For Sama is an extraordinary journey into war through the intimate lens of a woman who, in the course of five grueling years, also becomes a mother. From the 2011 uprisings in Aleppo, Syria, to her daily life in an area under never-ending siege, director Waad al-Kateab offers an unprecedented look into the lives of civilians held hostage under the oppression of what they refer to as “The Regime” — Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad regime — amid the shadows of global politics. [Read more…]
This Empty World, the latest exhibition by acclaimed photographer Nick Brandt (at Fahey/Klein, Los Angeles, through 27 April), is a captivating account of wildlife colliding hard against an endless tide of human encroachment and unchecked corporate development. Once roaming free upon endlessly expansive and entirely majestic lands, these now endangered animals find themselves wandering amid stands of cement walls, their destinies perilously disrupted by ditches, bus stations, construction sites, highways, dried river beds and, of course, people. So many people. Everywhere, locals — whose mere presence carries with it an indeterminable fate of doom — stare away from these gorgeous creatures, grounded as they are in their own sense of isolation and despair. When their eyes do seem to meet, at least in Brandt’s photographs, the encounter is altogether fruitless, for the two are equal victims of a global environmental destruction that churns-on despite local action. [Read more…]
Seeing Allred is a fascinating documentary about one of the most powerful and outspoken discrimination attorney and women’s rights advocates of our times: Gloria Allred.
Co-directed by Sophie Sartain and Roberta Grossman, the film gets up-close and personal with this formidable woman, from her high profile cases and strategic presence in the media, to her personal life, her feminist awakening, her dedication to civil rights and her passion for activism.
“There is a war on women. It’s real. It can be very ugly. Women depend on me to be strong, to be fearless, and to assert and protect their rights,” declares Allred. [Read more…]
Few ever dream of owning a masterpiece; even fewer know the intrinsic value of an art piece in today’s hyper inflated art market. Brilliantly directed by Nathaniel Khan, The Price of Everything is a fascinating journey into the personalities at the forefront of this phenomenon, from high-end investors to auctioneers, historians, art critics, collectors and artists. [Read more…]
Raw talent. Sartorial splendor. Passion and rebellious spirit, breaker all the rules: words inevitably fail with Alexander McQueen, the brilliant British designer who revolutionized Fashion and its establishment. His life and complex persona is portrayed in the new documentary, McQueen. Directed by Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui, the film is an ode to the prodigal son from a modest family who dared uproot conservative dogmas and whose influence is just starting to be fully understood. [Read more…]
Dark Money is a political thriller documenting the influence of corrupt money on the elections in a state, Montana, that is a microcosm of America as a nation.
Directed by Kimberly Reed, who is known for Prodigal Sons, an introspective film about the impact of her gender transition on her family and friends, the film takes a meticulous approach at tracing the hidden players involved in swaying our political future. [Read more…]
Unlocking The Cage offers an intimate look at an unprecedented battle to obtain the status of legal personhood for animals. Co-directed by D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus, the film follows attorney Steven Wise and his legal team, The Non Human Rights Project, into the courtroom and behind the scenes of this truly historic crusade.
From Don’t Look Back to The War Room and Startup.com, the acclaimed filmmakers are famous for their unobtrusive documentary style. One of the pioneers of Direct Cinema, Pennebaker was honored with a Lifetime Academy Award and Oscar nominated Hegedus received the DGA Outstanding Directional Achievement award. [Read more…]
Samantha Fuller Speaks to the Life and Legacy of Her Father, Director Sam Fuller
A Fuller Life is a special tribute to maverick filmmaker Samuel Fuller, directed by his daughter Samantha. Fuller was a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood. His raw and unbridled stories favored the underdog and dared to question and highlight the grim reality of war, racism and manipulation from experiences that he had lived first hand. Starting as a crime reporter, he enrolled himself in the infantry during World War II, exposed the horrors of concentration camps, and was awarded the Purple Heart for his bravery. His persona was bigger than life. He was known for smoking a large cigar and calling action by firing a Colt .45 into the air. From The Big Red One to Shock Corridor and White Dog, his indelible mark influenced countless directors. Scorsese once said of him, “If you don’t like the films of Samuel Fuller, then you just don’t like cinema. Or at least you don’t understand it.” [Read more…]
The recent documentary Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World is a revelation, from Link Wray’s monumental influence on the landscape of music, to the legendary stars paying tribute to the songs and rhythms of indigenous cultures whose struggles were hidden from history for far too long. The line up of celebrities in this documentary is impressive: Stevie Van Zandt, Martin Scorsese, Taj Mahal, Georges Clinton, Tony Bennett, Taboo, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Robbie Robertson and Steven Tyler, to name a few, including Iggy Pop, who owes his decision to become a musician to Link Wray’s infamous power cord.
Link Wray & His Wray Men, “Rumble” (1958) [Read more…]
Agnieszka Holland’s provocative film, Spoor, challenges preconceived notions of animal dominion, gender equality, and the excessive use of power by the ruling class. A recipient of multiple awards, including three Academy Awards nominations, Holland is a masterful director who excels at weaving powerful and conflicting themes into stories. Inspired by Olga Tokarczuk’s book, Drive Your Plough Over the Bones of the Dead, the title of the film refers to the tracks and traces left by animals, while its original title, Pokot, is a hunting expression referring to the count of animals killed after the hunt. [Read more…]
Based on the writings and adventures of best selling journalist Jay Bahadur, Pirates of Somalia is an enthralling ride into the reality of Somalia’s pirates, seen from the shores of a nation pillaged by foreign corporations. This film is a far cry from the dichotomies of Captain Philips and the media’s ennobling of Americans in stark contrast to the barbarism of the Somalis. [Read more…]
Inspired by true events, The Divine Order tells the story of a housewife’s servitude and her quest for emancipation in a remote part of Switzerland. She rallies other women to fight for the right to vote, shifting the scales of power politically and domestically, while awakening to her own sexual potential. [Read more…]
Rat Film, a riveting new feature by Theo Anthony, plunges into the dark recesses of Baltimore’s rat-infested streets; in doing so, it takes its viewers into the gaping breach of socio-economic segregation.
Once upon a time – because all tales innocuously anchor their footprints in reality – Anthony notices a rat desperately trying to jump out of the confinement of a trashcan. This momentary experience soon leads the director into the chaos of the human condition, which the film masterfully begins to explore while an eerily autocratic voice over (Maureen Jones) ushers us into behavioral neuroscience with references to Curt Richter’s experiments compiled into his book: “Rats, Man and the Welfare State”. [Read more…]
With England is Mine, director Mark Gill explores the emergence of the creative mindset of an icon of alternative rock music: Morrissey.
Named after the Smiths’ lyrics, “England is mine and it owes me a living,” the biopic focuses on the former Smiths frontman’s adolescence, from his boredom while working menial jobs at the Inland Revenue and at a local hospital, to his creative spurts of inspiration mixed with his private torments. Depression and ambition go hand in hand to provide the fuel that will either sink him or propel him to greatness, and his career finally jumps into gear when he meets Johnny Marr and steps into the threshold of his destiny. [Read more…]