Chuck Tryon's picture

How to Fold a Flag [Full Frame 2010]

Reviews of Kathryn Bigelow’s Oscar-winning film, The Hurt Locker (my response) tended to address the film’s hyperrealist aesthetic, its use of handheld camera and its visceral treatment of a squad of soldiers whose primary purpose is to defuse improvised explosive devices (IEDs). ... read more »

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Waste Land [Full Frame 2010]

During the introduction to her documentary Waste Land, Lucy Walker modestly remarked, “this is a film about garbage.”  And, to some extent, it is about waste, garbage, dumps, refuse, and the people who patiently pick through the Jardim Gramacho, the world’s largest garbage dump, located on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, in order to dig out the recyclable materials that have been tossed aside. ... read more »

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Last Address: Buildings are Bricks

Ira Sachs generously traded his new short film, Last Address, with me for my Video Remains. Both are elegies for lost friends, artists, and activists of the 1980s. I had hoped to see his new work in Berlin, when I was there with The OWLs, but we ended up having to do it by (snail) mail… ... read more »

Chuck Tryon's picture

My Perestroika [Full Frame 2010]

Robin Hessman’s My Perestroika (IMDB), which won the Center for Documentary Studies Award at this year’s Full Frame, offers an engaging, subtle meditation on the profound changes that many Russian citizens felt during the last stages of Communism and the jarring transition into a capitalist economy. ... read more »

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Casino Jack and the United States of Money

Even with all of the enthusiasm displayed during the 2008 presidential election, in which record numbers of voters turned out to cast a ballot, there remains a fundamental sense of cynicism about the ability to influence the political process.  Lobbyists on K Street seem to have far more power than individuals on Main Street, a feeling that was only reinforced when the Supreme Court recently ruled that the government may not restrict corporate spending in candidate elections. ... read more »

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War Don Don [Full Frame 2010]

in focusing on the war crimes trial of Issa Sesay, one of the leaders of the Sierra Leone rebel forces, Rebecca Richman Cohen’s War Don Don asks a difficult and thought-provoking question: what role do war crimes trials serve? Do they offer the “justice” that citizens and survivors of the war want? Do they provide us with unambiguous answers about culpability or agency?  What happens when the enormous expense of the trials is measured against a country’s extreme poverty and need to rebuild after a brutal civil war. ... read more »

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12th and Delaware [Full Frame 2010]

One of the more compelling documentaries examining the Bush-era evangelical culture was Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady’s Jesus Camp.  The film obviously touched a nerve for me.  I wrote about it several times, and updated my main review multiple times, reflecting my own ambivalence about how the movie represented the politics of Christian fundamentalism. ... read more »

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The Mirror [Full Frame 2010]

David Christensen’s The Mirror has a quiet charm, offering what The Columbia Missourian describes as a “modern fairy tale” about a small Italian village, Viganella, nestled deeply in the Alps.  In fact, the village is so deeply nestled, a nearby mountain blocks the sun for 83 days every winter.  Most of the people in the village seem to welcome this seclusion and the simplicity that life in this remote community provides. ... read more »

Chuck Tryon's picture

Videocracy [Full Frame 2010]

Note: This is the first in a series of reviews of films that played at this year’s Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham. ... read more »

Chuck Tryon's picture

Wednesday Links

Just a few quick links while I procrastinate on grading some papers: ... read more »