Both a classic documentary and a vital pop-cultural artifact, D.A. Pennebaker's portrait of Bob Dylan captures the seminal singer-songwriter on the cusp of his transformation from folk prophet to rock trendsetter. Shot during Dylan's 1965 British concert tour, Pennebaker employs an edgy vérité style. His incredible access to the legendarily private star enables us to witness Dylan's shifting moods as he performs, relaxes with his entourage and jousts with fans, press and fellow musicians. It's a measurement of the filmmaker's acuity that the conversations are often as gripping as Dylan's solo performances. A rare and timeless classic.
Directly inspired by the Pennebaker classic Don't Look Back, I am trying to break your heart is a compelling study of seminal rock band, Wilco as they record the best music of their career. Shot in luminous black-and-white by photographer Sam Jones, the film pays respect to Pennebaker's intimate vérité style. Jones tempers the backstage dramas and unfathomable corporate shenanigans with inspired live performances, as the band perform songs from their beleagueredbeleaguered "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" album, now considered a modern classic.
The Moscow skyscraper was Stalin's pet project, envisioned in the spirit of a Communist utopia but in reality built by prisoners of war and Gulag detainees to house KGB agents and the Moscow Intelligentsia. Shot in the ghostly corridors, and told through the stories of the residents, this is an ironic, off-beat portrait of modern-day Russia.
Motor City was built upon the social concept of 'Fordism'. Through interviews and photographs as well as a remarkable variety of archive footage - Ford plants, mass protests of the Depression years, Diego Rivera painting his famous mural 'Detroit Industry', the struggle for trade union rights, the riots of 1943 and 1967 - this film traces the company's ideological roots and the effect of its ruthless progress on the city.
Seven months after the end of the war, Sean Langan (Behind the Lines, Travels of a Gringo), armed with just a camera, takes a brave and eventful trip through Iraq, seeking to shed light on what life is like in this newly occupied territory. As well as interviews with civilians, Langan joins the US-led coalition on patrol (even at times of attack) as well as instigating secret meetings with the resistance fighters.
Soon after the 2003 Iraq war, filmmaker Maysoon Pachachi returns to Baghdad after 35 years. She accompanies her father, 80-year Adnan who has returned to head a committee drafting a temporary constitution and Bill of Rights. We follow this torturous process, with its arguments over wording changes demanded by Washington or compromises to satisfy sectarian interests.
Lakenheath tells the story of a god-fearing military family from Oklahoma who move to the largest US air base in England. A good family of strong faith and ideals, they are happy to find the base is an American island, buffeted against the outside world.
A Company of Soldiers follows the US Army's 8th Cavalry Regiment stationed in Baghdad for an up-close, intimate look at the dangers facing an American unit in Iraq. Shot during the month of Ramadan and the campaign for Fallujah, the film tracks the day-to-day challenges facing the 8th Cavalry's Dog Company as it suddenly has to cope with a dramatic increase in insurgent attacks.
Bulgarian entrepreneur, eccentric and eternal optimist Dr. Georgi Lulchev attempts to turn around a mismanaged hospital for psychiatric patients. His dream is to create a farm where patients can raise snails, ostriches and pheasants, produce silk fibres and soy bread. Director Andrey Paounov films the ill-fated ideas which flow from Georgi's mind with affection and a keen eye for cinematic beauty; a charming and life-affirming tale.
In a small flat in Moscow, an 80-year old man is making woollen bags. His work is difficult: not only is he blind, but his knitting is constantly unravelled by his only companion, a small white cat. When he takes his bags down to the street to sell, nobody wants them - everyone is carrying plastic bags. The latest masterpiece by Sergei Dvortsevoy (Paradise, Bread Day, Highway) is a moving metaphor for a Russia in transition.
2003 and the power struggle between LURD, the Liberian rebel movement, and president Charles Taylor (indicted by the UN for crimes against humanity) reaches its climax. LURD is about to capture the Liberian capital Monrovia.
"And obviously we gave him the wrong advice, didn't we?" retorts Bev, stepmother of Guantanamo Bay prisoner David Hicks, "because the next we heard he was on his way to Afghanistan to join the Taliban." Australian David Hicks, incarcerated in a cell in Guantamano Bay for over two years, has been refused access to a normal trial hearing, and has had no contact with any family members.
Australian filmmaker Cathy Henkel returns to Johannesburg where fourteen years ago, her mother was sexually assaulted and beaten in her suburban home by a local teenager. Henkel's despair at an ineffective police investigation as well as her mothers' inability to recover from this violent attack drives her to seek out and confront her mother's attacker. A disquieting film about justice, healing and bond between mother and daughter.
A hit of the festivals, DIG! was shot over seven years and follows the lead singers of the Dandy Warhols and The Brian Jones Massacre; star crossed friends and bitter rivals. From the moment they met, the two bands quickly bonded over their refusal to conform to the tastes of the recording industry. Yet the bands' choices over how to express their creativity and originality in a profit-driven industry eventually put them at irreconcilable odds.
In 1974, the New York City music scene was shocked into consciousness by the violently new and raw sound of a band of misfits called The Ramones. This film traces the band from its unlikely origins, through its star-crossed career, its bitter demise and the sad fates of Joey and Dee Dee. End Of The Century is a vibrant, candid document of one of the most influential groups in the history of rock.
Baghdad,1998 and the pressure is intense. Hundreds of journalists are in town and Sean McAllister is one of them.But instead of focusing on the talking heads and the staged demonstrations, McAllister turns his camera on two "minders", those assigned by the Iraqi Ministry of Information to patrol what foreigners see and do not see.