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Documentary Challenge; Official; April 2015
Topic Started: Mar 31 2015, 08:57:44 PM (3,285 Views)
funkybusiness
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This...is a cactus.
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Documentary Challenge
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Goal:
Watch documentary films. "Is [this] a documentary film?" Sure. Why not.

Rules:
- A feature film (Anything over 45 minutes) counts as one entry
- A total of 60 minutes of short films count as one entry
- For Mini-Series (45 minute episodes or longer) each episode counts as an entry.
- For Mini-Series with shorter episodes (25 minutes or so), the 60 minute rule applies.
- Rewatches allowed? Yep.

Challenge runs from April 1st through April 30th.

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Official Lists:
100 Documentary Films (BFI Screen Guide)
IMDb Documentary Top 50
Harvard University's Suggested Film Viewing List: Non-Fiction Films (2012)

Other Lists:
Academy Award Documentary
Academy Award Documentary Shorts
Academy Award Best Documentary Feature Nominees
iCM Board's Top 200 Highest Rated Documentaries
iCheckMovies' Most Favorite Documentaries
Sundance Film Festival - Documentary Grand Jury Prize
Total Film 50 Weirdest Documentaries
Documentary films about Agriculture
Kasparius' Favorite Documentaries
Cinematic Essay Filmography by Peter Thompson
Viennale's The Way of the Termite: The Essay in Film 1909-2004
All Essay-Films
100 British Documentaries (BFI Screen Guide) (work in progress)
Football documentaries
One Hundred Great Documentaries (OUP)


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Edited by funkybusiness, Mar 31 2015, 10:01:36 PM.
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funkybusiness
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This...is a cactus.
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Participants:

3eyes 1
Armoreska 71
allisoncm 42
ArthurYanthar 2
blocho 27
cinephage 3
Cippenham 11
connordenney 13
Daviddoes 5
Fergenaprido 8
funkybusiness 6
Gershwin 12
HVM 46
jgwr 21
klaus78 21
Lammetje 5
Lilarcor 11
mathiasa 2
Melvelet 2
ororama 13
PeacefulAnarchy 21
Perception de Ambiguity 20
perceval 14
tomelce 11
zuma 12
Edited by funkybusiness, May 2 2015, 09:52:44 AM.
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HVM
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Walk of Fame
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I've been able to scrape together a fairly solid playlist without the need to actually DL anything. In!
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Lilarcor
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Oscar Winner
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Of course!
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funkybusiness
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This...is a cactus.
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HVM
Mar 31 2015, 09:14:50 PM
Posted Image

I've been able to scrape together a fairly solid playlist without the need to actually DL anything. In!
yay!

Lilarcor
Mar 31 2015, 09:23:51 PM
Of course!

yay!

For interested parties, I'll be swapping the OP pictures throughout the month. because I'm too lazy to do it right now. and I've completely forgotten what the top picture is from. and I haven't manged to watch the third film in the almost a year it's been in my netflix queue.

anyone else going to watch The Jinx, even though the fucking news spoiled it for me?
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zuma
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Oscar Nominee
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Two challenges in one month? Sure! I am in! (this never works out well)

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Cippenham
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Above average
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I will try to watch a few: add also

