As we celebrate the 15th installment of Doc Fortnight (February 19–29), it is fitting that we find ourselves looking to the past to illuminate the present, uncovering old stories with new lessons.
Posts tagged ‘documentary film’
“War is partly madness, mostly insanity, and the rest of it’s schizophrenia. You do ask yourself, ‘Why am I here? What is my purpose? What’s this got to do with photography?’ And it goes on and on, the questioning. You’re trying to stay alive, you’re trying to take pictures, you’re trying to justify your presence there.
The selections in this year’s Documentary Fortnight: MoMA’s International Festival of Nonfiction Film and Media (February 13 through 27) cast an intriguing look at life using a range of storytelling approaches—poetic, hybrid, observational, and dramatic. Many of these films, which center, at their core, on stories of human resourcefulness, are haunted by the concerns of our age: environmental disasters, wars, austere immigration and economic policies, urban and rural overdevelopment, and the repetition and ellipses of history.
These notes accompany the screenings of Arne Sucksdorff’s The Great Adventure (along with a pair of short films) on July 18, 19, and 20.
And now for something completely different! Over the past several weeks we have looked at films that seem to be definitive statements of the worldview of major artists
These notes accompany The Documentary Expands, which screens on March 10, 11, and 12 in Theater 3.
Calling Merian C. Cooper (1893–1973) and Ernest B. Schoedsack (1893–1979) auteurs may seem like fudging a little bit, but I don’t think it is. Yet the doubt creeps in on two levels. First, while film is undeniably a collaborative medium, the auteur theory argues that there is a singular dominant creator. The bond between these guys, however, seems so seamless in their films as to be almost unique. The other reason for hedging is that they first made their collaborative mark in documentary film, a form that presupposes that the director cannot mold his material as freely as can the maker of narrative films. (It has become obvious in subsequent decades that even the most “pure” cinéma vérité is subject to manipulation at the hands of masters like Jean Rouch or Fred Wiseman.) And it is, of course, true that immediately after Grass, Cooper and Schoedsack began to move away from authentic actuality.
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