SHADOW OF AFGHANISTAN (2006, 2012) – Retroview by Jennifer Merin

Shadow of Afghanistan is a primer about the history of Afghanistan. Providing extensive coverage and analysis of developments in the nation from 1959 to 2012, the documentary is a comprehensive overview of incidents and events that are extraordinarily entangled and complex. It’s a heartbreaking look at a devastated nation. There seems to be no end to the strife and anguish experienced by the people of Afghanistan during recent history.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK August 6, 2021: BRING YOUR OWN BRIGADE

Wildfires aren’t a new phenomenon in California, but it’s only in the last few years that the idea of “fire season” has become an inescapable fact of life. Lucy Walker’s viscerally powerful documentary Bring Your Own Brigade expertly explores the complex factors that have led to that devastating reality (hint: It’s more than climate change), not just in the Golden State but around the world, and offers the hopeful possibility that it’s not too late to turn things around.

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BRING YOUR OWN BRIGADE – Review by Jennifer Merin

Bring Your Own Brigade is filmmaker Lucy Walker’s courageous and compelling documentary about an extremely hot topic: the ongoing inferno of wildfires in Southern California and elsewhere on the West Coast and, by extension, across the nation. Walker’s eye witness camera captures close up images of the uncontrolled fires cutting through affluent communities in wide paths of devastating destruction. She follows local residents who are fleeing their homes on car-congested bands of blacktop cutting through raging flames and she records up close and personal accounts of survivors whose property was miraculously spared and others who lost all of their worldly goods to the to the rampaging blaze.

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TIM’S VERMEER (2013) – Retroview by Jennifer Merin

In this fascinating documentary, inventor Tim Jenison sets out to prove that the 17th century Dutch Master, deemed the greatest realist painter of all time, was secretly using an optical instrument to capture his photo-like images. It provides a uniquely original view of timeless masterpieces.

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CODED BIAS – Review by Jennifer Merin

We might all be in need of and very keen on watching escapist comedies during the ongoing pandemic social restrictions, but this compelling documentary is an important and timely film. Knowledge is power, and Coded Bias delivers knowledge that can help us to resist/reverse the further deterioration of democracy and of human civilization as we know it.

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THE GRIZZLIES – Review by Jennifer Merin

Canadian filmmaker Miranda de Pencier’s The Grizzlies, a truth-based sports narrative set in the Canadian arctic, is a story centered around the experiences of a recently graduated White teacher, Russ, working his first job as a high school history teacher in the isolated Inuit town of Kuluktuk, where the hardships of life far exceed its joys.

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Noah Baumbach on MARRIAGE STORY, Perspectives and Writing Women – Jennifer Merin interviews

Noah Baumbach’s films are all about the tangles and untangling of relationships and, while they aren’t written entirely from a female perspective, they always present complex and compelling female characters with strong and well-defined objectives. From his own male perspective, Baumbach writes female characters with convincing authenticity.

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LOUISIANA FILM PRIZE: 20 Shorts Compete for $50,000 – Jennifer Merin reports

Now readying for its ninth edition, the Louisiana Film Prize is calling for submissions for its 2020 competition. The Unique among 8,500 film festivals staged annually across North America, the LFP is a year-long process involving filmmakers in production of a short film to be entered into competition for a $50,000 cash award, the world’s largest short film award, and the only one requiring a film produced specifically for the competition.

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GIULIANI TIME – Retroview by Jennifer Merin

Actually, unless your head has been buried in sand for the past decades, you probably won’t find the information revealed in Kevin Keating’s 2005 documentary particularly surprising, but the film certainly provides a credible summation of news reports and pointed analysis of the legacy of New York City’s former mayor. And, it is particularly relevant at this moment in our American history.

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