THE COMMANDANT’S SHADOW – Documentary Review

THE COMMANDANT’S SHADOW – Documentary Review

The Commandant’s Shadow is Daniela Volker’s revelatory Holocaust documentary about life after Auschwitz. More specifically, it focuses on Auschwitz Commandant Hoss’ son and daughter and grandson, delving into how they’ve come to terms with knowing that their beloved forebear mass murdered more humans than any other human in history. Hoss’ wife is also questioned about her husband’s ‘work,’ executing Adolf Hitler’s command for the death camp.

Read More

FOOD INC (2008)- Documentary Review

FOOD INC (2008)- Documentary Review

Food, Inc. is an alarming expose of the way food is produced and distributed in the United States. Interviewing investigators, journalists and farmers, filmmaker Robert Kenner shows how almost everything we eat is produced and distributed by a very few huge multinational corporations, such as Monsanto and Tyson, and that quality of nutrition is secondary […]

Read More

America The Beautiful (2007) – Documentary Review

America The Beautiful (2007) – Documentary  Review

America Is Obsessed With An Unattainable Standard of Beauty America’s obsession with beauty is the subject of filmmaker Darryl Roberts wide-ranging investigative documentary. Using archival footage and interviews with image-makers and beauty battle victims, Roberts reveals how how media, marketers and retailers manipulate women into thinking they must be avid beauty product and service consumers […]

Read More

SMOKE SAUNA SISTERHOOD – Documentary Review

SMOKE SAUNA SISTERHOOD – Documentary Review

Smoke Sauna Sisterhood is an intimate, enlightening feminist documentary from Estonian filmmaker Anna Hints. We are invited to observe a group of women who’ve come together to cleanse their bodies, minds and spirits by celebrating the ritual of a traditional Estonian sauna

Read More

BEYOND UTOPIA – Documentary Review

BEYOND UTOPIA – Documentary Review

Beyond Utopia is Madeleine Gavin’s gripping documentary about North Koreans enduring the dangers of trying to escape their repressive country, risking their lives to reach Thailand, so they can eventually make their way to settlement in South Korea. We often hear reports of abusive and inhumane conditions in North Korea, bur rarely get an inside glimpse like the one provided by this galvanizing documentary. It it is very hard to watch, but it is essential viewing.

Read More

INVISIBLE BEAUTY – Documentary Review

INVISIBLE BEAUTY – Documentary Review

Invisible Beauty is a thoroughly engaging autobiography documentary by and about Bethann Hardison, the Black fashion model, modeling agency owner and activist who challenged racist attitudes and practices in the fashion industry and changed ‘the look’ of runway shows, magazine spreads and other platforms for fashion marketing.

Read More

JOYCE CAROL OATES: A BODY IN SERVICE OF MIND – Documentary Review

JOYCE CAROL OATES:  A BODY IN SERVICE OF MIND – Documentary Review

Filmmaker Stig Bjorkman. a longstanding friend of Joyce Carol Oates. gives us a respectful and intimate documentary that spends its hour and a half on current interviews with Oates, as well as clips from her past interviews with Dick Cavitt and other broadcast presenters and select readings from her writings that are voiced by Laura […]

Read More

BELLA! – Documentary Review

BELLA! – Documentary Review

Bella! And, yes, be sure to include the exclamation point in the film’s title because the subject of Jeff L. Leiberman’s well researched and beautifully crafted documentary deserves emphatic punctuation.  Bella Abzug (1920-1998) was a champion of civil rights for women in every aspect of our lives. She was the feminist activist politician who fought fiercely to enact laws to establish and protect equity in the workplace, in government representation, in family matters — all of the women’s civil rights that we are now at such high risk of losing in our nation’s current regressive climate.

Read More

LAKOTA NATION Vs UNITED STATES – Documentary Review

LAKOTA NATION Vs UNITED STATES – Documentary Review

Lakota Nation Vs. United States is a compelling advocacy documentary that chronicles the United States’ government’s ongoing land grab of Lakota territory in Northeastern Wyoming in violation of the Black Hills Treaty of 1868. At this moment in US history, when the Constitution — our government’s essential treaty with our nation’s citizens — is being challenged and our civil rights are being eroded, Lakota Nation Vs. United States is an effective cry for justice. It is an essential watch.

Read More

GIRL MODEL (2012) – Documentary Review

GIRL MODEL (2012) – Documentary Review

The commonplace perception about modeling is that it is a glamorous career that pays extremely well and offers fabulous opportunities for travel to exotic destinations where you get to hang out with the world’s most beautiful people in the world’s best hotels, dining at the best restaurants and wearing fabulous clothing and accessories. With all that in the offering, the job has allure, to say the least. And, that’s especially true for girls who’ve grown up under difficult circumstances and are looking for a way to work their way towards a better life.

Read More

USERS – Documentary Review

USERS – Documentary Review

Mexican-American filmmaker Natalia Almada’s documentary, Users, is a poetic and profoundly provocative delve into the complex intersection of nature and technology in human civilization, present and future. The film presents itself as 81-minute meditation on the ways in which our increasing dependence on technology will impact our future generations, and those who are being birthed […]

Read More

HITLER’S HOLLYWOOD (2017) – Documentary Retroview

HITLER’S HOLLYWOOD (2017) – Documentary Retroview

Filmmaker Rudiger Suchsland’s Hitler’s Hollywood is a compilation documentary that uses clips from films produced during the Nazi regime to show how the movies were used to indoctrinate the masses and influence their behavior. Subtitled German Cinema in the Age of Propaganda: 1933-45, the film is more analysis than homage, presenting a fascinating profile of […]

Read More

Shakespeare High (2011) – Documentary Retroview

Shakespeare High (2011) – Documentary Retroview

In Southern California, a mixed demographic of high school drama student teams from several schools scattered across the areas diverse neighborhoods, prepare to compete in the Drama Teachers Association of Southern California Shakespeare Festival, held each April. Over the years since its inception, the annual Shakespeare competition has become just as popular as local and national sports events, and members of the participating schools’ drama groups are campus stars.

