Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Project)

An ongoing survey of the Criterion Forum membership to create lists of the best films of each decade and genre.
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matrixschmatrix
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 11:26 pm

Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#401 Post by matrixschmatrix » Tue Mar 18, 2014 8:21 pm

Nah, with a few exceptions just about everyone came up with something that put me through the ringer- I wouldn't worry too much. I nearly screwed up my on list by having typed "The Secret Life of Plants" instead of the "The Private Life of Plants"

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#402 Post by matrixschmatrix » Tue Mar 18, 2014 8:25 pm

Knives, I think the problem was confined within your picks, so although I think I've fixed it, I'd appreciate it if you checked off everything that you picked to make sure it all made sense.

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knives
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Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#403 Post by knives » Tue Mar 18, 2014 8:26 pm

Ha, yet I bet my list was first submitted. It will probably wait until the morning, but I can do that.

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zedz
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Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#404 Post by zedz » Tue Mar 18, 2014 9:08 pm

I'm just trying to identify my orphans and also-rans, and I'm probably going blind, but I can't find Mor'Vran or Rien que les heures on any of the lists.

My Regrets:

I completely forgot about Tokyo Olmypiad and would have placed it around the middle of my list, which would have vaulted it into the top ten. Well, at least this great film didn't need my help.

Hadn't considered Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One as a documentary at all, but of course it is. This might have crept into the lower reaches of my list.

Considered early on, forgot about, and probably should have reconsidered: Vivan las Antipodas!, Marwencol. Both might have been touch and go inclusions.

Should have considered but probably wouldn't have included: For All Mankind, Svyato.

bamwc2
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Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#405 Post by bamwc2 » Tue Mar 18, 2014 9:23 pm

Dear whoever voted for The Little Richard Story,

Where the hell can I find this?

Sincerely,
bamwc2

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#406 Post by matrixschmatrix » Tue Mar 18, 2014 9:41 pm

Zedz- they're both there, in the orphans list, alphabetized under their English titles (The Sea of Ravens and Nothing but Time, respectively.)

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swo17
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Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#407 Post by swo17 » Tue Mar 18, 2014 9:46 pm

zedz wrote:Hadn't considered Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One as a documentary at all, but of course it is. This might have crept into the lower reaches of my list.
You should have spent more time colluding with yourself.

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zedz
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Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#408 Post by zedz » Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:07 pm

swo17 wrote:
zedz wrote:Hadn't considered Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One as a documentary at all, but of course it is. This might have crept into the lower reaches of my list.
You should have spent more time colluding with yourself.
The most depressing thing about reading that post is realizing I forgot The Shovel. Probably the most awesome film ever made about shovels.

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Askew
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Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#409 Post by Askew » Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:07 pm

I just realized I forgot to put Haxan on my list. Oh well, I still stand by what I submitted. I'm happy to see The Sinking of the Lusitania made the top 100. The other two animated films I voted for, The Mighty River (Frederic Back) and Waltz with Bashir, were orphaned however. I would have written something up on these two and a few others I voted for, but I was just so busy the last couple of months. I hope I can contribute more to the war list project.

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Lowry_Sam
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Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#410 Post by Lowry_Sam » Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:13 pm

I'm not seeing any of my top 10 in the top of the list & now noticing mine mustn't have been tabulated......thought I PM'd my list a month ago, but it looks like it wasn't sent & only saved to draft. I had contemplated amending & resubmitting it to include Night & Fog after Resnais' death, but it looks like it did quite well.

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domino harvey
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Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#411 Post by domino harvey » Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:22 pm

I literally cannot fathom how You're the Judge made the final list, but congrats to whoever else not only saw its value but apparently put it in your Top 10?! I'll buy ya a drink some time, you crazy doll. I forgot way too many obvious titles, looking at the final list (Chronicle of a Summer, Haxan... Night and Fog... oh well, they didn't need my help)

And good work on tabulating, Matrix. Glad we could make your swan song as painfully protracted and difficult as possible. "Come and moderate the List Project, we'll get together, have a few laughs"

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swo17
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Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#412 Post by swo17 » Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:28 pm

domino harvey wrote:I literally cannot fathom how You're the Judge made the final list, but congrats to whoever else not only saw its value but apparently put it in your Top 10?!
For the record, I saw its value--I just didn't see how it was a documentary. Like Vertical Features Remake or Zorns Lemma.

