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Thompson on Hollywood

Now and Then: What Can We Demand of the Documentary--Subjects, Aesthetics, Goals and Business Models?

This year, if you held your ear to the Oscar keyhole and listened hard enough, you might have discerned a slight disquiet. "Very strong category," people were saying about the nominees for Best Documentary Feature. "I loved all of them," they usually added. "But..." The "but" concerned the eventual winner, director Malik Bendjelloul's "Searching for Sugar Man." A soulful mystery about the American musician Rodriguez, who rose to prominence in South Africa and Australia a generation ago before being relegated to obscurity, "Sugar Man" was never discussed as anything less than deserving. In certain quarters, though, "Sugar Man" could be seen as insubstantial when placed against the other nominees, all weighing heavy political subjects: the Israeli/Palestinian conflict ("The Gatekeepers," "5 Broken Cameras"), military sexual assault ("The Invisible War"), and the AIDS crisis ("How to Survive a Plague").
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • March 12, 2013 3:22 PM
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  • 3 Comments

Military Rape Doc 'Invisible War' Continues to Push Change on Capitol Hill

While fictional Oscar nominee "Zero Dark Thirty" has challenged Washington politicians to respond to its hybrid journalism, Kirby Dick's searing Oscar-nominated documentary "The Invisible War" has exposed the scope of a military crisis that Capitol Hill didn't realize was happening. In a way, seeing the film has given the DC establishment permission to respond to something that had been heretofore hidden and taboo. That's because the film puts a face on a group of well-trained, idealistic young women who sought to serve their country and were rewarded with rape, mental and physical stress, injury and trauma, and an insensitive military bureaucracy that looked the other way when they sought redress.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 14, 2013 4:24 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Directors Guild Nominates Documentaries

True to tradition, the Directors Guild documentary nominees do not match up completely with the Oscar documentary nominations. All five are first-time DGA nominees.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 14, 2013 2:01 PM
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  • 1 Comment

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