Art of Documentary

Art of Documentary

Emphasizing artistry and formal innovation, these documentary filmmakers employ a uniquely cinematic approach in exploring their subject matter.
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THE HOTTEST AUGUST
THE HOTTEST AUGUST
What does the future look like from where we are standing? The focus of this extraordinary documentary – filmmaker Brett Story’s follow-up to her critically-acclaimed The Prison in Twelve Landscapes – is one city over one month (New York during August 2017), a month heavy with the tension of a new President, growing anxiety over rising rents, marching white nationalists, and unrelenting news of wildfires and hurricanes. Empathetic and incisive, The Hottest August offers a kaleidoscopic portrait of a nation at a unique moment in time.
SEGUNDA VEZ
SEGUNDA VEZ
This vital, revolutionary documentary isn't merely a biopic of Oscar Masotta - a pivotal theorist in the Argentinian avant-garde from the 1950s to 1970s - but a treatise on the artistic and political climate of the nation preceding the Dirty War, eerily mirroring the world today. The title, Segunda Vez, originates from a homonymous story written by a contemporary of Masotta’s, Julio Cortázar.
SWARM SEASON
SWARM SEASON
The extinction of honey bees on a remote volcanic island of Hawaii, indigenous cosmology, and a secret NASA project intersect in this gorgeous, thought-provoking documentary. With an artist's eye for details and plenty of time for amazement, Swarm Season draws fascinating parallels between the micro- and macrocosm, and challenges our understanding of nature, the world and ourselves.
METEORS
METEORS
One night, meteors start to fall in a Kurdish village on Turkey’s southern border with Syria. Earlier that year, the villagers endured a sustained and brutal assault by Turkish military forces. Neither the incident nor the fatalities were ever covered by local media. Incorporating internet uploads, foreign news reports and intimate interviews, this poetic documentary attempts to correct the historical record during one night when the sky is lit up with meteors.
EVERY PULSE OF THE HEART IS WORK
EVERY PULSE OF THE HEART IS WORK
Filmed across India, the central theme of Paweł Wojtasik’s (End of Life) stunning new documentary is work. With a patient, unobtrusive approach, it consists of transcendent portraits of a broad spectrum of laborers, from a surgeon to a priest to a masseur, forming a composite vision of society, where each has a place in the tangled web of human endeavor.
GULYABANI
GULYABANI
Against the backdrop of the most violent period of post-Republic Turkey, Gulyabani relates a harrowing tale of survival, the story of a well-known clairvoyant who escaped abuse, kidnapping and violence; told using diary entries, letters to her estranged son, striking desaturated images of the Turkish landscape and reenactments of her childhood memories as well as excerpts from writings by Terry Eagleton (Literary Theory) and W.G. Sebald (The Emigrants).
BISBEE '17
BISBEE '17
Named the best film of the year by The New York Times, Robert Greene’s extraordinary Bisbee ‘17 radically combines collaborative documentary, western, and musical elements to recreate a mass deportation of striking miners (mostly Mexican and Eastern European immigrants) that occurred in 1917. Greene confronts issues of immigration, unionization and environmental damage while linking a tragic moment in American history to our own turbulent times.
BLACK MOTHER
BLACK MOTHER
A visionary filmmaker and photographer, Khalik Allah exploded onto the scene with Field Niggas (2015), a grassroots production which went from a YouTube upload to a sensation on the festival circuit. In his celebrated follow-up, Black Mother, Allah brings us on a spiritual journey through Jamaica, the land of his mother's birth, informed by the island's turbulent history yet existing in the urgent present.
A LAND FOR WAR
A LAND FOR WAR
In 2009, artist Enid Baxter Ryce discoved hundreds of wall paintings that were drawn by soldiers who'd been stationed at the abandoned Fort Ord military base. Her documentary presents and discusses these remarkable, long-hidden murals, offering unique insight into the soldiers' lives, alongside archival training footage from the Vietnam era (when Fort Ord was active) and portraits of the homeless veterans occupying the land today.
DISTANT CONSTELLATION
DISTANT CONSTELLATION
A beautifully composed and magical documentary, Distant Constellation introduces us to the colorful residents of a Turkish retirement home, a community made up of pranksters, historians, artists and would-be Casanovas. An Independent Spirit Award nominee, this playful, dreamy film is one of the most unforgettable cinematic experiences of the year.
DREAM OF A CITY
DREAM OF A CITY
Between 1958 and 1960 Walter Hess and Manny Kirchheimer shot black and white 16mm film from Wall Street to midtown New York to the Delaware River. The footage was left unedited. Nearly 60 later, Kirchheimer took up the challenge of editing it, adding music and sound that would mesh with the surrealism of the material. The result is a dynamic and compact symphony of a city.
WALDEN
WALDEN
Deep inside a pristine forest, we hear the sudden sound of a chainsaw felling a fir tree. So begins this breathtakingly photographed, puzzle-like documentary which follows the mysterious journey of the tree’s lumber entirely through thirteen 360° panning shots; a wide-angle picture of the role nature plays in a world defined by globalization.