JonoQ
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Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#413 Post by JonoQ » Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:32 pm

Dear whoever voted for The Little Richard Story, Where the hell can I find this?
That would be me, but unfortunately I can't help you. I saw it last year at the Museum of Art & Design in NYC - they were doing a partial retrospective of William Klein's films. Definitely catch it if you get the chance - it's both one of the most insightful films I've ever seen on race and sexuality and one of the funniest movies I've ever seen, documentary or otherwise.

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zedz
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Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#414 Post by zedz » Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:50 pm

MY TOP TWENTY

Almost all of these actually made it onto the final list, by some miracle.

1. Sherman’s March (Ross McElwee, 1986)
2. The House is Black (Farrokhzad, 1963)
3. Rhythm (Lye, 1957)
4. The Ossuary (Jan Svankmajer, 1970)
5. The Thin Blue Line (Errol Morris, 1988)
6. The Quince Tree Sun (Victor Erice, 1992)
7. Hear My Cry (Maciej Drygas, 1991)
8. Walking from Munich to Berlin (Oskar Fischinger, 1927)

9. Sink or Swim (Su Friedrich, 1990) – ORPHAN – Dazzling structuralist autobiography in which Su talks about her relationship with her father in 26 reverse – alphabetical / forwards-chronological chapters (‘Z is for Zygote’ etc.) May seem a bit of a reach for the ‘documentary’ tag, but it’s something of a diary film, and almost all of the accompanying footage is documentary in nature.

10. Wanda Gosciminska – Weaver (Wojciech Wiszniewski, 1975)

11. Mor’Vran (Epstein, 1931) – ORPHAN – Well, it won’t be long before you can see this elemental documentary / fiction hybrid for yourself and it can go from “that obscure film that only zedz has ever seen and probably doesn’t even exist” to “that worthless piece of shit”!

12. Fire in Castille (Val del Omar, 1961)

13. The Act of Seeing with One’s Own Eyes (Stan Brakhage, 1971) – ORPHAN – Wow, I’m very surprised that nobody else could stomach this.

14. Night and Fog (Resnais, 1955)
15. Interior New York Subway 14th Street to 42nd Street (Bitzer, 1905)
16. New York Portrait: Chapter II (Peter Hutton, 1981)
17. The Sinking of the Lusitania (McCay, 1918)
18. Walden (Mekas, 1969)

19. Tram Rides through Nottingham (Mitchell & Kenyon, 1902) – ORPHAN – A beautiful, kaleidoscopic actuality that has been mysteriously omitted from all the Mitchell & Kenyon volumes to date.

20. A Man Vanishes (Imamura, 1967)

OTHER ORPHANS:

Most of these I’ve spoken about already, either in this thread or in the various relevant decades threads.

