The rules were: one day, one wheel, one shot (no editing). Valérie Massadian’s (Nana) hypnotic short was made for Seattle’s Northwest Film Forum.
Bill Callahan (aka Smog), a truly great artist likened to Scott Walker playing with Calexico, took his latest album Apocalypse on the road, with director Hanly Banks in tow. Her impressionistic film will bring a huge smile to the face of anyone who appreciates superb music and sound. "A clutch of terrific performances captured by a rapt but also visually skilled fan.”—MusicFilmWeb
Twenty retirees from Marseille, aged 60 to 87 and without any dance experience, spent seven years working with choreographer Thierry Thieû Niang on a performance of Stravisnky’s The Rite of Spring. It became a hit throughout France and Denis Sneguirev and Philippe Chevallier’s delightful film shows the culmination of this extraordinary journey.
Artist and architect Susumu Shingu has had a lifelong “dialogue with the wind and with water.” Now he wants to create wind-powered communities. Thomas Riedelsheimer (Rivers and Tides) documents this combination of passionate environmental story and moving exploration of creativity with characteristic eloquence and lustrous imagery.
In the 60s and 70s, Bahman Mohassess was a famous artist in Tehran. In 2006, he destroyed his work and disappeared. Mitra Farahani tracked him to a hotel room in Rome and the result is this fascinating, moving and ribald portrait. "Evidence of what Iran has lost by silencing or scattering the voices of its culture."—Screen
The incredible artistry of New York nanny and closet street photographer Vivian Maier came to light and went viral in 2007 when John Maloof discovered 100,000 of her negatives in Chicago. Now Maloof and Charlie Siskel bring this formerly unknown artist’s gorgeous black-and-white photos and remarkable life story to the big screen. A treat.
Director Toa Fraser’s cinematic interpretation of the New Zealand Royal Ballet’s superb, universally lauded production of the great romantic ballet Giselle stars the American Ballet Theater’s Gillian Murphy as the peasant girl with a passion for dance who discovers that the man she loves—played by acclaimed Chinese/New Zealand dancer Qi Huan—is engaged to another…
Eternally opinionated, brilliantly funny and terminally political, Gore Vidal—novelist, essayist, polemicist, politician, pundit, screenwriter—was the true protean man. Using fascinating and apt recent and legendary archival footage, and interviews—including an exclusive with a fierce and fearless Vidal as he neared the end of his life—Nicholas Wrathall gives the man his due.
As polyphonic as a great orchestra at its peak, Angelo Bozzolini’s behind-the-scenes chronicle of Rome’s famous Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia is a stirring, fascinating and insightful portrait. Enhanced by archival material of famous conductors and soloists who’ve played with the orchestra, it is a grand trip, indeed.
One of the great cinematic pairings—Bergman and Ullman—comes vividly to life in Dheeraj Akolkar’s vibrant documentary, aided immeasurably by the radiant Liv Ullmann’s on-screen narration. Beautifully rendered excerpts from their films and candid reminiscences complete a lovely picture.
"To create is to be saved," claimed German painter Max Beckmann, heralded alongside Picasso and Braque as a seminal modernist master. Michael Trabitzsch’s fascinating look at Beckmann’s persecuted and peripatetic existence uses examples of his work, interviews, re-enactments, photos and archival footage to illuminate a singular life.
Spanning the totality of Michael Haneke’s career and featuring interviews with him, as well as footage of Haneke working on the films Amour (Oscar winner for best foreign language film), Code Unknown and The White Ribbon, Yves Montmayeur’s documentary portrait is "a must-see for anyone who admires this director."—Guardian
Gliding with the grace of a boomerang, Juan Carlos Martín’s documentary circles back through artist Gabriel Orozco’s career, tracing how the Mexican modernist’s drawings, photographs and sculptures became so influential. And every time the camera returns to Orozco, we see an artist wrestling with precisely what a career retrospective signifies.
Refused airplay, the nevertheless very popular Cuban protest rappers Los Aldeanos soldier on, playing secret shows island wide. Jesse Acevedo’s vital documentary offers incredible insight into Cuba now and is a testament to the power of both guerrilla filmmaking and underground music. Winner, Audience Award, Miami 2013.
When Sol LeWitt died in 2007, The New York Times called him the "master of conceptualism… whose deceptively simple geometric sculptures and drawings, and ecstatically colored jazzy wall paintings established him as a lodestar of modern American art." Chris Teerink’s excellent appreciation visits NY, Holland and Italy, providing a compelling demonstration of the rewards of economy and clarity.
Art-house titans (and mutual admirers) Ben Rivers and Ben Russell conspire on this uncompromising, three-part sensory experience that commences in a bucolic Estonian commune and culminates with a black metal concert. "[A] tapestry of beautifully rendered concepts [that’s] impressively committed to its poetic design… Rivers and Russell have certainly cast a spell that sticks."—Indiewire
Mark Cousins (A Story of Film) continues his fascinating and highly entertaining personal exploration of cinema history with this delightful look at the onscreen representation of kids from the silent era through today. "A nimble and distinctive cine-essay featuring a mosaic of clips… One of the most beguiling events at Cannes…"—Guardian
On a barnstorming tour of the former Yugoslavia, graphic novelists Max Andersson (who directs, with Helena Ahonen) and Lars Sjunneson bring a macabre "mummy" of Marshal Tito along for the ride. Astonishing stop-motion animation sequences render their journey all the more surreal while a Balkan new wave soundtrack affirms this doc’s punk rock spirit.
Campanology and campanologists are the focus of Fabio Gregorio and Luigi Manzi’s fascinating look at bell-ringers, bells and the northern Italian foundries that cast them.