Chile / 2010 / Spanish & English

Directed by Patricio Guzmán

Still from 'Nostalgia for the Light'In the 1970s Patricio Guzmán established himself as a master of nonfiction with the three films that comprise The Battle of Chile (1975), which is a chronicle of the coup d’etat that sent him into exile, and a playing out of a very real, painfully immediate life-and-death struggle in which he and the other filmmakers involved its production found themselves engaged. To this day it is collective and personal memory, and how that translates into shared history, that are his primary preoccupations, as well as ways to visualize those. He adds astronomy – not actually a new facet, as he has made several short documentaries on the subject – which he includes as being intimately related with the other three themes. While Nostalgia for the Light cannot exactly be called an educational film, it is a film that has a lot to teach about the frontiers of discovery and exploration. Read the rest of this entry »




Austria / 2001 / Faliasch, Tamashek, Sardinian, Saami, Ojihimba, Muoso, Ladakhi, Kunwinjku, Korowai, Khanty, Greenlandic, German & English

Directed by Nikolaus Geyrhalter

Still from 'Elsewhere'At first the concept seems born of filmmaker’s bravado, or a certain high-handedness in choosing subjects to document: in the year 2000, Nikolaus Geyrhalter traveled to twelve different parts of the globe (one for each month of the year) to create naturalistic portraits of traditional lifestyles at varying proximity to extinction. The subjects do all the talking, through their actions and through candid soliloquies to the camera. One could think of the people’s speech, on things like family, social mores, routines, and their relationships to the outside world, as a continuous monologue on disenfranchisement. By combinations of geography, politics, and language, they are separated from the rest of the world, but there is no pure isolation; it’s always diluted, to varying degrees, and the strength and character of their respective cultures indicates a connection to a human network that has changed and migrated continuously, like a cloud of global marbles. Read the rest of this entry »

Still from 'Correspondence'

Two from Fenz’s Lens

Filmmaker Robert Fenz is in the strange situation of being a visual artist with a musician’s way of dealing with the world. His films show an engagement with the people and places he documents that consists of reaction and riffing, using an internal melody continuously transposed, an abstract call-and-response with his surroundings. He has worked with both free jazz trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith and Belgian director Chantal Akerman, and seems to be a hitherto unimaginable synthesis of the two, a bridge between observational documentary and musical improvisation, as well as visual ethnography, exemplified in Correspondence (2011), an homage to Robert Gardner. Read the rest of this entry »