Read More

Sweetgrass (2010) – Documentary Retroview

Sweetgrass (2010) – Documentary Retroview

Filmmakers Ilisa Barbash and Lucien Castaing-Taylor follow Montana sheep herders as they drive 3,000 sheep through the Beartooth Mountains of Montana during the summer of 2003. This challenging and dangerous journey was the final annual sheep drive along a trail that has been followed since the early 1900s. The documentary is cinema verite in its purest form. There is no use of voice over narration to tell the story, no graphics are used during the film to establish location or explain images. Sweetgrass is an exquisite example of what the directors call ‘visual antropology.’

Read More

STORIES WE TELL (2012) – Documentary Retroview

STORIES WE TELL (2012) – Documentary Retroview

Acclaimed Canadian actress and director Sarah Polley documents her own search to find out the truth about her parentage, trying to track down the truth about whether the man she’s known as dad for her entire life is or is not her biological father.

Read More

Waste Land (2010) – Documentary Review

Waste Land (2010) – Documentary Review

Acclaimed Brooklyn, NY-based artist Vik Muniz returns to his native country of Brazil, where he embarks upon a remarkable creative journey with a group of men and women who toil as catadores (garbage pickers) at Jardim Gramacho, a Rio de Janiero landfill.

Read More

MARWENCOL – Movie Review – 2010

MARWENCOL – Movie Review – 2010

In April 2000, Mark Hogancamp lost his life, and got it back. He was literally beaten to death in a drunken brawl in a Kingston, NY bar. When paramedics resuscitated him, he had no recollection of anything about his identity or personal past.

Gradually, as a form of therapy, he began to construct a model town in his back yard. It was called Marwencol, and it was the replica of an imaginary French community during World War II.

Read More

Desert of Forbidden Art (2011) – Documentary Review

Desert of Forbidden Art (2011) – Documentary Review

In remote Uzbekistan, documentary filmmakers Amanda Pope and Tchavdar Georgiev find an unknown museum in which a single collector, Igor Savitsky, managed to save 44,000 world class art works from sure destruction by the repressive Soviet regime that deemed them anti-Soviet and had banned them.

Read More

ANVIL! THE STORY OF ANVIL (2009) – Documentary Retroview

ANVIL! THE STORY OF ANVIL (2009) – Documentary Retroview

Anvil Still Rocks! UTOPIA is releasing a newly restored version of Anvil! The Story of Anvil, filmmaker Sacha Gervasi’s 2009 documentary. The film is a real heavy metal rush!

Read More

Movie Reviews: THE MARTHA MITCHELL EFFECT and GASLIT

Movie Reviews: THE MARTHA MITCHELL EFFECT and GASLIT

Gaslit and The Martha Mitchell Effect are bound to rekindle the Martha Mitchell controversy, the whistleblower wife of former US Attorney General John Mitchell who was jailed for his role in the Watergate case. Was Martha righteous and genuinely concerned for the wellbeing of nation or did she loudly and disruptively stir things up because she craved public attention?

Read More

For Memorial Day: War is not the Answer

For Memorial Day: War is not the Answer

On Memorial Day, as a way of honoring fallen heros and those who’ve returned hone from war, take time to watch these emotion-filled documentaries — most of them telling the true stories of combat veterans — that remind us that conflict resolution through peaceful negotiation is the better choice.

Read More

L’Amour Fou (2011) – Documentary Retroview

L’Amour Fou (2011) – Documentary Retroview

Yves Saint-Laurent was a talented and troubled man, and nobody knew him better than his longtime business partner and lover, Pierre Berge. Interviewed after Saint-Laurent’s death for L’Amour Fou, Berge tells all — about the brilliant and beloved designer’s reaction to fame and to failure, about his shyness and deep depressions, about his psychotic episodes and seeking seclusion

Read More

FANNY: THE RIGHT TO ROCK – Documentary Review

FANNY: THE RIGHT TO ROCK – Documentary Review

Fanny: The Right to Rock is filmmaker Bobbi Jo Hart’s completely captivating documentary about the first all-girl hard rock band, Fanny, and how this sisterhood of talented and tenacious Filipina women musicians almost became the female equivalent of The Beatles.

Read More

TO WHICH WE BELONG – Documentary Review

TO WHICH WE BELONG – Documentary Review

To Which We Belong is an informative and encouraging advocacy documentary from filmmakers Pamela Tanner Boll and Lindsay Richardson. The subject is climate change, and the fundamental message is that we humans can actually manage the use of our land to protect our planet from its demise and, ultimately, our own. As illustrated in the film, what is most immediately needed is restoration of healthy soil. which is not all that difficult to accomplish.

Read More

MEAT LOAF: IN SEARCH OF PARADISE (2007) – Documentary Retroview

MEAT LOAF: IN SEARCH OF PARADISE (2007) – Documentary Retroview

At age 59, legendary rocker Meat Loaf launched a worldwide tour to promote his new album, Bat Out Of Hell III, with new stagings of some of his most popular songs. This is the first time the iconic star had given a film crew access to his grueling artistic process.

Read More