The Playlist

ND/NF '12 Review: Mads Brugger Cheats Death In Provocative Doc 'The Ambassador'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • April 2, 2012 12:05 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Mads Brugger is a man with a death wish. The Danish journalist turned filmmaker will turn a lot of heads with “The Ambassador,” which recently debuted at the New Directors/New Films program in New York City. The film is ostensibly a documentary about the corruption between Central African despots and the foreign consulates that humor them, through the exchange of money, goods, and most importantly, conflict diamonds. Given such a volatile subject, Brugger could have kept his distance, investigating from afar, but he knew that wouldn’t get him the answers he craved. And so he put on an ice cream suit, picked up smoking, and became the mysterious Mister Cortzen.

Review: 'Scenes Of A Crime' Is A Riveting True-Crime Documentary Worthy Of Errol Morris

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • March 31, 2012 6:16 PM
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  • 1 Comment
We often forget that film can help elicit change -- maybe it's our general apathy or maybe we've been conditioned to turn away at whatever new "issues" doc is at our door, that often speak directly to the choir. But let's not forget "Super Size Me" helped kick the fast food chain's extra large size to the curb, "Bowling For Columbine" got KMart to stop selling bullets, and most unforgettably, master filmmaker Errol Morris' "The Thin Blue Line" set a wrongly convicted man free. Grover Babcock and Blue Hadaegh's "Scenes Of A Crime" shares much of the latter film's DNA, focusing on a questionable murder confession by an unemployed upstate New Yorker.

Review: 'Splinters' Is A Compelling Surfing Doc With More On Its Mind Than Just Hanging Ten

  • By Ryan Sartor
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  • February 3, 2012 7:22 AM
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  • 4 Comments
By focusing on cultural barriers rather than killer waves, director Adam Pesce has created a compelling surfing documentary in “Splinters.” The film explores life in the remote Papua New Guinea island of Vanimo, where surfing is considered not just the most important of sports, but the only real means by which young men and women can get off the island and see the world. The film climaxes in Papua New Guinea’s first national surfing competition, the winner of which will get to compete against world-renowned surfers in Australia.

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