I've watched a lot of documentaries that deal with subjects I have far more personal interest in, but few have moved me like this. There's an undeniable power to fascinate going on here that I'm not sure how to describe, but if you watch this film you'll know just what I mean.
Not really a documentary at all, but much of it kinda, sorta has the feel of one, so it sometimes gets labeled as such. I'm including it here because more people ought to have their attention guided to this remarkable film.
The first thing you need to know is that this is spectacular documentary film-making. A close second in terms of knowledge you may want to bring with you is just how dark and unsettling the material is here.
Capturing the Friedmans gives us an intensely personal and thorough look at the workings of an upper-middle class family from a respected Long Island, New York neighborhood. Here we meet an accomplished and well thought of teacher named Aurthur, his wife, and their three sons. What fist appears as a perfectly normal, nearly idyllic family is soon revealed to be the setting of a communal nightmare, complete with child-pornography and multiple sexual abuse and sodomy charges. The who's and why's and how's I'll leave to the film to explore.
But what sets this film apart from other depressing, "the world is a fucked up place" documentaries is the questions and ambiguity raised about not only what actually happened within the walls of this Long Island home, but also about the nature of common legal proceedings, interrogation practices, mass hysteria, and media-frenzy.
And if all this wasn't enough, the film's strength is even further aided by remarkably candid interviews and unbelievable amounts of original home-recorded footage between the family members as they document various conversations and arguments that took place once the charges were made. The director maintains an objective and even ambiguous attitude about his subjects and instead wisely allows the psychologies and natures of each and every family member to reveal itself on their own.
Again, this is tough material here, and it is guaranteed to evoke strong reactions. But if you're up for a depressing, unsettling, and often infuriating piece of film, I think most anyone will find that the worth and achievements of this documentary are astounding.
This entire on-going series has been fascinating, though I still have a few more installments to watch. Remarkable in scope and ambition, and a feast for anyone interested in psychology, sociology, or examination of the self, the life one has lead, and the various forces influencing its path.
Through the first 15 minutes or so I didn't much like this. "Great", I thought. "Here's another uncreative approach at trying to capture the essence of a dick-headish, albeit great, writer." Luckily, the film began to expose its soul and at the same time shed some revealing light on the wounded, but relentless soul of it's subject. By the end I was struck by the unadorned, yet extremely thorough scope of this documentary and the surprising intimacy it achieved.
What is it about?
The Parking Lot Movie is a documentary about a singular parking lot in Charlottesville, Virginia. The film follows a select group of parking lot attendants and their strange rite of passage. The eccentric brotherhood of attendants consist of grad students, overeducated philosophers, surly artists, middle-age slackers and more.
A surprisingly fascinating and highly entertaining look at the story and major-players behind the controversy over the ownership of home-run ball #73. Fans of baseball will want to see this, but more importantly anyone who appreciates cautionary tales about human-nature or the devolution of social values may want to give this a look!
Documentary about rock pioneer Roky Erickson, detailing his rise as a psychedelic hero, his lengthy institutionalization, his descent into poverty and filth, and his brother's struggle with their religious mother to improve Roky's care.
A surprisingly engaging documentary about the rise, fall, and tentative re-emergence of the Professional Bowlers Association. This movie interestingly catalogs the once great, but lately negligible presence of bowling in American culture and television rooms.