21. The Architecture of Doom (Peter Cohen, 1989)
22. American Boy (Martin Scorsese, 1978)
23. This Is How It Shall Pass (Jeles, 1970)
24. Rules of the Road (Su Friedrich, 1993) – Su tells the story of a past love and the car they used to drive, illustrated by shots of identical (or near-identical, or not very similar at all) faux-wood-panelled station wagons, one of which might actually be The One. I’m taking it on faith that the girl and the car actually existed, but even if that’s all invented, this is a great Zorns Lemmaesque urban catalogue film.
26. Ulysse (Agnes Varda, 1982)
31. Welfare (Wiseman, 1975)
32. S.S. Ionian (Jennings, 1939)
33. 28 Up (Michael Apted, 1985) – I figured vote splitting might be the problem here, but instead it looks like a case of near-total indifference!
34. Cuadecac- Vampir (Portabella, 1971) – Astounding making-of that vampirically pulls off a better and eerier adaptation of Dracula than the film it’s loosely documenting. Christopher Lee seems to think the same thing, since he starred in Portabella’s next film.
39. Corne d’Or (Pialat, 1964)
41. Rats in the Ranks (Robin Anderson / Bob Connolly, 1996)
42. Mingus (Reichman, 1968)
45. Rien que les heures (Cavalcanti, 1926) – Gorgeous, visionary Parisian city symphony that really deserves a lot more love.
46. Jeux des reflets et de la vitesse (Chomette, 1925) - Gorgeous, visionary Parisian city symphony that really deserves a lot more love.
49. Act of God (Greenaway, 1980)


ALSO-RANS

Thanks to whoever else also voted for these gems!

25. La Soufriere (Werner Herzog, 1977)
28. Crazy (Heddy Honigmann, 1999)
36. Witnesses (Marcel Lozinski, 1988)
37. RR (Benning, 2007)
40. Screen Test: Ann Buchanan (Warhol, 1965)
43. 79 Primaveras (Alvarez, 1969)
47. Le Chant de styrene (Resnais, 1958)
48. Daybreak Express (Pennebaker, 1953)

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#415 Post by matrixschmatrix » Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:52 pm

domino harvey wrote:I literally cannot fathom how You're the Judge made the final list, but congrats to whoever else not only saw its value but apparently put it in your Top 10?! I'll buy ya a drink some time, you crazy doll. I forgot way too many obvious titles, looking at the final list (Chronicle of a Summer, Haxan... Night and Fog... oh well, they didn't need my help)

And good work on tabulating, Matrix. Glad we could make your swan song as painfully protracted and difficult as possible. "Come and moderate the List Project, we'll get together, have a few laughs"
Yeesh. "I'm good at this now," I said to myself. "I can put it off until the last minute. There's now way there will be as many orphans as there were for the Animation project!"

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Lowry_Sam
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Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#416 Post by Lowry_Sam » Wed Mar 19, 2014 1:05 am

Well here was my list:

1 Eyes On The Prize (Hampton)
2 The Sorrow And The Pity (Ophuls)
3 Titicut Follies (Wiseman)
4 Rivers And Tides (Riedelsheimer)
5 The War Photographer (Frei)
6 Microcosmos (Nuridsany/Perrenou)
7 Koyaanisqatsi (Reggio)
8 Hearts And Minds (Davis)
9 The Power Of Nightmares (Curtis)
10 Waco: The Rules Of Engagement (Gazecki)
11 Harlan County USA (Kopple)
12 The Fog Of War (Morris)
13 Planet Earth (BBC)
14 The Store (Wiseman)
15 Blue (Jarman)
16 Man With A Movie Camera (Vertov)
17 Winter Soldier
18 Salesman (Maysles)
19 The Weather Underground (Green/Siegel)
20 Frontline: Bush's War pt. 1 (Huffman/Monemvassitis)
21 The Times Of Harvey Milk (Epstein)
22 Paris Is Burning (Livingston)
23 Roger And Me (Moore)
24 The Central Park Five (Burns)
25 Night And Fog (Resnais)
26 The Story Of The Weeping Camel (Davaa/Faalomi)
27 The Wild Parrots Of Telegraph Hill (Irving)
28 The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On
29 Capturing The Friedmans (Jarecki)
30 Dark Days (Singer)
31 Shoah
32 The Corporation (Achbar/Abbott)
33 The Thin Blue Line (Morris)
34 The Century Of The Self (Curtis)
35 Jesus Camp (Ewing/Grady)
36 Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room (Gibney)
37 Frontline: The Torture Question (Kirk)
38 The Trap: What Happened To Our Dream Of Freedom (Curtis)
39 The Act Of Killing (Oppenheimer)
40 When We Were Kings (Gast)
41 Bukowski: Born Into This (Dullaghan)
41 Uncovered: The War On Iraq (Greenwald)
42 An Unreasonable Man (Mantel/Skrovan)
43 Control Room (Noujaim)
44 Ballet Russes (Geller, Goldfine)
45 The Take (Klein/Lewis)
46 The War You Don't See (Lowery/Pilger)
47 Hot Coffee (Saladoff)
48 Hospital (Wiseman)
49 Zoo (Wiseman)
50 Welfare (Wiseman)

