ReelPolitik

This Thanksgiving, Remember the Native American (Docs)

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • November 27, 2013 1:57 PM
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  • 1 Comment
I am embarrassed to say that before watching "Young Lakota," a new documentary directed by Rose Rosenblatt and Marion Lipschutz (The Education of Shelby Knox), I had yet to see a nonfiction film that focused on Native American life. This was probably a result of my own oversight--Independent Lens has produced plenty of them, see my Docutopia column this week--but I assume it's also due to the general lack of media attention given to America's indigenous populations. As we visit with friends and family this week to celebrate our colonialist holiday, it seems like an opportune time to highlight the struggles of Native American people--and the documentaries that chronicle them.

When do docs need to provide political/social context?

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • November 21, 2013 11:34 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Over the last couple weeks, I've been thinking a lot about the ways in which documentaries provide social/political context or choose not to? Last week, I pointed out the potential problems that Jason Osder's "Let the Fire Burn" faces because of the way it eschews context, and this week, I found myself doing the same with respect to Shaul Schwarz’s "Narco Cultura" in my Docutopia column at SundanceNow.

Defending "Let the Fire Burn," Or How Not to Discuss a Controversial Doc

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • November 18, 2013 5:03 PM
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  • 3 Comments
"Let the Fire Burn," Jason Osder's found-footage doc about a violent standoff between Philadelphia police and a black activist group called MOVE in the 1980s, has emerged as one of the year's best documentaries. Nominated for two Cinema Eye Honors (for best editing and best debut) and the Gotham Award for best documentary, the film is a thrilling and disturbing historical document of racism, police brutality, and the catastrophic failure of local government. It's also arguably "complex"--a word, which I discovered recently at a heated Q&A for the film in which I moderated--can be drastically misunderstood.

Can the Documentary "Patrolman P" Free an Innocent Man?

  • By Anthony Kaufman
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  • November 14, 2013 9:57 AM
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  • 0 Comments
One of the great claims to fame of Errol Morrris's landmark documentary "The Thin Blue Line"--aside from its formalistic daring--is that it helped free an innocent man. I don't know the legal logistics it would take to reopen a more than 40-year-old double murder conviction, but Ido Mizrahy's new documentary "Patrolman P"--premiering at DOC NYC this Saturday--may have the potential to do just that.

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