- Doc Soup: Restrepo
Should one buy popcorn before watching a documentary about the cruel (albeit, sometimes thrilling) realities of war? That’s one of the confounding contradictions posed by a theatrically-released war documentary such as Restrepo, the Sundance documentary that was directed by Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington. Are we supposed to enjoy watching documentaries, like any other good […]
- Doc Soup: Life in a Day
I tend to be optimistic. When I hear about an exciting new documentary in the works, I immediately think of the best of possibilities. And, not too surprisingly, perhaps, the higher my expectations, the more I am disappointed. That’s what came to mind when I heard about a cool (careful, Soup Man) documentary project announced […]
- Doc Soup: All Eyes on Africa
World Cup 2010, South Africa. Photo by Marcello Casal Jr//ABr The World Cup has been grabbing vast swaths of attention for the game of soccer, and providing a raison d’être for some serious-minded programming focusing on the host country, South Africa, as well as the larger host continent. I’ve managed to catch some thin, yet […]
- Doc Soup: The Films of Agnès Varda
It’s no wonder that 82-year-old Agnès Varda calls her deeply personal film about her life and her movies, The Beaches of Agnès. The French New Wave, of which she was a pioneering member, liked to place their characters on a beach, where the enormity of existence and the profundity of life could be adequately pondered. […]
- Doc Soup: All in the Family
This week, POV’s 2010 season kicks off with the great documentary William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe (Check local listings). I think it’s just perfect that the season begins with a grainy home video of two young girls, Kunstler’s daughters Emily and Sarah, who are also the directors of the film, as they interview their famous […]
- Doc Soup: Whatever Happened to… Philippe Petit from 'Man on Wire'?
The 2008 film Man on Wire helped canonize performance artist Philippe Petit‘s marvelous feat of walking on a wire between the World Trade Center towers in 1974. Petit’s act had become a cherished yet distant memory for many New Yorkers, but the film, which went on to win the Oscar, really placed Petit’s daring walk […]
- Doc Soup: The Top 10 Most Powerful People in the Documentary World
Ah, the irony of creating a power list for people in an industry where everyone feels so powerless. And yet, however small the spoils and anemic the troops, there’s no denying that within the doc kingdom, there is a hierarchy of power. My previous two posts have led up to this, a ranking of the […]
- Doc Soup: The Documentary 'Power' List: Part I
As promised, I’m delivering my list of the most powerful people in documentaries. I have come up with 50, but this week I’m going to build some dramatic tension by presenting 40 out of the 50, leaving the top 10 to come next week. Is this a definitive list? No. It’s more of an impression. […]
- Doc Soup: What's 'Power' in the Doc World, and Who's Got it?
Power. It’s an elusive term. There is real power — the power to control the world around you, to do what you want, and then there are the different ways that we perceive power &mdash as in wealth, fame or influence. Is there such a thing as power in the documentary film industry? In this […]
- Doc Soup: Reviewing Docs from the Past: 'Wild Parrots' – For the Birds
So many docs, so little time. As a service to you, dear reader, I’ve been wanting to occasionally review classic or otherwise notable documentaries for some time now. I’m going to look back at these films with the hope that I can help guide you to select well-known documentaries that are worth seeing, long after […]
- Doc Soup: Whatever Happened to… the Subjects of 'Paradise Lost'?
Damien Echols‘ eyesight is becoming increasingly dim. He is experiencing a lot of pain, especially in his teeth, because living on concrete without sunlight or adequate nutrition can ravage a body over the course of 15 years. How’s that for an update? Of all the documentaries I’ve come to love, Paradise Lost: The Child Murders […]
- Doc Soup: The Tribeca Institute: More Than Just a Film Festival
As the curtain closes on another hectic festival — the Tribeca Film Festival — it’s worth taking a peek at some of the work that continues to go on after the red carpets get rolled up and put away. Ryan Harrington, who works with the Tribeca Film Institute’s Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund and I spoke […]
- Doc Soup: Considering Joan Rivers
“Genius.” “Brilliant.” Those were words used to describe Joan Rivers Monday night at the Tribeca Film Festival premiere of Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, the story of the comedienne-entertainer. I was interested in seeing the film largely because I was curious about how two serious doc directors I respect, Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg […]
- Doc Soup: When the Unexpected Happens on Film: 'The Business of Being Born'
I know. You’d think I’d post something about the major doc happenings this week: POV airing Food, Inc. (Wednesday, April 21 at 9:00 pm – check local listings) and the kick-off of the Tribeca Film Fest. I might get to those later, but for now I can’t help it — I’ve got an itch and […]
- Doc Soup: Hipsters With Heart
They might not make a lot of money. They may not always feed the ego. But documentaries are hip. It’s worth noting in these times (I’ll get to that later) that there are a couple of super cool docs directed by uber-hipster directors that have recently hit theaters. First, there is The Thorn in the […]
- Doc Soup: The Babies Are Coming!
The babies are coming! The babies are coming! In a stroke of French-inspired genius, there’s a new documentary coming to our shores May 7 (over Mother’s Day weekend ): it’s called Babies. If distributor Focus Features is lucky, the film will captivate audiences the same way March of the Penguins (also originally from France), Winged […]
- Doc Soup: What Happened to… Avijit from “Born into Brothels”
Avijit Halder at 11 years old. Photo from Kids with Cameras. It makes sense to me to start off the “What Happened to the Subject?” series with a child who starred in a documentary, because it seems to me that we can see greater changes than with an adult subject. And, boy, has Avijit Halder, […]
- Doc Soup: Announcing a New Series: What Ever Happened to… ?
What ever happened to the boys — now, men — from Hoop Dreams? Where did Little Edie, now deceased, end up after Grey Gardens? Are any of those old guys from Brother’s Keeper still kicking? If you have ever found yourself asking any of these, or similar, questions, then I’m here to help. I want […]