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knives
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Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#417 Post by knives » Wed Mar 19, 2014 2:12 am

Looks like you got all the typos Matrix. Anyhoot top twenty plus orphans (which might as well as be my whole fifty).

1Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania--Poo, I guess my insane ramblings came off as just that. This is the best film about community, alienation, and growing old that I've ever seen. If only Antonioni could have captured the sustained tragedy of the Kubelka scene.

2The Elephant Will Never Forget (Krish)---I figured with the revival of Krish's reputation I didn't need to bolster this tragedy, but I guess I'm wrong.

3Innocence Unprotected
4Man With a Movie Camera
5Dying at Grace (King)---I imagine in general I should have campaigned harder for King, but I know a few of you have seen the films in this set. How after seeing this you skip over completely is confusing.

6The Times of Harvey Milk
7The Lacey Rituals--Admittedly this is more interesting from a theoretical standpoint, but what's more entertaining than toothless British theory?

8Garlic is as Good as Ten Mothers---I suspect lack of availability mixed with vote splitting killed Blank in general.

9Prohibition (Burns)---Probably the same case as the above, but I would have hoped Dom would have at least helped a brother out.

10Shinjuku Boys----This film manages without any commentary to be one of the most complex and honest looks at how gender and sex is a truly fluid concept out of any art ever.

11Fuego en Castilla
12Lost, Lost, Lost
13Belfast, Maine (Wiseman)---Despite not being his most famous work this is such a complete overview of everything Wiseman that completely ignoring it seems shocking.

14A Visit to the Louvre---I guess this is pushing the definition a little bit, but damn if it doesn't replicate the experience of learning about art so perfectly that the nature of the commentary becomes irrelevant.

15Night and Fog
16Of Time and the City---I suppose I shouldn't have expected any better after the other thread, but like anything else Davies has done this is the perfect mixture of nostalgia and self loathing. There's never been a more empathetic crank ever.

17Ethnic Notions---You guys have to be fucking with me at this point. No love for Riggs at all?

18A Married Couple (King)---This is the greatest film about direct cinema while at the same time being one of the best uses of it. If you haven't seen it you are missing out.

19Portrait of Jason---I wait for your apologies once this gets rereleased.

20Tabloid (Morris)

More Orphans
23Lu tempu di li pisci spata
24Casting a Glance (Benning)
25Four Seasons (Peleshian)
26Despotism
27Aimless Walk (Hammid)
28Fengming (Wang)----Just needed to point out that this is five films in a row that are orphaned. Now I know what Dom feels like.
32Memory of Max, Claire, Ida and Company
35All White in Barking
36Neil Young Journeys
38Lift (Isaacs)
39Tongues Untied
41Calais: The Last Border
42Crazy Horse (Wiseman)
45Svyato
47On the Bowery
48The Metaphor (Vidor)

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Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#418 Post by bamwc2 » Wed Mar 19, 2014 9:55 am

Orphans are highlighted. I'm working on something right now between classes for the war thread that may take me a few days to complete, so I don't think that I'll have any defenses up anytime soon.

