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Documentary that you found facinating/interesting?

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In reply to an earlier post on Mar 28, 2011 11:49:16 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 28, 2011 12:44:12 PM PDT
WP: Ah, but you know that idealists must find happiness where they can. Of course proponents of climate change have the right to express their views--but any observer will see that the reasoned voices on the other side are completely marginalized--much as the Church tried to marginalize the heliocentric theory.

And I repeat--most documentaries have nothing to do with art--craft or rhetoric, but not art--and thus should be judged with a degree of objectivity. And science needs to be objective--I very much fear that the climate change extremists are very much on the wrong track, and it is lack of objectivity, and obsessive pride, that cause many scientists--unfortunately, many in medicine or biology--to falsify data either to fit a pet theory, or to keep getting grants. We need a great more objectivity in our society--without it, we are like brute beasts that hath no understanding. (10 points and kudos to the first person to identify the source of the last quote.)

After first posting this, I realized that I needed to make a modification. I can think of two documentary makers who are genuinely artful--Errol Morris and Ken Burns. That does not stop me from having problems with the works themselves, particularly with Burns--see my long review of National Parks. But it would be silly to deny that they are genuinely artful in their work.

But they are far from the norm.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 28, 2011 2:26:18 PM PDT
J. Baker says:
William Smith said:>"And I repeat--most documentaries have nothing to do with art"<

Repetition doesn't make it so.

I'm going to watch 'Louisiana Story' again tonight. Great work of art by Robert Flaherty. I wish I could precede it with Jean Rouch's ': Les Maîtres Fous', but sadly I've never been able to find that greatest work of short documentary art on video. I'll have to make due with either Humphrey Jennings's 'Listen to Britain', or Georges Franju's 'Hôtel des Invalides', or Alain Resnais's 'Toute la mémoire du monde.'

Maybe we have a very different definition of what 'art' is. Or what 'documentary' is. Or maybe you are being a bit unyielding in your hard-driving attack on the non-fictional form of filmmaking.

Posted on Mar 28, 2011 3:55:52 PM PDT
JB: You missed my last post, in which I modified my view. And recall that I said "most", not all. You are most definitely citing exceptions to the general rule. Documentaries, to my definition, are fact based films. By that definition, Moore's films and The Corporation and others are not documentaries--but agitprop, and not art. And many others, to my mind, cannot be called art at all.

One that you may or may not know that is very fine--Henri Langlois: Phantom of the Cinematheque

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 28, 2011 5:16:19 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 28, 2011 5:18:59 PM PDT
J. Baker says:
I would agree that 'The Corporation', while valuable for its instruction, isn't much for art. And 'Bowling for Columbine' is a long ways away from fine art - in fact it's a mess - but I'd argue that messiness is a deliberate part of it's aesthetic, and it's artful in its way, more than merely "crafty", and I know we'll never see eye to eye on that, so I give up! I've already given up on trying to convert you to seeing the genius of silent comedy.

Thank you for the Langlois suggestion, I had never heard of that one before.

Posted on Mar 29, 2011 7:11:56 AM PDT
The Henri Langlois doc is amazing, I believe I mentioned it on here earlier. He was committed to art in a way that hardly exists anymore. There is also an earlier doc called simply Langlois, which has interviews with a lot of interesting figures: Lilian Gish, Ingrid Bergman, Jeanne Moreau, and of course Truffaut and Godard. Tough to find, though.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2011 7:25:53 AM PDT
Thanks bella. No, it's not easy to abandon modern convenience, but I have to say, those times when I lived somewhat apart from civilization were some of the happiest and most fulfilling of my life. Even just the little changes, like not having much light at night, affect your whole lifestyle and perspective. I've never felt so rested as I did when I would actually go to bed at night and wake up at dawn. Now, I'm up most of the night writing or reading or watching movies. A mixed blessing I guess.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 30, 2011 10:09:37 AM PDT
JB: I can almost guarantee that you will love the Langlois film.

Posted on Mar 31, 2011 6:16:17 PM PDT
reelfan49 says:
I love Documentary films some of my favorites are;
The Thin Blue Line -Errol Morris
Hearts of Darkness about the making of Apocolypse Now
Hoop Dreams- BB Doc
Celluloid Closet -Gay Hollywood history
Deliver Us from Evil- Child Molester Priest [even though I'm Catholic and still love my faith]
Paper Clips -children learning about the Holocaust
Times of Harvey Milk
Dear Jessie a Gay man's journey about the similarities and differences between himself and Jessie Helms
Dear Zachary - Just Wow.
The War Room -Clinton's run for the presidency
Shoah - about Holocaust survivor's in Poland
Hotel Terminus -about Klaus Barbi
My Brother's Keeper -about 4 challenged Brothers one whom is accused of murdering the other.
Maxed Out -about credit card debt.
Thanks for the topic.

Posted on Mar 31, 2011 7:10:25 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 31, 2011 7:37:50 PM PDT
Ed Raton says:
Japan's Killer Quake just came out on PBS' Nova last night-you can also watch it online.

If you have an interest in geology or just the physics of such a large earthquake and tsunami it's a must see. At sea the wave is only 1 meter high, but the wavelength was 60 MILES. So you have a 1 meter high wave moving at 600 miles an hour (in open ocean), with 60 miles of high water behind it. So even though it is a misnomer, "Tidal Wave" is actually what a tsunami acts like, a fast moving high tide.

