Thursday, February 15, 2007

I heart documentaries


the most recent documentary that i have seen was one i just finished watching about 20 minutes ago. it's called "Unknown White Male" and was released in 2006, i think. what's interesting about it is simply the premise at first. a man wakes up at age 35 on the subway to Coney Island, with no memory of who he is, just a British accent and a backpack. the documentary includes video taken from a few days afterward, and then picks up when, 8-9 months later, and old friend of his asks to make the film. and now there is the film. well, at the end of the film he still hasn't gained his memory back, and after looking it up on the internet it looks like it's still the case. but here's where it gets more interesting, i think. i was looking the film up on wikipedia and found that there is some question as to the film's, and the subject's, authenticity.

i would recommend seeing the film yourself before reading this article about it, since it might make you view the film with a certain bias. but if you do check out the film first, read the article and see what you think after. i'm all abuzz thinking about it.
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another documentary i've seen lately, and subsequently feel quite strongly about is An Inconvenient Truth. if you haven't heard of it (highly unlikely, regardless of how you might feel about the issue) it addresses the problem of global warming and what is to be done about it. i personally adored the film. this is mostly because i knew it was important to see, but then we rented it, and i really didn't want to see it, but then it won me over. before, i felt like it was too much information to be responsible for, and couldn't bring myself to feel up to it for over a week. R was much braver and insisted one night that we finally see it.

Image:Aninconvenienttruth.jpg
i was reassured about halfway through when i realized that i didn't feel bombarded with scare tactics by Al Gore and the filmmakers. it was much more even-handed than i had feared. i realize that Al Gore himself is obviously outspoken about the fact that something must be done. but he's realistic, in my opinion, about what that may be for each person. at the end of the film several suggestions are given, many of which i think are VERY doable. for example: buying energy-efficient household appliances, when available. R and I will be purchasing a washer and dryer in the next 5 years, i'm sure. so we'll probably be on the lookout for an energy-efficient one. plus, there are even simpler things to do, like replacing normal light bulbs with compact flourescent light bulbs (cfl). i don't personally own a corporation that is contributing X number of tons of CO2 per annum, so i am content with switching out my light bulbs for now and feeling pretty darn helpful. between that and encouraging everyone i can to see the movie/visit the website, anyways.

so don't be afraid. the film ends with hope, and faith that we can fix the problem we've created. get informed and accept my documentary recommendation :) please visit www.climatecrisis.net where a lot more information is, too. go on. click on the link. it's painless!
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other documentaries that i've enjoyed (in varying degrees), and cannot be held responsible for their differences in accuracy (which in each film's case is usually disputed):

  • The Smartest Guys in the Room (about Enron)
  • Super-Size Me (lots of controversy, but fun to watch)
  • 7 Up, 7 plus 7, 21 Up, 28 Up, 35 Up, 42 Up, 49 Up; also called The Up Series (series of films starting with a group of 7-year-olds (in England from different backgrounds) and checking on their lives at intervals of 7 years)
  • Baraka (visually beautiful! art film about various cultures from all over the world)
  • Lost Boys of Sudan (i couldn't get into it much, it was okay)
  • Hands on a Hard Body (it sounds like a porno, but it's really about a small town car dealership that has a contest to win a new truck by keeping your hand on the truck the longest--my favorite moment is when one guy admits to eating nothing the whole time, "except maybe a Snicker")
  • Spellbound (about the national spelling bee in DC)
  • Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price (sooo interesting, but not the most well made)
two that i would like to see:
  • Fast Food Nation--not really a documentary, but...(I read the book and enjoyed it immensely; it's by Eric Schlosser)
  • Wordplay (about Will Shortz, maker of the New York Times corssword puzzles)

4 comments:

Megan said...

thanks for the comprehensive post on documentaries...it helps me realise that there are a lot of good things to watch and I should be far more picky when I comes to my movie/TV viewing.

kendahl said...

well, you know i'm so responsible with MY tv/movie viewing. i'm glad you liked the list. have you seen Baraka? (it seems like you probably would've.) if not, i'm sure you'd love it.

Travis Butterfield said...

for some reason whenever I see your profile picture, I think of Jill Marks. Weird, huh?

kendahl said...

it certainly is.