1. Shoah (Claude Lanzmann, 1985)
2. The Animals Film (Myriam Alaux and Victor Schonfeld, 1981)
3. Growing Up (Martin Cole, 1971)
4. Ordinary Fascism (Mikhail Romm, 1965)
5. Lake of Fire (Tony Kaye, 2006)
6. Hell and Back Again (Danfung Dennis, 2011)
7. The Interrupters (Steve James, 2011)
8. Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam (Bill Couturié, 1987)
9. The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter (Connie Field, 1980)
10. Extreme Private Eros: Love Song 1974 (Kazuo Hara, 1974)
11. Private Practices: The Story of a Sex Surrogate (Kirby Dick, 1986)
12. Salt for Svanetia (Mikheil Kalatozishvili, 1930)
13. Tokyo Olympiad (Kon Ichikawa, 1965)
14. Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt (Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, 1989)
15. Stories We Tell (Sarah Polley, 2012)
16. Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxographer (Thom Andersen, 1975)
17. Sayanora CP (Kazuo Hara, 1972)
18. The Sorrow and the Pity (Marcel Ophüls, 1969)
19. Le cochon (Jean Eustache and Jean-Michel Barjol, 1970)
20. Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages (Benjamin Christensen, 1922)
21. High School (Frederick Wiseman, 1968)
22. Dialogue with a Woman Departed (Leo Hurwitz, 1981)
23. Room 237 (Rodney Ascher, 2012)
24. Venom and Eternity (Jean-Isadore Isou, 1951)
25. The Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer, et al. 2012)
26. Grass: A Nation’s Battle for Life (Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack, 1925)
27. The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On (Kazuo Hara, 1987)
28. Los Angeles Plays Itself (Thom Andersen, 2003)
29. Great Ecstasy of Woodcarver Steiner (Werner Herzog, 1974)
30. Everyday Life in a Syrian Village (Omar Amiralay, 1976)
31. Primate (Frederick Wiseman, 1974)
32. How to Survive a Plague (David France, 2012)
33. Wattstax (Mel Stuart, 1973)
34. October Country (Donal Mosher, 2009)
35. Native Land (Leo Hurwitz and Paul Strand, 1942)
36. Filming Othello (Orson Welles, 1978)
37. Origins of a Meal (Luc Moullet, 1979)
38. Hôtel Terminus (Marcel Ophüls, 1988)
39. F for Fake (Orson Welles, 1973)
40. Titicut Follies (Frederick Wiseman, 1967)
41. Olympia I & II (Leni Riefenstahl, 1938)
42. Nanook of the North (Robert Flaherty, 1922)
43. The Thin Blue Line (Errol Morris, 1988)
44. Crumb (Terry Zwigoff, 1994)
45. Restrepo (Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger, 2010)
46. Woodstock (Michael Wadleigh, 1970)
47. The Man with the Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, 1929)
48. The Arbor (Clio Barnard, 2010)
49. Live Nude Girls Unite! (Vicky Funari and Julia Query, 2000)
50. Bodysong (Simon Pummell, 2003)

With more than half of my list as orphans, all that I can say is that you guys have terrible taste. :wink: Kidding aside, thanks, Matrix, for overseeing the projects. And thanks to everyone who participated for the great suggestions!

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domino harvey
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Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#419 Post by domino harvey » Wed Mar 19, 2014 10:14 am

My top 10:

01 Louis and the Nazis
02 Roger and Me
03 Microcosmos
04 Hollywood (ORPHAN)
05 Surviving Edged Weapons
06 Dirty Projectors: Take-Away Show (ORPHAN)
07 High School
08 Should I Marry Outside My Faith? (ORPHAN)
09 LBJ 1964 Commercial (Daisy) (ORPHAN)
10 Beauty Knows No Pain (ORPHAN)


35 orphans and too many films I'm slapping my forehead over not including

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#420 Post by matrixschmatrix » Wed Mar 19, 2014 11:21 am

Just so we're all on the same page, we had something like 380 orphans across 14 lists- so around 27 would be average.

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colinr0380
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Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#421 Post by colinr0380 » Wed Mar 19, 2014 2:40 pm

Amusingly I had Man With A Movie Camera at my number one position, and Night and Fog in second place!