100 British Documentaries

Football Documentaries

One Hundred Great Documentaries
Edited by Cippenham, Mar 31 2015, 09:52:12 PM.
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3eyes
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Gaffer
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I have a pretty full plate this month but if I happen to watch any I'll report them.
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te18
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"duff means the butt"
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IN.
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Daviddoes
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I didn't sign up for a second degree assault party
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Count me in.
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Lilarcor
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funkybusiness
Mar 31 2015, 09:31:30 PM
anyone else going to watch The Jinx, even though the fucking news spoiled it for me?
Yep. I'm lucky enough to know nothing about it.
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sebby
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Established Miscreant
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The Jinx was really good. I would also recommend The Staircase for something similar.
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allisoncm
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Totally in! Can't wait to watch a bunch tomorrow (April 1st).
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Fergenaprido
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I'd been planning on participating in this for a while, since my documentary consumption is quite low, but then DTC came along and I want to focus on that more. So we'll see how much I actually accomplish in watching docs. I've got about 20 docs queued (though I lost some earlier this year), so I should be able to watch at least a half dozen or so, especially those docs nominated for DTC.
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klaus78
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I'm in.
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jgwr
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International Man of Misery
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Put me down for this, too, and I'll actually try and participate this time...
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connordenney
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Oscar Nominee
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I'm in and so excited
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Lammetje
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Walk of Fame
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I can squeeze in a couple of docs this month.
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Gershwin
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Walk off Frame
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It's been a while since I joined a challenge, but I'm in, and I'll try to squeeze in a few docs!
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te18
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"duff means the butt"
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1. Maravilla (2014) 6/10
Dramatic documentary that imposes a sports film narrative on the career story of boxer Sergio Martinez, with mixed results. If nothing else, it achieves the feat of making his final round vs. Chavez Jr. even more dramatic.

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allisoncm
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Manic Listmaker
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1. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room 7.5/10 A great documentary on the insane collapse of Enron. I remember this going on, but I did not know the crazy specifics. The fate of two of the top criminals was still undecided when the doc came out, but I looked them up on Wikipedia, so no big deal.
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PeacefulAnarchy
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Walk of Fame
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Last time I said I'd participate in a challenge I watched all of 0 movies, so I'm making no promises. But I really want plat on 100 Documentary Films (BFI Screen Guide).
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funkybusiness
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This...is a cactus.
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PeacefulAnarchy
Apr 1 2015, 06:46:47 PM
Last time I said I'd participate in a challenge I watched all of 0 movies, so I'm making no promises. But I really want plat on 100 Documentary Films (BFI Screen Guide).
you have Jazz left. good luck.
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PeacefulAnarchy
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funkybusiness
Apr 1 2015, 07:02:20 PM
PeacefulAnarchy
Apr 1 2015, 06:46:47 PM
Last time I said I'd participate in a challenge I watched all of 0 movies, so I'm making no promises. But I really want plat on 100 Documentary Films (BFI Screen Guide).
you have Jazz left. good luck.
That plus When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts and Lost, Lost, Lost. I'm gonna try though (maybe). Hopefully Jazz is more interesting than that US civil war one.
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te18
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"duff means the butt"
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2. Zombies: When the Dead Walk (2008) 4/10

A documentary that purports to travel to Haiti to discover the origins of the zombie term, but only really skims the surface of the story, while skipping over classic examples of zombie movies and indulging a bit too much in its interviewees' pretensions.

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Gershwin
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Walk off Frame
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PeacefulAnarchy
Apr 1 2015, 07:13:04 PM
funkybusiness
Apr 1 2015, 07:02:20 PM
PeacefulAnarchy
Apr 1 2015, 06:46:47 PM
Last time I said I'd participate in a challenge I watched all of 0 movies, so I'm making no promises. But I really want plat on 100 Documentary Films (BFI Screen Guide).
you have Jazz left. good luck.
That plus When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts and Lost, Lost, Lost. I'm gonna try though (maybe). Hopefully Jazz is more interesting than that US civil war one.
Maybe it's because I'm a jazz lover, but I found it quite interesting.
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Daviddoes
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I didn't sign up for a second degree assault party
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1. Pulp: a Film About Life, Death & Supermarkets (2014) 7/10

2. The Order of Myths (2008) 7/10

3. Samsara (2011) 6/10

4. Life Itself (2014) 7/10

5. Nanook of the North (1922) 4/10
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te18
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"duff means the butt"
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3. Lightning Over Water (1980) 7/10
Wim Wenders teams up with a dying Nicholas Ray on what is to be his final film. A blend of documentary and drama that's not just affecting in its sights of Ray in such bad condition but for its insights into his creative process, still intact at the end of his life. It kind of skips over his death but otherwise it's a very well executed film.

