Exit Through The Gift Shop (2010) Directed by Banksy, here interviewed to help set up the complex structure of the film.”Uh, well, the film is uh the story of what happened when this guy tried to make a documentary about me, but he was actually a lot more interesting than I am. “
If you look closely you can see the black mask over the hoodie hole ensuring that the director/star reveals zero facial information.
Zoo (2007) Director Robinson Devor. Director of Photography Sean Kirby.
This is the one on-camera interview in a film that’s defined by disembodied voices and gorgeous reenactments dancing around an infamous death-by-bestiality case in Washington state.
Michael Minard, one of the actors in the film, here describes his feelings about the case and his willingness to recognize the tragedy of the death. “The cold harsh brutal reality is a man bled to death. OK? And as I researched my role and revisited some articles I had read a year prior and also some new information, you know, I thought about, I thought about what was going through this man’s mind as he was bleeding to death.”
Wonder Women! The Untold Story of America Superheroines (2012). Director Kristy Guevara-Flanagan. Director of Photography Gabriel Miller. Airing April 15 on Independent Lens.
This is cultural historian Jennifer Stuller summarizing the significance of Wonder Woman after the character’s many permutations. “Wonder Women became associated with feminism and has been this recognizable icon of female power for decades after. Regardless of what’s happened with her character, regardless of what stories are told about her, she is a symbol of female power.”
Zizek! (2005). Director Astra Taylor. Cinematography by Martina Radwan and Jesse Epstein. The film is a sampler of the incomparable Slavoj Zizek. You won’t understand most of it, but you’ll understand just enough to want to learn more.
Here Zizek has an appropriately remarkable backdrop for his explanation and dismissal of psychoanalysis. “You cannot set yourself free to enjoy. Pleasure is not accessible to you. It is accessible to you only in pathological forms of feeling guilty and so on. So then the idea is psychoanalysis allows you to suspend overcome this internalized prohibitions so that it enables you to enjoy….The problem is how to get rid of this injunction to enjoy.”
Colony (2009). Directors Carter Gunn & Ross McDonnell. Shot by McDonnell. Backlight, layers, smoke in glass.
Here is biologist Randy Oliver providing the film’s most convincing theory on the possible causes of CCD - Colony Collapse Disorder. “What we may be seeing right now is because of the inbred stock of honey bees… tremendous genetic bottleneck. Well, if you have that narrow gene pool and a new pathogen comes in, you expect to have very large losses.”
Charlotte Rampling: The Look (2011). Director Angelina Maccarone. Director of Photography Judith Kauffman. This film is structured around movie clips and conversations between Rampling and some of her key collaborators. But the heart of the piece is Rampling’s own words, as she waxes poetic on her theories of performance, life, beauty etc.
“The camera has to be the most intimate friend when you’re filming, or when you’re being photographed. The camera is always going to be there watching you. So you need to get into a space where everything, everything that can happen is OK, so you can go really, really, really far, but it’s going to be OK because it’s a friendly space that you’re in.”
Whores’ Glory (2011). Directed by Michael Glawogger. Cinematography by Wolfgang Thaler. This “cinematic tryptych” is almost as dark as it sounds. It veers between the shocking and the banal in the lives of whores, pimps and johns in three brothel districts around the world.
That uneasy balance is especially clear with this unnamed john in Faridpur, Bangladesh. He describes his consumer act while he shaves a man’s entire face. “When I have a break I go to the bazaar and fuck, to enjoy myself. I go at least once or twice a day. It’s all I think about. Without the Faridpur brothel district, women couldn’t go out on the street without being molested. Men would be so horny they would rape them. Without those women, men would be screwing cows and goats.”
Beyond (2012). Directed and shot by Cale Glendening. This is a travelogue about still photographer Joey Lawrence shooting in Varanasi, India. It’s orientalism at it’s finest. The photographer might not appreciate that categorization, and he makes a point of saying in interview that his modern techniques situate his subjects in the 21st century.
Here is Magesh, one of the Aghori sadhus of the area, referring to the human skull, which they incorporate into their rituals. “We are all going to become this. Death is something everyone is scared of. All the people are scared of death. One way or another, they are going to die.”
Frontline’s The Suicide Plan (2012). Directors Miri Navasky & Karen O’Connor. Director of Photography Ben McCoy. I love the color palette and portraiture lighting in this most intimate of interviews.
This is Art Butterstein fighting back tears as he describes his wife’s imminent death by suicide. “I don’t think any of us will be fully prepared. We’ll make the effort. We’ll steel ourselves to the point of no return and we’ll make sure that we go through it. And once it’s complete, I’ll hold her, and I’ll kiss her… “
Indie Game: The Movie (2012). Directed by Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky. He gets the DP credit. The two of them did virtually everything on this film, including a meticulous edit and a self-distribution campaign that made this a bestselling documentary on iTunes.
The cinematography is simple but careful, pretty, and naturally lit. Here is Ron Carmel, one of the developers of World of Goo, setting up some backstory. “The one major thing that made this possible is the rise of digital distribution. It used to be that retailers had a lot of power over every game creation company because that was the only avenue available to sell games.”
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