I couldn’t really decide properly on qualitatively best films (also found it very difficult to rank ‘real life’!), and looking through the list there are a lot of films I forgot, missed or simply have not yet seen (I’m thinking about doing a quick post on that soon). So I just put together a list of the documentaries that were most on my mind at this particular moment in time. I tried to go for documentaries that provided the most interesting and unique experiences too!

My orphans are:

4. Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media – I think this is the more lovable kaleidoscopic journey through ideological concepts to The Corporation’s more militantly confrontational stance. I love both (and am glad to see The Corporation on the list at 49) but this is my personal favourite! In what other film do you get to journey to the actual town called ‘Media’!

6. Edward Said: The Last Interview – Three and a half hours of Said talking about his life, his career, his work and ideas contained in his novels, Palestine and the failures of Arafat. Absolutely compelling throughout with no need for flashy visuals, just time to watch people talking, leafing through books and discussing. I also voted for it because it inspired me to buy a copy of Orientalism!

7. The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of The Politics of Fear, 18. The Trap: What Happened To Our Dreams of Freedom and 19. All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace – I also had Pandora’s Box in there too but decided that I needed to give filmmakers other than Adam Curtis some attention too! I put a thread about the Curtis films here and went through All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace as it was broadcast.

I really like the montage storytelling techniques in these documentaries that works beautifully to inspire subliminal, slightly cheeky connections between topics! I would also recommend the, non-narrated, intertitled, Doris Day-stock footaged, ‘wall of sound’ soundtracked It Felt Like A Kiss as a good entry point too!

9. Enthusiasm – I’m glad I quickly remembered to vote for this one now! Best enjoyed with a glass of celebratory vodka to raise in triumph as the religious iconography troops dejectedly out of its church!

10. Raw Deal: A Question of Consent – a harrowing film about rape, class, the education system, prostitution, domination, videotape, ‘justice’, and whether anyone comes out of a terrible situation with their dignity intact, especially once the authorities get involved.

13. London Orbital – a trip around London’s main motorway ringing the city (a ‘non-place’) that sparks off a chain of free associative reminiscences, remembrances and dreams that personalise and humanise an otherwise empty stretch of road.

14. The Colours of Infinity – not the best made documentary in the world, but a fascinating one, as Arthur C. Clarke talks through the world of fractals and the Mandelbrot set.

16. Waco: The Rules of Engagement – An almost insanely comprehensive documentary tracing the rise and downfall of David Koresh’s Branch Davidian cult, from video tapes of sermons, to the phone calls during the fatal FBI siege.

17. American Movie – “It’s all right! It’s OK! There is something to live for!! Jesus told me so!” Also valuable for teaching me the way that all Americans seem to pronounce Coven (not like oven but like the cove of a beach!) *wink*

20. Blackfish – I thought I should throw in a modern film as a kind of compensation for not having yet had the guts (or the time!) to watch The Animals Film! But this is a great substitute, showing the life of killer whales in capitivity and their occasionally fatal interaction with their trainers (both parties betrayed by their Sea World managers, i.e. the people who really deserve to be eaten or placed in captivity!)

21. Culloden – a magnificent ‘cinema verite’ documentary taking the conceit of a camera crew capturing the events of the 18th century battle, running its lens down the line of bedraggled conscripts. The theme of the blameless individual being railroaded by uncaring leaders into fighting their battles for them, for no reward.

22. Chicken Ranch – behind the scenes of a brothel in the middle of nowhere with its own private airfield to ferry in the randy clientele. Amusing, jawdropping, depressing and dark, sometimes all at the same time. But hey, it’s a job!

23. Robinson in Ruins – following London and Robinson In Space, this is a view of Britain’s landscape with the human interaction marginalised in favour of nature reclaiming forbidden or ‘toxic’ spaces.