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Lilarcor
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Oscar Winner
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1 - 5. The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst (ep. 1 - 6) (Jarecki, 2015)
At least on par with The Staircase, I was pretty immediately sucked into this and it never lost my interest. It's perhaps troubling to be so interested / invested in true crime stories like this and this is also a very stylized one (reminded me often of True Detective). But I guess stories like this just hits all the marks for me and I become glued at the screen.

spoiler
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Lammetje
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1. Free to Play (2014): 6/10

Maybe DOTA fanboys are partly responsible for the high rating on IMDb. I thought it was nothing to get excited about.

Seen
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allisoncm
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2. La Vie moderne 6/10 Documentaries on farmers in France.
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Lilarcor
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6. Kino-pravda no. 15, 17, 18 & 19 (Vertov, 1923-24) 6/10
Kino-pravda no. 15 [16 min]
Kino-pravda no. 17 [14 min]
We see a lot of agricultural work, plains and a huge agricultural exhibition. Food and hunger is a big theme in the previous Kino-pravda's.

Kino-pravda no. 18 [14 min]
Features a funny scene with a baby that moves from person to person and each "transfer" is highlighted with these creative title cards that make it all very official and big. It's humorous to see this after some earlier "Kino-pravdas" dealing with big-name officials in the same way.

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Kino-pravda no. 19 [16 min]
Vertov on speed and it's hard to grasps what he's getting at here because it moves around so much between settings and themes. Perhaps the most memorable is the end which shows Dziga Vertov's wife (?) examining the negatives of Kino-pravda no. 19, which is the one we're currently watching.

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PeacefulAnarchy
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Walk of Fame
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1. News from Home (1977) 7/10
Maybe there's some wider picture I'm not getting, but to me this feels like two great film ideas mashed together rather incongruently, creating something that's still good but noticeably less than the sum of its parts. On the one hand you have the film implied by the title: a voice over narration of letters from home. The letters are fundamentally banal, but alongside that banality is a longing for closeness and frustration by distance and inconsistent communication. I think the emotional core of this aspect is done so much better by I for India, but still, the emphasis here is different and the letter writing and narration point to a very specific and now largely obsolete mode of viewing communication, distance and time. I remember being 'forced' to write letters to my grandparents and having no idea what to say and receiving letters full of love but lacking in real substance, and all the related perceptions of distance and its effects. Now I live thousands of miles from my parents but can get on skype at any moment and have a quick chat and maybe turn on the video. The distance is still felt, but it's something completely different. Anyway, the film's narration certainly brought all these things to mind, but it didn't go further, didn't examine or contextualize or really provide any insight beyond "hey, this is a thing." The other half of the film is shots of New York, empty streets, corner stores, busy streets, subways and subway stations and other cityscapes of various types. A few moments aside I didn't feel it was particularly interestingly shot, but it wasn't bad and I kind of enjoyed seeing what was essentially a city symphony of 70s New York without the symphony part. Even though a majority of the shots do feature people, the whole thing feels somewhat devoid of the life and vibrancy that 80 minutes of 70s NYC should have. It feels hollow somehow, using shots of the city but not really showing the city. So, I love the two things the film is trying to do, I like, though I'm not bowled over by, how it does them individually, but the combined product just leaves me wanting two separate and better films instead.
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Cippenham
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1 We are the Lambeth Boys 1958

I talk about this on the other thread the game Movies you should have already seen, and it is fascinating look at the life of young people who go to a London Youth Club at that time
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Edited by Cippenham, Apr 3 2015, 07:17:47 AM.
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Onderhond
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Lammetje
Apr 2 2015, 05:22:15 PM
1. Free to Play (2014): 6/10

Maybe DOTA fanboys are partly responsible for the high rating on IMDb. I thought it was nothing to get excited about.

