No one knows better than Mohsen Makhmalbaf that Iranians are movie mad, so when he placed a casting call for one hundred actors for a new film, he expected a crowd; what he got was a crush—five thousand people. After genially announcing, “You are both the subject and the actors in the film,” he begins auditions. What unfolds is a parade of individuals who, for love of cinema, are by turns brash, crafty, shy, touchingly open, unwittingly hilarious.
Budd Boetticher’s final release is an independently produced documentary about legendary bullfighter Carlos Arruza, narrated by Anthony Quinn. A film he spent much time, effort and money on and was to be his masterpiece, perhaps his most personal. Boetticher himself had been a bullfighter before going into movies. Tragically, a car accident on May 20th, 1966 took the lives of Carlos Arruza and some of Boetticher’s filming crew.
Package Tour is one of the key works processing the history of the Holocaust in Hungary. It features people who personally experienced the horrors of the death camps, thus based on their witness statements we learn of events first hand. At the time of its debut, in 1985, there was still a whole generation of survivors who could be reached out to and the Holocaust was part of a still living but long-held taboo social memory. However, the subjects of the interviews not only talk about the past but also reflect on the present.
A year before his death in 1972, M.C. Escher’s process and essence was captured by fellow Dutch creative Han van Gelder for the 20-minute film Adventures in Perception. The documentary, while short, is a striking portrait of the artist, whose tessellations, perspective-shifting drawings, and studies garnered fans in both the art and scientific fields. The film was crafted for Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Netherlands’ program “Living Art The Netherlands.”
In this unique approach to the autobiographical film format, director Stephen Dwoskin pieces together home movies shot by his parents in New York City, a video letter recorded during the 1990 Gulf War by filmmaker Robert Kramer, and raw footage filmed by Dwoskin himself. A veteran of the New York independent film scene of the 1960s, Dwoskin constructs a film poem in which the strong sentiment of his personal story—he was stricken by polio and eventually confined to a wheelchair—never overwhelms the beauty of the film’s distinct form.
Life for most young Vietnamese youth in the United States is a “life like dust.” This film goes inside the mind of Ricky Phan, once a gang leader in Southern California and now serving an 11-year sentence for armed robbery. Shot over a three-year period before Ricky’s arrest, BUI DOI… explores his memories of childhood in war-weary Saigon, his days in the U.S. as a “gangster,” and then his life in a state prison. Which is more violent: fleeing from a war-ravaged nation or trying to survive in an alien Western culture?
Skyward examines the relationship between man, birds, and the environment at Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary in St. Petersburg, FL. Centering on the growth and development of a family of Canadian geese, and restoring nature’s ecological balance.
A synthesis of documentary, dramatic, and experimental styles, this film follows two women recollecting their personal and familial experiences from World War II. One woman recounts the story of an aunt from story Hiroshima whose father had been a member of the peace party when the militarist government forced its way to power. Exiled from Japan they were then interned with Canadians of Japanese descent. The other woman recounts the details of her experience as a young nurse on the morning of August 6, 1945.