Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Films to look for.

Just a quick update on the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. This was the 12th year of Full Frame and the movies we saw (with two exceptions) ranged from good to great. That hasn't always been the case, but this year we lucked out, and that's what festivals usually turn out to be - pure luck.
OK, here are some films to look for:

Saint Misbehavin' - The Wavy Gravy Movie - If all you know about Wavy Gravy is from Woodstock, see this movie. Born Hugh Romney, WG has led a remarkable life of service and philanthropy. A real love letter to a terrific human being.

The Yes Men Fix the World - Pranksters of another sort pose as corporate spokespeople and show the world what could be done if Corporations lived up to their responsibilities. Funny and with balls the size of grapefruits, these guys might not fix the world completely, but they give it a good shot.

Oblivion - That's the director, Heddy Honigmann. She made this movie about the forgotten city of Lima-Peru and all of the people who work in the shadow of the presidential palace, a place where dictators and their corrupt cronies come and go, leaving the people struggling to get by alone. I've seen one other film by Honigmann called Forever. It will be availbale on Netflix this month and I urge you to rent it. It's a beautiful film about art, dedication, and dead people.

Fallen Champ - Barbara Kopple made this movie 16 years ago and showed up to answer questions as part of the 2009 festival's sports theme. The film is a nuanced look at a complex guy, shot when Tyson was in jail for rape.

The director of Fallen Champ is Barbara Kopple, one of my favorite doc directors. She's helmed more than 20 pictures, including Oscar winner "Harlen County USA" about coal miners and the Dixie Chicks' joyful answer to their critics, "Shut Up and Sing."

And to anyone who can watch any of these movies and still cling to the bullshit claim that documentaries should be objective, I wish you luck with that.

Tomorrow, a look at how technology has changed in the 12 years since the first Full Frame festival.

*The sculpture up top is Red Grooms' Way Down East. That's DW Griffith directing the ice floe scene he lifted from Uncle Tom's Cabin. I first saw this sculpture in front of the Cincinnati Museum of Art. It now resides on the campus of Northern Kentucky University. It's Cincinnati's loss, if you ask me.