30. A Great Day In Harlem – The story behind gathering all of the jazz greats of the late 1950s together for a group photograph. This same photograph actually gets used as a significant plot point in Spielberg’s The Terminal, so if you watch this documentary you not only get more insight into the individuals, but also don’t need to watch Tom Hanks and Catherine Zeta-Jones going through an on-again/off-again odd couple romance!

32. The Same River Twice – intercutting between the past and the present, this is a film about a naïve communal rafting trip with abundant nudity and free love contrasted against the present day of faded or shelved ideals as people button up their blouses to become schoolteachers or forlornly reminisce about the good old days. The impossibility of recapturing, or recreating, an idyllic moment.

33. Out of Phoenix Bridge – a documentary about four Chinese women who have moved to the countryside and are all sharing a tiny room in Beijing while looking for work as labourers. Another film about hopes and dreams almost powerless in the face of harsh reality. Also clear eyed about the pressures of supporting a family back in the countryside, or abandoning children to be raised by their grandparents while you have to move where the opportunities are.

37. A (1998) – followed a couple of years later by the follow up film A2, this is in a similar vein to the Waco film, but about the Aum Shinrikyo cult who were behind the Tokyo subway sarin gas attacks in 1995

38. The Death of Yugoslavia – the magnificent, harrowing BBC series interviewing those involved in the break up of Yugoslavia, Bosnian war and subsequent ethnic cleansing.

39. Tattooed Tears – behind the scenes of a Juvenile detention facility in California. Scary stuff!

40. Patience (After Seabald) – as with London Orbital, a geographical journey through a piece of literature

41. Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography – a great tribute to the creation of breathtaking imagery

42. Paradise Lost – The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills – corruption, assumptions and deception

45. Classified X – Melvin van Peebles presents a journey through black representation in cinema. Prepare yourself for lots of insensitive blackface material and Shirley Temple behaving like a little brat towards her various filmic butlers!

46. East Side Story – now I know that MichaelB didn’t submit a list! This is another film documentary, this time about the Soviet musicals extolling the virtues of farming and meeting the yearly quotas! (Almost directly in opposition to all the Busby Berkeley beautiful yet decadent celebrations of the aesthetic qualities of love, dance and music for its own sake!) Much more fun than it sounds, as these were the mainstream entertainment films that all the budget available to filmmakers got thrown at in order to make them as lavish as possible.

47. Crystal Voyager – the best surfing film ever made, split into two halves. The first follows a pro surfer, their live and their fascination with the sea. The second dives into the ocean to put the audience onto the surfboard with fish eye lenses and inside the wave shots galore. The final stretch, scored to Pink Floyd’s Echoes, is superb.

48. Wednesday – in contrast to East Side Story, this is a portrait of lives in a crumbling Moscow tower block!

49. The Future Is Not What It Used To Be – a portrait of a Finnish ‘futurist’. I wrote more about this here.

50. Synthetic Pleasures – now this documentary is definitely dated, full of mid 90s ‘virtual reality’ shots, but covers so many different issues from the internet culture of the time to created ‘faux natural’ landscapes to sexuality, video games, and subcultures in general. Is this form of ‘reproduction’ as good, or at least as vibrant, as the Biblical one?

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zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#422 Post by zedz » Wed Mar 19, 2014 3:12 pm