TOWARDS MATHILDE
TOWARDS MATHILDE
Presented in the US for the first time, from filmmaker director Claire Denis (Beau Travail, 35 Shots of Rum, Let the Sunshine In), Towards Mathilde utilizes sumptuous 8mm and 16mm cinematography, striking performances and the music by PJ Harvey to craft a singular documentary portrait of choreographer and dancer Mathilde Monnier.
DEAD SOULS
DEAD SOULS
In 1957, the Chinese government launched an anti-Rightist campaign to eliminate anyone suspected of opposition to those in power. Thousands were sent to camps in the Gobi Desert for re-education. Many died of starvation. Wang Bing’s monumental new documentary, at over 8 hours, documents the testimony of those who survived. 
ERIE
ERIE
In this landmark documentary, celebrated filmmaker Kevin Jerome Everson presents a series of single-take, black-and-white sequences filmed in and around Lake Erie to draw a profound connection between Black migration from the South to the North and the economic hardships currently facing working class communities.
CANIBA
CANIBA
A new documentary from the groundbreaking filmmakers behind Leviathan, Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor’s Caniba reflects on the discomfiting significance of cannibalistic desire in human existence through the prism of one Japanese man, Issei Sagawa, and his mysterious relationship with his brother, Jun Sagawa.
END OF LIFE
END OF LIFE
“In our culture, almost everyone fears death,” says Ram Dass, the noted spiritual guru and author, and one of the subjects in this extraordinary documentary. Directed by John Bruce and Paweł Wojtasik, who underwent training as doulas in order to accompany people nearing death, End of Life is a deeply moving, revelatory work that captures the last years of five individuals in the process of dying.
GRAY HOUSE
GRAY HOUSE
From a women's correctional facility in the Pacific Northwest to a North Dakota oil field, Gray House deftly blends vérité footage, stunning landscapes, interviews with workers, and fictional elements – some of which involve actors like Denis Lavant (Holy Motors, Beau Travail) – for a prescient vision of modern-day America.
TOO EARLY/TOO LATE
TOO EARLY/TOO LATE
A major influence on contemporary filmmakers, consisting entirely of a sequence of landscape shots, Straub-Huillet's Too Early / Too Late reflects on Egypt’s history of peasant struggle and liberation from Western colonization, linking it to class tensions in France shortly before the Revolution of 1789. 
VAMPIR-CUADECUC
VAMPIR-CUADECUC
Filmed on the set of Jess Franco’s Count Dracula starring Christopher Lee, Portabella’s masterpiece mixes making-of footage and an electronic soundtrack for an investigation into the figure of the vampire - as both a reflection on fascism and cinema - to create a subversive fever dream of a meta-film.
RAILWAY SLEEPERS
RAILWAY SLEEPERS
The first railway line in Thailand was inaugurated in 1893 – a sign of progress and prosperity. Shot over eight years on every active line of the railway system, this extraordinary documentary, produced by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, offers an unprecedented immersion into the country’s past and present.
THE DREAMED ONES
THE DREAMED ONES
The tormented romance between celebrated poets Paul Celan and Ingeborg Bachmann – a Holocaust survivor and a daughter of a Nazi party member – is the subject of this innovative documentary in which two actors read from their nearly two decades worth of correspondence.
88:88
88:88
Referencing the digital display of electric appliances after the power’s been repeatedly cut off, Isiah Medina’s audacious experimental work – one of the most acclaimed in recent years – is a personal meditation on family, friendship and the experience of living in poverty.
FENGMING
FENGMING
Often cited as one of the great documentary achievements, Wang Bing's dazzling tour-de-force — a gripping monologue recounting five decades in the life of a once-ardent socialist in the new China — is a testament to the power of oral history and the strength of one extraordinary woman. Never before available.
THE ILLINOIS PARABLES
THE ILLINOIS PARABLES
Filmmaker Deborah Stratman recounts eleven episodes in American history — from the violent eviction of the Cherokee to the invention of the nuclear reactor to the murder of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton — to consider how societies are shaped by belief and ideology.
KATE PLAYS CHRISTINE
KATE PLAYS CHRISTINE
Winner of a Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, Robert Greene's incisive documentary exploring the story of a newswoman who committed a shocking act on live TV in the 1970s is an inquiry into our culture, media, the role of women in society and the workforce.
BEHEMOTH
BEHEMOTH
Beginning with a mining explosion in Mongolia and ending in a ghost city west of Beijing, political documentarian Zhao Liang's visionary new film details the social and ecological devastation behind an economic miracle that may yet prove illusory.
DEAD SLOW AHEAD
DEAD SLOW AHEAD
An enormous shipping freighter drifts endlessly across the Atlantic Ocean; its' crew toiling tirelessly below. At times resembling a dystopian science-fiction film, this is trenchant commentary on global trade, labor and capitalism.
IMPRESSION OF A WAR
IMPRESSION OF A WAR
An artful meditation on Colombia's 70-year civil war--and the culture of violence that pervaded every aspect of society--through the marks, traces and images it left behind.