child Nation exposes a deeper, baser level of national corruption.

Film

The Spitfire Rumble of the Rolling Stones: Director Oliver Murray on 'The Quiet One'

For director Oliver Murray, music exists in the air, but the emotional archives of former Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman gives viewers a tactile experience of this band's story in The Quiet One.

Film

Cinema of Revelation: 'Minute Bodies' Peers into F. Percy Smith's Legacy

There's some mystery about the quietly conscientious artist and pioneer F. Percy Smith, and Minute Bodies can't penetrate it as easily as he revealed the hidden life of plants.

Film

Scorsese and Dylan: A Match Made in Fantasy

In Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story, a cinematic genius and a Nobel Prize-winning musical icon pair for a magical and purposefully deceptive look at rock 'n' roll life in the mid-'70s.

Film

When Experience Becomes Art: Director Ryan White on 'Ask Dr. Ruth'

Documentary director and producer Ryan White discusses the analogy of musical chairs and how it relates to the filmmaking process, including in his latest about America's famous sex therapist, Dr. Ruth Westheimer.

Film

Perfection, Caffeinated: Director Rock Baijnauth on His Documentary, 'Baristas'

Director Rock Baijnauth talks with PopMatters about spending time with Barista Champions and their pursuit of coffee perfection for his latest documentary, Baristas.

Film

'In the Intense Now' and the Clash and Clangor of Conflict

João Moreira Salles's melancholic documentary, In the Intense Now (No Intenso Agora) stitches together amateur footage of the riots of 1968 to create a riveting rumination on the glee and disillusionment of idealism.

Film

'Hail Satan?' Is Devilishly Fun

Documentarian Penny Lane challenges you to leave behind your preconceptions and give the Devil his due in this irreverent, entertaining look at the Satanic Temple, Hail Satan?

Film

East Meets West in Cold War Vacations 'The Golden Head' and 'Flying Clipper'

Flicker Alley restores Cinerama travelogue spectacles The Golden Head and Flying Clipper.

Film

'Combat Obscura' Just Blows It All Up

In Combat Obscura, a jangled, jarring Afghan War documentary, a Marine Corps cameraman shows the flippant cynicism of combat in ways the military would rather we not think about.

Film

Urgent Art Through the Eyes of Young Men: 'See Know Evil'

Charlie Curran, the young director of the documentary See Know Evil, discusses the importance of telling the story of the equally young '90s fashion photographer phenomenon, Davide Sorrenti.

Film

'Social Animals' Focuses on the Highs and Lows of Instagram-Famous Teens

To say young people's identities are tied up in social media would be a failure to recognize that the digital is now intrinsically part of the real, as evidenced in the documentary, Social Animals.

Film

Racist Violence Is a Family Thing in 'Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?'

Travis Wilkerson's essay film, Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun? is stubbornly inward-looking, especially considering its subject matter of white on black violence in America.

Film

Ursula K. Le Guin: Old Soul, New Worlds

Arwen Curry's documentary, Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin, shows how, in Le Guin's writings, fantasy can be viewed as both a different way of seeing and understanding the past, and a new way of seeing the present -- and what the future could be.

Film

The Allure of 'Mountain': An Interview with Artistic Director of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Richard Tognetti

Richard Tognetti reflects on synergising music and film with the cello-like voice of narrator Willem Dafoe in his work for Jennifer Peedom's gorgeous documentary, Mountain.

Film

Engaging Flow: On Ruttmann's 'Berlin, Symphony of a Great City'

One way to understand the form of Walther Ruttmann's Berlin, Symphony of a Great City, is to see it as producing states of flow that reinforce a flat ontology among humans, animals, machines, buildings, bodies of water, etc.

Film

'Matangi/Maya/M.I.A.' Is a Studied but Incomplete Portrait of the Artist and Activist

The new documentary by Steven Loveridge, Matangi/Maya/M.I.A., is an imperfect homage to the talents of its star, albeit with brief moments of fascinating inquiry at its center.

Reviews

'Hillbilly' Reclaims Appalachia's Identity Against Lasting Insidious Stereotypes

Hillbilly provides a cogent analysis of the connection between the United States' cultural supremacy over its own Appalachian region, and the nation's resultant economic and political exploitation of it.

Film

'Anthropocene: The Human Epoch' Leaves Little to the Terrified Imagination

The third in this critical environmental series, Anthropocene represents a significant departure from Manufactured Landscapes and Watermark.

Music

A Long-Faded '80s Music Festival Makes a Return to the Spotlight

Unlike most rock festivals that came before it, the US Festival in 1982 was unique and at times groundbreaking.


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