knives wrote:2The Elephant Will Never Forget (Krish)---I figured with the revival of Krish's reputation I didn't need to bolster this tragedy, but I guess I'm wrong.
My Krish pick was I Think His Name Is John, but it didn't end up on my list. Let's conspire to get Captured on the war list instead.
8Garlic is as Good as Ten Mothers---I suspect lack of availability mixed with vote splitting killed Blank in general.
I was kind of paralyzed by Les Blank, because there are so many great films that had no chance of making it. I knew that a vote for Burden of Dreams was a safe vote, but great as it is, I honestly don't love it as much as Innocents Abroad, or Garlic, or Gap-Toothed Women, or The Maestro, or Chulas Fronteras, or. . . Criterion really needs to get a box set out. Many of these films are of modest length, so they could probably fit a dozen on two or three BluRays.
10Shinjuku Boys----This film manages without any commentary to be one of the most complex and honest looks at how gender and sex is a truly fluid concept out of any art ever.
Longinotto is another big personal vote splitter for me, and ended up missing my list (with Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go the probable front runner of the no shows). While I'm at it I should probably also give a guilty shout out to Molly Dineen. (Sorry Molly!) If you like Shinjuku Boys, you should definitely seek out its companion film Dream Girls, which follows Japanese women who join the Takarazuka Revue and are moulded (in a kind of gender boot camp) into ultra-feminized 'girls' or ultra-masculinized 'men'. It looks like the film is available from Women Make Movies - at non-institutional prices!
42Crazy Horse (Wiseman)
Although this didn't make my list, it's a great film. I've got the BluRay in the post!
45Svyato
I feel incredibly guilty for not voting for this! Really a magical film, but Belovs and Tishe! and Vivan las Antipodas! were all vying for my attention and I ended up with none of them.

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knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#423 Post by knives » Wed Mar 19, 2014 3:21 pm

zedz wrote: Let's conspire to get Captured on the war list instead.
Definitely and thanks for the Dream Girls suggestion. Sounds absolutely amazing.

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zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#424 Post by zedz » Wed Mar 19, 2014 3:31 pm

knives wrote:
zedz wrote: Let's conspire to get Captured on the war list instead.
Definitely and thanks for the Dream Girls suggestion. Sounds absolutely amazing.
Those two films toured festivals as a programme, and they work brilliantly together, so I was quite surprised when Second Run issued one without the other. But now I look at the fine print, I see that Dream Girls was originally a BBC commission, which means UK licensing would have been practically impossible.

Women Make Movies also have two more of Longinotto's 'Japanese Women and Gender' films, Eat the Kimono and The Good Wife of Tokyo - neither of which I've seen - but they're only available at eye-watering institutional rates. The wonderful Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go (about a school for kids suffering from major emotional trauma) is available at regular-folks prices however. Very highly recommended.

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Lemmy Caution
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 3:26 am
Location: East of Shanghai

Re: Documentaries List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#425 Post by Lemmy Caution » Wed Mar 19, 2014 4:30 pm

Thanks for all the work matrix.
A lot of good stuff on the orphan list.
I was surprised to see a 2014 film there as well -- Aatsinki: The story of Arctic Cowboys (Jessica Oreck, 2014)

Lemme see. From a quick scan, I think 20 of my choices were on the Top 100 list, 4 were orphans and 26 got a lone nod from Lemmy C.

A number of films should have been on my list: On the Bowery, The Great White Silence, Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One. And I somehow forgot The Silent World which it seems nobody voted for -- probably because it is hard to come by. A very interesting document of its time, when conservation had a rather different set of values and practices ...

Still plenty I still need to see, most notably: A Great Day In Harlem, the Edward Said doc, Sherman's March, Quince Tree of the Sun, Los Angeles Plays Itself and a lot lot more including some unobtainable zedz recommendations. But there's a wealth of interesting short docs and others in the Orphans List.

Some of the foreign docs I've never heard of, such as:
29. Hear My Cry/Uslyszcie mój krzyk (Maciej J. Drygas, 1991) 99/3(2)/6
33. Wanda Gosciminska, a Textile Worker/Wanda Gosciminska - wlókniarka (Wojciech Wiszniewski, 1975) 95/3(1)/10
___________________________________________________________
And while I'm at it, what do the numbers mean?
I understand the first number is the total number of points, I assume the second is how many lists it was on, and the final number is ... the highest placement on a list (?)
Is that right?
But then what is the number in parentheses?
I assumed that was how many times a film was ranked #1 on a list.
But then the final number isn't what I thought it was.
A little help here ...
Last edited by Lemmy Caution on Wed Mar 19, 2014 4:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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