Seen
Think it's my favorite docu so far (and I never even heard of Dota before I watched this).
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brokenface
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Modestly Priced Receptacle
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PeacefulAnarchy
Apr 3 2015, 05:36:14 AM
1. News from Home (1977) 7/10
Maybe there's some wider picture I'm not getting, but to me this feels like two great film ideas mashed together rather incongruently, creating something that's still good but noticeably less than the sum of its parts. On the one hand you have the film implied by the title: a voice over narration of letters from home. The letters are fundamentally banal, but alongside that banality is a longing for closeness and frustration by distance and inconsistent communication. I think the emotional core of this aspect is done so much better by I for India, but still, the emphasis here is different and the letter writing and narration point to a very specific and now largely obsolete mode of viewing communication, distance and time. I remember being 'forced' to write letters to my grandparents and having no idea what to say and receiving letters full of love but lacking in real substance, and all the related perceptions of distance and its effects. Now I live thousands of miles from my parents but can get on skype at any moment and have a quick chat and maybe turn on the video. The distance is still felt, but it's something completely different. Anyway, the film's narration certainly brought all these things to mind, but it didn't go further, didn't examine or contextualize or really provide any insight beyond "hey, this is a thing." The other half of the film is shots of New York, empty streets, corner stores, busy streets, subways and subway stations and other cityscapes of various types. A few moments aside I didn't feel it was particularly interestingly shot, but it wasn't bad and I kind of enjoyed seeing what was essentially a city symphony of 70s New York without the symphony part. Even though a majority of the shots do feature people, the whole thing feels somewhat devoid of the life and vibrancy that 80 minutes of 70s NYC should have. It feels hollow somehow, using shots of the city but not really showing the city. So, I love the two things the film is trying to do, I like, though I'm not bowled over by, how it does them individually, but the combined product just leaves me wanting two separate and better films instead.
my reading was that it shows a city devoid of life because she is a stranger there & alienated/homesick, so that is the city she sees..it's contrasting the city full of people she has no emotional connection to with the banality but closeness of the life she has left behind.
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Melvelet
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À la recherche du temps perdu...
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1. Dont Look Back 1967 8-/10
I listen to Bob Dylan a lot lately. Hadn't imagined him being that rather weird fellow :D
Pennebraker captured some interesting scenes.

2. Lektionen in Finsternis 1992 9/10
"The collapse of the stellar universe will occur like creation - in grandiose splendor" That's what we're promised and that what we get: a symphony of terrifying beauty.
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HVM
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Walk of Fame
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1. Po horách, po dolách (1929)

Ethnographic visit to the mountains of Slovakia and Carpathian Ruthenia. Mildly interesting, especially the plays kids and youths come up with in a place where not much beyond sheep and hard work can be found. I have more from this director (Karel Plicka) lined up, including an official UNESCO check.

2. Madrileños por el mundo: Praga, la ciudad dorada del Este de Europa (sic) link
3. Españoles en el mundo S11E23 Varsovia link

Expats from Madrid/Spain present "their" city and talk about life. Solid selection of people, i.e. it goes beyond Erasmus students/language teachers. Will watch more sometime.


4. Le fond de l'air est rouge aka Grin Without a Cat (1977) 4/10

Not a ibg fan of essay films. And finding subs was a bitch.
Edited by HVM, Apr 3 2015, 05:34:51 PM.
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Lilarcor
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Oscar Winner
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7. Kino-pravda no. 20-23 (Vertov, 1924-25) 6/10

Kino-pravda no. 20 [11 min]
Kino-pravda no. 21 [21 min]
Kino-pravda no. 22 [15 min]
Kino-pravda no. 23 [14 min]

The last four are more bizarre (like the whole title card animation showing Lenin's temperature, breathing frequency and pulse!).

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te18
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"duff means the butt"
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4a. Labor on the Douro River (1931) 5/10
4b. Murnau's 4 Devils: Traces of a Lost Film (2003) 7/10

The former is Manoel de Oliveira's forgettable debut and the latter is a really interesting doc that creates an impression of F.W. Murnau's great-looking lost film 4 Devils. Highly recommend this second one, although some might find its approach a little dry.

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