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Movie Challenge Week 4: The Truth is Stranger

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Movie Challenge Week 4: The Truth is Stranger

Old 03-29-04, 11:12 AM
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Movie Challenge Week 4: The Truth is Stranger

What is Groucho’s Movie Challenge? Its mission is simple: let us all, as a forum, work to seek out films that might otherwise slip our radar. Each week, anybody who wants to participate will see a film within the guidelines, and return back to the forum to report on the film they saw. It’s easy, it’s fun, and everybody can participate. It’s not a trivia contest…it’s not a game…it’s merely a way we can all be exposed to new avenues of film appreciation…or at the very least see a good flick or two.

Week 4: The Truth is Stranger

Between now and next Monday (4/5), watch a Documentary.

Some other guidelines:

1. It should be feature-length, not a short. Like last week, we can consider “feature length” as anything over 60 minutes.

2. It should be a film you have never seen before.

3. Please, no “making of” documentaries or other film-related topics.

4. Please, no “concert” films where the documentary is mostly just recording a performance (comedy, music, whatever).

Watch your film whenever you have the time, and come back here to report…whether your experience was positive or negative.

Missed a previous version of the Movie Challenge? It’s never to late to play:

Week 1: Old Movie Week
Week 2: Foreign Film Week
Week 3: Silence is Golden
Old 03-29-04, 11:23 AM
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http://imdb.com/Charts/Votes/documentary
a link to the top 50 documentaries.
boy thats gonna be hard, the only one i want to see is capturing the friedmens, everything else, either i haven't seen, isn't an acceptible doc (the band, song remains the same)
Old 03-29-04, 11:26 AM
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Interesting challenge. For the first time, you've hit on a category of films I don't have in my collection.

To help people get started, here's a link to a list of the Academy Award winners in this category (although note that not all of them are 60 minutes or longer):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academy...entary_Feature
Old 03-29-04, 11:29 AM
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oh and can you please include concert docs, but make it where they must have been released theatrically? (in other words, can gimmie shelter count?)
Old 03-29-04, 11:33 AM
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Re: Movie Challenge Week 4: The Truth is Stranger

Originally posted by Groucho
3. Please, no “making of” documentaries or other film-related topics.
I assume you mean something like Heart of Darkness (a documentary about the making of Apocolypse Now) would not count, but something like Voices From the List (a documentary about the Jews who were on Schindler's List that is included on the Schindler's List DVD would count).
Old 03-29-04, 11:33 AM
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If I may make a suggestion: Bus 174 airs on Cinemax at 6:00 pm on Tuesday. It's subtitled but its riveting, so set your TIVO/VCR.


edit: I just checked that top 50 list posted above - Bus 174 is # 18.
Another suggestion: Fog of War which won the Oscar this year should be playing most major cities.

Last edited by MrN; 03-29-04 at 11:36 AM.
Old 03-29-04, 11:35 AM
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Revised.

Time to netflix Spellbound or Winged Migration. I wanted to see both films last year but never got around to it.

Last edited by chente; 03-29-04 at 11:39 AM.
Old 03-29-04, 11:35 AM
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Originally posted by Rypro 525
oh and can you please include concert docs, but make it where they must have been released theatrically? (in other words, can gimmie shelter count?)
I'm not Groucho, but I would say that Gimme Shelter isn't really a concert documentary -- because of what happened at Altamont, it's really a documentary about a violent incident set against the backdrop of a Stones concert.
Old 03-29-04, 11:40 AM
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I do want this to be a challenge, and I don't consider sitting and watching a concert of a band you enjoy very challenging. I'm not saying these are bad movies, but I'm trying to encourage people to avoid "safe" choices here. If a concert film is less than 50% performances, I would say it qualifies.

Unfortunately, the Academy is a pretty poor gauge in terms of finding good documentaries. Until recently, they had a strange trend of shunning any documentary that had critical and/or financial success. The classic example is Hoop Dreams...this is a film that made several critics top 10 lists but wasn't even nominated.

There are some excellent documentaries on the IMDB list, most of which would qualify for this challenge, and are on DVD.

Also, I think any sort of "Truth Behind the Fiction" documentary such as Voices from the List would count, providing it's long enough.

Last edited by Groucho; 03-29-04 at 11:44 AM.
Old 03-29-04, 11:58 AM
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I don't have any unwatched documentaries in my collection, so I'll have to go to the movies or rent something.

My Architect is the only doc playing here right now. It's about the life and career of Louis Kahn and sounds interesting.

Other docs you might find in theaters right now include Touching the Void and Fog of War. I've seen and enjoyed both of them.
Old 03-29-04, 12:07 PM
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For those in the area, the Chicago International Documentary Festival runs from April 1-11, at various venues.

http://www.chicagodocfestival.org/

And I saw a decent doc "Late Breaking News" last Saturday but I'll play by the rules here.
Old 03-29-04, 02:32 PM
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I own, but haven't yet watched, Koyaanisqatsi and Powisqqatsi. They're non-fiction, but do they count? Koyaanisqatsi is on the imdb documentary list. . .

If not, I'll have to go to Hollywood Video.

Edited spelling of Hopi words.

Last edited by Nick Danger; 03-29-04 at 02:34 PM.
Old 03-29-04, 02:33 PM
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I would consider them documentaries, personally.
Old 03-29-04, 02:35 PM
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Cool.
Old 03-29-04, 03:16 PM
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Gonna take this opportunity to watch Gigantic (A Tale Of Two Johns) . . . of course, that's after I watch Ikiru and Metropolis for the last two weeks worth of "assignments".

