Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Proud to Be British (1973)

Nick Broomfield

Racist, patriotic, and imperialistic, the subjects of Broomfield’s second film - in which citizens from across the class spectrum are asked for their views about being British and Britain in general - manage to hang themselves, without the need of any commentary, with their own arrogant, complacent views.  Gathering numerous face-to-face interviews with residents of the conservative stronghold of Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, Broomfield paints an ironic portrait of racist parochial views. Spread throughout the community, from the working class patriot Mr Feltham, to the local MP Ronald Bell and even the vicar, we see a cast of regressive, hypocritical creatures.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Human Behavior Experiments (2006)

Alex Gibney

This movie is not a gem of documentary films, it's not fancy, pretty or spectacular, but the information contained in it is extremely well structured and very important. Only 40 minutes long, the documentary focuses on the experiments undertaken by Milgran, Darley and Zimbardo, but also presents real cases that validate those experiments, including Abu Ghraib, the Kitty Genovese story and others. I highly recommend searching on Wikipedia about these experiments after you see the movie, as they were a lot more detailed and some had many variations. Bottom line: It says the things that you don't want to believe are true, but they are, and that no one is willing to teach you, because they go against the ideas of blind obedience, peer pressure, etc.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child (2010)

Tamra Davis

Centered on a rare interview that director and friend Tamra Davis shot with Basquiat over twenty years ago, this definitive documentary chronicles the meteoric rise and fall of the young artist. In the crime-ridden NYC of the 1970s, he covers the city with the graffiti tag SAMO. In 1981 he puts paint on canvas for the first time, and by 1983 he is an artist with “rock star status.” He achieves critical and commercial success, though he is constantly confronted by racism from his peers. In 1985 he and Andy Warhol become close friends and painting collaborators, but they part ways and Warhol dies suddenly in 1987. Basquiat’s heroin addiction worsens, and he dies of an overdose in 1988 at the age of 27. The artist was 25 years old at the height of his career, and today his canvases sell for more than a million dollars. With compassion and psychological insight, Tamra Davis details the mysteries that surround this charismatic young man, an artist of enormous talent whose fortunes mirrored the rollercoaster quality of the downtown scene he seemed to embody.

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