Having lived in Japan for 8 years, I was always terrified during the frequent tremors, but we never experienced anything greater than a 4.5 magnitude. Probably the reason for my fascination with this quake and tsunami.

Posted on Mar 31, 2011 8:30:07 PM PDT
John Larrick says:
The best documentary I have seen recently was part of the E.S.P.N. series "30 for 30" that deals with sports topics. "The Greatest That Never Was" is the story of Missisippi high school football legend Marcus Dupree and his incomparable talent and his unfullfilled destiny. The doc deals with Dupree's life in abject poverty, the recruiting war by college coaches and his betrayal by a minister that served as an "advisor" who directed his financial affairs when he signed a contract worth millions in the U.S.F.L.
This is one of the best I've seen in years and the others in the series were very good also.
E.S.P.N. also produced a great documentary on "Secretariat" several years ago that ranks with the best. Sportswriter William Nack's descriptions of Secretariat are very moving. The footage of the great horse winning the final leg of "The Triple Crown" by an astounding 31 lengths with the announcer pronouncing that he was moving "like a great machine" down the backstretch will give you chills. It is one of the great stories in sports history and beautfully told in this piece, ( better than the moive).

Posted on Mar 31, 2011 9:56:04 PM PDT
Green Meanie says:

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 1, 2011 12:58:01 AM PDT
TO: bella7

You're welcome. Let me know what you think of the article.

Posted on Apr 1, 2011 1:19:09 AM PDT
One Documentary that I found absolutely fascinating (because I'm both a Star Wars nerd and big on "behind the scenes" documentaries) was called "Empire of Dreams: The Making of the Star Wars Trilogy." I was truly interested the entire way and I couldn't stop. Documentary is about 2.5 hours and every minute is very insightful.
For those who are's about the real trilogy. Haden Christensen and Jar Jar don't exist.

Posted on Apr 1, 2011 10:08:48 AM PDT
Speaking of Nova--There was a two hour Nova back in either the late 70s or early 80s on plate tectonics that still stands out in my mind as an outstanding example of making complex science approachable.

And in the realm of docudrama--From The Earth To The Moon ranks in my mind as one of the finest examples of television of any sort--period.

Posted on Apr 1, 2011 10:36:53 AM PDT
"A League of Ordinary Gentlemen"--The best "sports" movie I have ever seen as well.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 1, 2011 2:42:10 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 1, 2011 2:49:44 PM PDT
A Customer says:
"20 seconds of Joy"

It covers this fairly hot Norwegian base-jumper as she goes from one crazy jump to another. Great flick, here's a clip;

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 2, 2011 6:04:41 AM PDT
bella7 says:
Hi Walter,

According to the American Cancer Society article the radiofrequency waves from cell phone towers do not pose a cancer risk compared to gamma rays, X-rays and UV rays. (I've already had basal cell carcinoma on my skin due to too many tanning beds in my 20's. My father also died of testicular cancer at 41 years old...cause unknown.)

Based on that article, it appears I should not be alarmed by the looming cell phone tower next to where I work every day, but then again, I'm the type that worries when a co-worker opens the microwave door while the microwave's still running! lol

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 2, 2011 6:06:04 AM PDT
bella7 says:
Looks good, thanks!

Once on tv I saw some people base jumping in some kind of "bat wing" type suits. It's like they were flying. Pretty cool stuff.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 2, 2011 11:26:29 AM PDT
TO: bella7

RE: "Based on that article, it appears I should not be alarmed..."

I'm glad that you've found the article to be informative and helpful.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 2, 2011 11:40:06 AM PDT
TO: bella7

RE: "...some kind of "bat wing" type suits."

They're called "wing suits" and skydivers use them when jumping from airplanes, as well. I've never used them because I'm still a novice, with only three jumps in my logbook. (I did my first jump when I was in my early 50s.)

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 2, 2011 11:48:21 AM PDT
bella7 says:
Good for you! Sounds fun. My 20 yr old nephew just did his first skydive jump from a plane last year and loved it. What an experience.

Some video of wing suit base jumping:

Also a good extreme skiing/base jumping dvd is Steep. The people in this film are on the verge of crazy. They take some BIG risks.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 2, 2011 11:53:20 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Apr 13, 2011 8:37:42 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 2, 2011 12:17:33 PM PDT
bella7 says:
Are you saying you would not feel very "mighty" while skydiving?

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 2, 2011 12:23:36 PM PDT
TO: bella7

RE: "My 20 yr old nephew just did his first skydive jump from a plane last year and loved it. What an experience."

Good for him! Do you jump? If you haven't done it yet, you should try it. You can skydive at any age, as both I and the first President Bush have shown (although he only did a tandem jump).

RE: "video of wing suit base jumping"

Thanks, that was excellent! I notice that the base jumpers were kids; 20-somethings think they're invulnerable anyway. I know better! Did you see the next video? It showed a guy crashing into the rocks. He tried to use his parachute to pull himself away from the rocks, but instead it pulled him toward them. He was lucky; he ended up being caught in a tree and had a "severely fractured" leg. And this guy had over 2,000 jumps! No thanks, I'll stick to jumping out of perfectly good airplanes. That's safe!

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 2, 2011 12:28:32 PM PDT
TO: The Mighty Thor

RE: "That would frighten me stone blind and paralyzed."

Oh, c'mon! Skydiving is perfectly safe because you can trust the laws of physics and your training. It's righteous! (Yes, I'm a product of the '60s - and proud of it! (smile))
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Initial post:  Apr 11, 2010
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