Do I lose points for turning them in late?
Old 03-29-04, 03:41 PM
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Well, I just watched "Capturing The Freidmans" about two weeks ago - I highly recommend it, although given the subject matter, it's sometimes hard to watch.
Old 03-29-04, 06:28 PM
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Do "mockumentaries" count? If so, I suggest you guys check out one of Chrisopher Guest's movies if you haven't seen any. Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, A Mighty Wind, and of course This is Spinal Tap (co-written and starring Guest, but directed by Rob Reiner). Hilarious stuff.
Old 03-29-04, 10:23 PM
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As good as those movies are, they aren't really documentaries.
Old 03-30-04, 12:16 AM
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This gives me a good excuse to move National Geographic: Nature's Fury up in my netflix rental queue.
Old 03-30-04, 12:49 AM
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Watched The Big One tonight. Usual Moore stuff, seemed odd though to be interspersed with Moore doing speaking gigs that seemed like Stand-up comedy ala Seinfeld.

Surprised I had not heard of this one before, since I had seen both Roger & Me and Bowling for Columbine.

Definitely worth seeing.
Old 03-30-04, 07:55 AM
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Originally posted by Groucho


1. It should be feature-length, not a short. Like last week, we can consider “feature length” as anything over 60 minutes.

3. Please, no “making of” documentaries or other film-related topics.

so an Imax film (that is usually around 40min) is not considered feature length - I beg to differ.

when you state film-related, this docu can't be related to film history in any sort of way (director bio, genre... etc)?

Last edited by Giles; 03-30-04 at 08:01 AM.
Old 03-30-04, 09:01 AM
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for instance, it can't be "the making of black hawk down 140 min documentary because that is directly related to making the movie. can it be (just an example, i don't know the full name) "the true survivors of pearl harbor" an 80 min doc on the pearl harbor 4 disc set?
Old 03-30-04, 10:44 AM
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Koyanisqatsi was released in 1982 and made the college circuit. I didn't see it, but a friend did. He was (and is) a cameraman for a PBS station and a documentarian. He was good enough to go to the Seoul Olympics for ABC Sports, but didn't want to be the junior camerman and spend two weeks on a mountaintop, shooting the sunrise, for the spacer before the comercials. (It was probably a bad career move.)

He said that it was the best cinematography he'd ever seen. He was sick with envy.

I've been watching for Koyanisqatsi since then, but never had a chance to see it on the big screen.

The movie is startling in its beauty. The images that were mindblowing 20 years ago are now part of the cinemagraphic language, and similar shots are used for insurance advertisments and cop shows. But now that I've seen the originals, nothing can compare. My wife was moved to comment, "It sure is a pretty planet we have." We never felt like that when seeing similar shots on Nova.

The images are the whole of the movie. There are stark landscapes, great masses of people, explosions, and vehicles. The movie is completely open to interpretation, and people can come to opposing conclusions about the its meaning. I don't think the director minds, so long as people are thinking about the questions he raises. For myself, I enjoy the benefits of the technology and cities that were depicted, but feel guilty for strip-mining the planet to recieve those benefits. After all, we watched the movie at home on a DVD player, eating delivered pizza.

Someday, I'm still going to watch this movie on the big screen.
Old 03-30-04, 10:54 AM
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Originally posted by Nick Danger
Koyanisqatsi was released in 1982 and made the college circuit. I didn't see it, but a friend did. He was (and is) a cameraman for a PBS station and a documentarian. He was good enough to go to the Seoul Olympics for ABC Sports, but didn't want to be the junior camerman and spend two weeks on a mountaintop, shooting the sunrise, for the spacer before the comercials. (It was probably a bad career move.)

He said that it was the best cinematography he'd ever seen. He was sick with envy.

I've been watching for Koyanisqatsi since then, but never had a chance to see it on the big screen.

The movie is startling in its beauty. The images that were mindblowing 20 years ago are now part of the cinemagraphic language, and similar shots are used for insurance advertisments and cop shows. But now that I've seen the originals, nothing can compare. My wife was moved to comment, "It sure is a pretty planet we have." We never felt like that when seeing similar shots on Nova.

The images are the whole of the movie. There are stark landscapes, great masses of people, explosions, and vehicles. The movie is completely open to interpretation, and people can come to opposing conclusions about the its meaning. I don't think the director minds, so long as people are thinking about the questions he raises. For myself, I enjoy the benefits of the technology and cities that were depicted, but feel guilty for strip-mining the planet to recieve those benefits. After all, we watched the movie at home on a DVD player, eating delivered pizza.

Someday, I'm still going to watch this movie on the big screen.
also if you liked this film obviousily check out the sequel:
Powaqqatsi, (haven't seen the third of the trilogy: Naqoyqatsi)

and the Imax feature (on DVD) called Chronos, which is less environmentally conscious, but centers around cityscapes, time-lapse cinematography and world locales:



Ron Fricke's other film Baraka is also another film I highly recommend:


Last edited by Giles; 03-30-04 at 10:58 AM.
Old 03-30-04, 10:56 AM
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For people looking for more documentary suggestions, some of my favorite documentaries.

When We Were Kings. The Mohammed Ali / George Foreman fight in Zaire. It was the first time I understood the attraction people had for Ali.
Theramin. The story of the inventor of the first electronic musical instrument, who was kidnapped from Brooklyin on Stalin's orders.
The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl. The life of a woman who went from glamour star, to top director, to Nazi supporter (or not), to shunned woman. She took up scuba diving in her 80s and took amazing underwater photos.
Fast, Cheap and Out of Control. Intelligent robots, naked mole rats, lion-taming, and topiaries.
Hoop Dreams. A moviemaker lives with two families for years as two slum boys are sucked into the world of big-money high school basketball. Ebert's all-time favorite documentary.

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