Using careful re-enactments that feature the actual people involved as well as courtroom footage with some scripted speeches, the film examines the actions of Hossain Sobzian, a mild-mannered film buff who impersonates noted Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makmahlbaf. For about a week he ingratiates himself with a well-off family, saying he wants to make a film with them. His deception is revealed after a few days and he is put on trial for fraud, at which point director Abbas Kiarostami hears the story and decides to film the proceedings.
Rewind This! traces the history and reception of VHS tapes, interviewing collectors, retailers, and filmmakers for their personal insights and expertise. VHS launched an entertainment revolution by allowing consumers to watch films at home and record live tv, as well as offering new opportunities for studios and indie filmmakers who launched the direct-to-video market. It changed the movie industry, the porn industry, and the film retail industry, and united communities of movie buffs with video swap and bootleg programs.
Room 237 is a creatively assembled documentary that interviews several Kubrick conspiracy theorists with their take on The Shining, playing their voices over expertly assembled video footage from a range of films. Anything and everything is up for discussion and obsessive analysis, from the history of American conquest over Native American tribes to a veiled confession of faking the moon landing. Also: minotaurs.
Tracing the short-lived career of folk-rock singer Rodriguez and its strange aftermath, the film follows the impact of his music on the people of South Africa during Apartheid. Though virtually unknown in his United States home, there Rodriguez is more revered than Elvis Presley and his politically-charged songs are considered integral to the development of revolutionary opposition in the 70s and 80s. Long thought dead by a dramatic on-stage suicide, he is discovered alive and working in construction in Detroit decades after his only two records had been released, thanks to the efforts of diehard South African fans in the music business.
I feel a natural affinity with artist Wayne White, the subject of the excellent documentary Beauty is Embarrassing. A painter, sculptor, animator, puppeteer, and banjo player, White is known primarily for his work on Pee-Wee’s Playhouse. After years in television and music video, he unexpectedly found mid-life success as a fine artist in hip L.A. galleries with his funny and weird paintings. The film tracks the ups and downs of his career, while also looking into his rural Southern roots and family life.