Not just a celebration of the New York Review of Books (though it is certainly that), Martin Scorsese and David Tedescho’s documentary chronicles many of the historical, political and cultural landmarks of the past half century, through the prism of that august publication’s intellectual insight and rigour. Along the way, they interview (or unearth archival footage of) some of the finest minds of the period, including Joan Didion, Gore Vidal, Susan Sontag, Norman Mailer, Noam Chomsky, Stephen Jay Gould, Andrei Sakharov, Vaclev Havel, Oliver Sacks and James Baldwin. As you might expect, the film sparkles with wit and wisdom, erudition and elucidation.
"A bracing film about the value of radical ideas and the importance of being courageous enough to consider them." — Norman Wilner, Now
Yogananda was the Hindu Swami who brought yoga and meditation to the West in the 1920s. Paramahansa Yogananda authored the spiritual classic Autobiography of a Yogi, which has sold millions of copies worldwide and is a go-to book for seekers, philosophers and yoga enthusiasts today. This unconventional documentary has won critical plaudits everywhere it has screened.
"Fittingly enlightening, Awake: The Life of Yogananda is a vivid, elegantly assembled portrait of the savvy guru with the cherubic face and penetrating gaze who brought meditation to the West." — Michael Rechtschaffen, LA Times
"Gentle sitar music, languorous camerawork and soothing narration ... This could be a good movie to do yoga by." — The New York Times
Something wicket this way comes… In this terrifying cult movie in the making, a teenager is stalked by a shape-shifting nemesis, and the only escape is to pass this walking vendetta onto somebody else - through sexual congress.
"The most exciting film in Cannes ... Tender, remarkably ingenious and scalp-pricklingly scary.” — Tim Robey, Daily Telegraph
Inspired by the true story of a Japanese office worker who travelled from Tokyo to wintery North Dakota to dig up the loot buried by Steve Buscemi at the end of Fargo, this piquant gem is a funny but poignant portrait of madness and obsession. It also opens up an intriguing dialogue between the Zellner Brothers’ brand of humane comedy and the Coens’ quirky original.
"Inspirational and devastating." — Eric Kohn, Indiewire
Wrenched reveals how author Edward Abbey’s anarchistic spirit and riotous novels influenced the nascent environmental movement of the 1970s and ‘80s. Through interviews, archival footage and re-enactments, director ML Lincoln captures the outrage of Abbey’s friends who were the original eco-warriors. With tree-spiking, forest occupation and high-profile publicity stunts such as the cracking at Glen Canyon Dam, this group became the eventual target of FBI infiltrators, leading to the arrest of various members.
In January 2013, filmmaker Laura Poitras was in the process of constructing a film about abuses of national security in post-9/11 America when she started receiving encrypted e-mails from someone identifying himself as “citizen four,” who was ready to blow the whistle on the massive covert surveillance programs run by the NSA and other intelligence agencies. In June 2013, she and reporter Glenn Greenwald flew to Hong Kong for the first of many meetings with the man who turned out to be Edward Snowden. She brought her camera with her.
"The documentary of the year may also be its most hair-raising thriller." — Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail
"This patient, beautiful, painful, engrossing film pits husband and wife against each other and their world in a series of extended conversations/confrontations." — Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice
"Tense and frightening ... a primal political fable for the digital age." — New York Times
Like 50 Feet From Stardom this is the story of unsung heroes, the session musicians who made the 60s swing. Guaranteed, you will never hear pop from that era the same way again. Touching on everyone from the Beach Boys to Elvis, Sinatra to Sonny & Cher, this is an astonishing glimpse behind the scenes at the hey day of American pop. "Wonderful, touching and hilarious." Elvis Costello
"A treasure trove of witness-at-creation anecdotes and enduringly potent ’60s pop classics, The Wrecking Crew is a well-nigh irresistible treat for aficionados of music from the era when acts like the Beach Boys, the Association and the Monkees were topping the charts. Pic celebrates a loose-knit group of largely unknown (except by industry insiders) session musicians, many of whom supplied the defining licks and backbeats — and in some cases, actually played instruments for band members — on legendary recordings." Joe Leydon, Variety
In your lifetime, the history of photography has seen a seismic shift, the dramatic change from film to digital. Harvey Wang was mid-career when the tools of his craft were made nearly obsolete. He interviewed more than 20 photographers and prominent figures in the field, including Jerome Liebling, George Tice, David Goldblatt, Sally Mann, Eugene Richards, Ruud van Empel, John Cohen and Jeff Jacobson, as well as Steven Sasson, co-inventor of the digital camera, and Thomas Knoll, co-creator of Photoshop.
Through majestic cinematography, DamNation explores the history and controversy surrounding dam removal projects. Where obsolete dams come down, rivers bound back to life, giving salmon and other wild fish the right of return to primeval spawning grounds, after decades without access.
"Directors Ben Knight and Travis Rummel have made a fleet movie with a convincing argument for systemic dam removal (some of which is caught thrillingly on film) and arresting nature-drenched cinematography." — Robert Abele, LA Times
Considered as one of the greatest American films, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest swept the top five major Academy Awards of its year. Based on the 1962 novel of the same name by Ken Kesey and set in a mental institution, it deals with a very 1970s issue: the struggle of the individual against the establishment. In two towering performances the battle of the wills is fought by minor criminal Murphy (Jack Nicholson) and domineering Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher), the cold and efficient matron of McMurphy’s ward. Introduced by actress and singer Colleen Rennison.
Return of the River vividly portrays the epic story of the freeing of Olympic National Park’s mighty Elwha River from two salmon-blocking dams. It is a story of hope and possibility amid grim environmental news. It is a film for our time: an invitation to consider crazy ideas that could transform the world for the better.
The Elwha Klallam people, scientists, fishermen, politicians, enviros, and townsfolk all add their voices to a film that is visually dazzling, lyrically evocative, and fluid as mountain snowmelt.”
— Tim McNulty, poet, essayist, nature writer
“There’s no way to escape the image on the screen, nor deny its truth. We blew it at Altamont; Gimme Shelter lets us watch ourselves blowing it, and makes us understand how and why. It’s a lot harder than it looks to make a film as good as this one.” — Rolling Stone, 1970
One of the strangest and most twisted films of the silent era. Cheated and cuckolded, a brilliant scientist (played by Lon Chaney, "the man of a thousand faces") takes refuge behind the make up of a circus clown, where his shame can at least inspire laughter in others. He becomes famous, but his hapless love for a bareback rider sends the movie spinning towards revenge tragedy. This first feature produced by the famous studio MGM, He Who Gets Slapped blends naturalism and expressionism with high melodrama - all accentuated in the Alloy Orchestra’s extraordinary live score.
“A picture which defies one to write about it without indulging in superlatives … so beautifully told, so flawlessly directed that we imagine it will be held up as a model by all producers.” NY Times, 1924
Simpsons scribe Rob Cohen distills the essence of Canada like sap from a maple in this lighthearted odyssey across our great nation. He gets a little help from the likes of Seth Rogen, Mike Myers, Catherine O’Hara, Rush, Michael J Fox, Cobie Smulders and William Shatner (to name just a few).