Between October 11 and November 5 of 1968, teenager Norio Nagayama murdered four people in a killing spree across Japan with a shotgun stolen from a U.S. Army base. Adachi Masao, together with cultural theorist Matsuda Masao, scriptwriter Sasaki Mamoru and other collaborators, set out to trace the young man’s footsteps with a camera in hand. The result is an experimental documentary comprised purely of landscape shots, each of which shows scenery that Nagayama may or may not have seen during his upbringing and journey. Seeking an alternative to the sensationalism found in the media’s depiction of serial killers (which continues to this day), Adachi’s sparse voice-over provides only the hard facts while the increasing number of billboards in the landscapes slowly reveal the hegemony of capitalism in contemporary Japan.
This television essay from 1985 was written by Leonard Bernstein to commemorate the 125th anniversary of Gustav Mahler’s birth. Recorded in Israel, Vienna and later in London, it is punctuated by biographical interludes and illustrated by musical examples drawn from the cycle of Mahler’s works recorded by Bernstein. Bernstein talks, plays and conducts various orchestras (Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Wiener Philharmoniker) and soloists (Janet Baker, Christa Ludwig, Edith Mathis, Lucia Popp, Walton Groenroos) in performances spanning 17 years.
DIFFERENT DRUMMER is a short documentary directed by Edward Gray about Jazz great Elvin Jones. In it he talks about his early days with John Coltrane (with whom he’s seen performing in a ’60s film clip) and pianist Bud Powell. He also performs drum solos and an original piece, “Three Card Molly,” with Ryo Kawasaki (guitar), Pat LaBarbera (sax) and David Williams (bass).
In the first documentary feature film made in Gaza, Gaza Ghetto highlights the historical precedents of war, dispossession and military control that influence a family’s daily life in Jabalia Palestinian refugee camp. Intimate scenes –a child is born, a grandmother dies — are inter-cut with visits to the architects of the Israeli military occupation. Ariel Sharon, Benyamin Beneliezar and soldiers on patrol candidly discuss their responsibilities.
Composed entirely of archival material and narrated by actor Pat Hingle, this hour-long film documents the run-up to the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression that followed. Made in the 1970s, the film carefully lays out major historical events, as with the stunning footage of the German Zeppelin Hindenburg bursting into flames over New Jersey in 1937. Powerful images such as this are both literal and metaphoric documents of the tragedies of the age. By relying on the old newsreels alone to depict the events, the filmmakers immerse us in the period in a way that would not have been possible had they interviewed a team of experts.
At Sulina, a small town in the Danube Delta, three men and a woman belonging to three different generations survive from one day to the other one. People say that Sulina was called Europolis in the past. But the flourishing town of the past has sunk into oblivion and is surrounded by marshes. Thomas Ciulei has scrutinized the life of three generations of Romanians who try to build their life in this abandoned city as well as they can.
Documentary on the life and works of the 20th century Polish artist, Tadeusz Kantor. Traces his roots as a visual artist in Poland and explores his methods of designing props. Includes rare scenes of Kantor at work with the dedicated actors in his troup Teatr Cricot 2. Features extensive segments, in Polish, of his most famous works, Wielopole, Wielopole and The Dead Class.
DON’T SHOOT THE COMPOSER is far from an ordinary profile of Georges Delerue. It also serves as a calling card for Ken Russell, whose work would define the 1970s as Delerue’s did in the 1960s. It begins with a sly work of pastiche, parodying the conventions of French noir. It goes onto encompass slapstick, verité scenes of the Delerue family and a harrowing montage of the Vietnam War. This eclectic approach gives us a sense of the different facets of Delerue’s life- his love of cinema, his home life, his work ethic. It also prefigures Russell’s feature length biopics of Mahler and Liszt, though in a more modest- and lucid- fashion.