Blog Archives

Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press

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July 19, 2017.  Although the “Human Rights Watch Film Festival” ended on June 18, I am still making my way through its many fine and important offerings.  The problem that can occur in writing about a film festival that has ended, is that I usually end up critiquing films that are not yet available to the public.  Fortunately, the documentary “Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press,” featured in the “Human Rights Watch Film Festival,” is already available on Netflix.  Netflix produced it, and more power to them for having done so!

 

“Nobody Speak” comes at a crucial time in our country’s history.  By now everyone has seen the re-purposed video, originally shot several years ago, of Donald Trump tackling someone to the floor as part of a World Wide Wrestling Federation stunt, during a wrestling match.  In the version “tweeted” by Trump this week, the CNN logo was superimposed over the face of the person being tackled.  Clearly the image symbolized that someone wealthy, and politically connected (Trump), could take down a media organization, a frightening thought, considering Trump’s railings against mainstream media.  This short clip, typical of the current level of antagonism toward the press at the highest levels of power, makes “Nobody Speak” even more relevant than it already was.

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She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry (By Guest Blogger, Wendy Moscow)

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As someone who came of age at the tail-end of the second wave of feminism, the documentary film “She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry” has a special resonance for me. Featuring interviews with women who were involved in the movement and stirring archival footage, often featuring those same women, the film takes us back to a time (not that long ago) when equal rights for women was a radical idea.

The antiwar, civil rights, and free speech movements were at their peak in the 1960’s and ‘70’s, but while the male activists formulated policy and held press conferences, the women found themselves relegated to sealing envelopes and making coffee. With an evolving understanding that female disempowerment is systemic and institutional, women within those movements began rising up to claim their rightful place alongside the men. For many of the men, though, this new liberation movement hit too close to home. In one scene, shocking by today’s more enlightened standards, Marilyn Webb bravely advocates for women’s equality before a gathering of hundreds of “New Left” men, only to be ridiculed, cat-called, shouted down, and even threatened with rape. Read the rest of this entry

Land of the Giants

The cast of "Land of the Giants"

The cast of “Land of the Giants”

I recently re-connected with the TV show “Land of the Giants” through Netflix.  “Land of the Giants” was a science fiction series which ran on ABC from 1968 – 1970, which means I watched it when I was between the ages of six and eight years old, and really enjoyed it.  When I heard that “Land of the Giants” was going to be coming out on DVD, I could not wait to see it again.

Viewing “Land of the Giants” now, as an adult, not to mention a film critic, I am happy to report that it has stood the test of time.  It is still a good series if perhaps a “guilty pleasure.”  Its effects are rather homemade looking by today’s standards but, for me, that contributes to the show’s charm. Read the rest of this entry

Searching for Sugar Man

A missing musician is the subject of "Searching for Sugar Man"

A missing musician is the subject of “Searching for Sugar Man”

“Searching for Sugar Man” is a fascinating documentary about a great American singer of whom you have most likely never heard, unless, of course, you have seen this movie.  It is one of the best documentaries of 2012.

While the film was just released on home video, and is available as a DVD by mail from Netflix, it continues its run at City Cinemas Village East Cinema, at 181 Second Avenue, where it has been for at least the past few months.  Although it is playing on one of the theatre’s small, downstairs auditoriums, on a small screen, “Searching for Sugar Man” proved to be a revelation for me and the fewer than 10 other patrons who showed up for the first show this past Saturday. Read the rest of this entry

My Interview with “Side By Side” Director Chris Kenneally

“Side By Side” director Chris Kenneally

“It’s what everyone asks us when we’re home for the holidays, ‘What do you do?’” director Chris Kenneally explained to me regarding his former job as a post production supervisor of feature films.  Kenneally’s extensive knowledge of the post production process has brought him to his new position as documentary filmmaker with a documentary largely about (what else?) post production.   “Side By Side” is a film that unveils at least some of the mystery behind the post production process (what happens after a movie has been shot), as well as the production process (the actual shooting of a movie) of feature filmmaking.   Most important, Kenneally makes the production and post production processes, and the changes that they are now under going, interesting and accessible for those not involved in post production (most likely the majority who will see “Side By Side.”)

“We hoped that we could make something that’s not just educational but that’s entertaining.  We want people to be engaged and enjoy themselves while they’re watching it,” Kenneally told me during a recent telephone conversation. Read the rest of this entry