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Documentary

There was a time when documentary filmmaking felt a little bit like the red-headed stepchild of the film industry, and, to be sure, they still tend not to challenge fiction features at the box office unless they’re furiously topical political man…

It could be the name of a seniors-only a capella group, but the chummy, sunny title is misleading. If “Golden Dawn Girls,” which premiered in the main competition at the International Documentary Festival of Amsterdam (IDFA), represents any…

You probably haven’t been thinking about libraries a lot recently, what with all the politics and genocide and hurricanes. But then, you may not have been thinking about the University of California, Berkeley, or London’s National Gallery or the northwestern Queens neighborhood of Jackson Heights much either, unless you’re one of the small but growing number of devoted fans of documentarian Frederick Wiseman. His run of late-period docu-epics “At Berkeley,” “National Gallery” and “In Jackson Heights” continued in Venice last week with the premiere of his latest, “Ex Libris: New York Public Library,” which is already out in limited release. Continue reading Frederick Wiseman’s Intensely Rewarding, Humane ‘Ex Libris: New York Public Library’ [Review] at The Playlist.

Remember when “truth is stranger than fiction” used to be a thing that boring people said to fill awkward post-anecdote gaps at dinner parties and before it became the literal truth of every waking moment living in the Western world in 2017? Yeah, us neither. But of all cinematic forms perhaps it’s our appreciation of documentary filmmaking that has been most affected by the experience of living in such unsettled times — with only a few exceptions the docs we’ve been most impressed by this year have commented on the state we’re in right now, even when they ostensibly have done nothing of the sort. Continue reading The 20 Best Documentaries Of 2017 So Far at The Playlist.

Remember when “truth is stranger than fiction” used to be a thing that boring people said to fill awkward post-anecdote gaps at dinner parties and before it became the literal truth of every waking moment living in the Western world in 2017? Yeah, us neither. But of all cinematic forms perhaps it’s our appreciation of documentary filmmaking that has been most affected by the experience of living in such unsettled times — with only a few exceptions the docs we’ve been most impressed by this year have commented on the state we’re in right now, even when they ostensibly have done nothing of the sort. Continue reading The 20 Best Documentaries Of 2017 So Far at The Playlist.

You don’t have to have had his face as your avatar since you joined Twitter, like a certain @jessicakiang we could mention, to believe that Cary Grant is possibly the greatest movie star that cinema has ever produced. But nor does choosing to have Roger O. Thornhill from “North By Northwest” grimace out from your every tweet mean that you’re unaware of the actor’s rumored checkered personal history or that you uncomplicatedly embrace his mythos. Continue reading Showtime’s ‘Becoming Cary Grant’ Is A Disappointingly Depthless Doc [Review] at The Playlist.

Two Danish guys shoot for the stars, by attempting to home-build a craft capable of space travel, on a partially crowdfunded budget six orders of magnitude smaller than NASA’s, in Max Kestner‘s engaging doc, “Amateurs In Space,” which plays as part of the Transilvania Film Festival‘s documentary sidebar. It’s a film that feels immediately ripe for a narrative feature remake, if only Hollywood can work out which formula to follow: should it be a gentle comedy starring Ben Mendelsohn, that follows the wacky adventures of an odd couple of Danes and their David-and-Goliath story? Continue reading In Space, No One Can Hear You Whine: Tragicomic Doc ‘Amateurs In Space’ [Transilvania FF Review] at The Playlist.