Tag Archives: 1975

Top 100 Films #21 – Dersu Uzala (1975)

 

image-w1280-2#21. Dersu Uzala (1975)
Directed by: Akira Kurosawa
Written by: Vladimir Arsenyev, Akira Kurosawa, Yuri Nagibin (based on Dersu Uzala novels by Vladimir Arsenyev)
Starring: Maxim Munzuk, Yury Solomin

Akira Kurosawa’s first and only film made entirely outside of Japan is a stunning and meditative work the likes of which I’ve never seen before.  Dersu Uzala is the Academy Award-winning film about Captain Arseniev (Yury Solomin) and his transformative experience with a local aboriginal tribesman named Dersu Uzala (Maxim Munzuk), who guides Arseniev and his troop through the harsh Russian frontier.  Uzala wins the hearts and minds of Arseniev and his men through his continuous displays of toughness, instinct, and intelligence, which saves the men’s lives on multiple occasions.  Arseniev and Uzala form a strong, lasting bond after the Captain’s life is saved by the mysterious aboriginal man during a sudden blizzard.  When we flash forward several years, Arseniev is once again traversing the Russian forests and mountain ranges where he encountered Uzala in years previous, and hopes to once again run into his old friend.  Dersu Uzala is a deeply moving and beautiful film based on the true story of the titular Nanai trapper.  While it’s certainly not like many of Akira Kurosawa’s previous films, the masterful director is able to put his own spin on the classic man vs. wilderness tale, telling an endearing story of camaraderie in the process.  The cinematography featured in Dersu Uzala is breathtaking, featuring beautiful visuals of mountain ranges, snow-covered forests, and quaint villages. While the story of Dersu Uzala is an epic one, the visuals and direction by Akira Kurosawa make the film feel like a smaller, more intimate character study that happens to feature an adventure of epic proportions.  The story of Uzala and Captain Arseniev is the highlight of the film – watching their chemistry blossom over the 144 minute runtime feels truly special and memorable.  Maxim Munzuk’s portrayal of the wise, but rather odd, Uzala is the highlight of the film, and his chemistry with Yury Solomin’s more restrained Captain makes for an interesting and endearing dynamic. Kurosawa’s exploration of themes of lifestyles of old and the effect that man has had on nature of all sorts of deeply moving and still manages to feel relevant – these are themes we have been struggling with as a society for decades now.  Akira Kurosawa’s Dersu Uzala is a beautiful and heartwarming story from start to finish.  It may not match the epic scale of films like Kagemusha, Ran, or Seven Samurai, but it eclipses those movies in sheet heart and soul.  Dersu Uzala is Kurosawa’s unsung masterpiece, and should be seen by anybody interested in international cinema.  

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Top 100 Films #62 – Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

 

dog_day_afternoon_5#62. Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
Directed by: Sidney Lumet
Written by: Frank Pierson (based on The Boys in the Bank by P.F. Kluge, Thomas Moore)
Starring: Al Pacino, John Cazale, James Broderick, Charles Durning, Chris Sarandon

Dog Day Afternoon is Sidney Lumet’s intense standoff film loosely based on the true story of two bank robbers in early 1970’s Brooklyn.  Al Pacino and John Cazale star as Sonny and Sal, two men who walk into the First Brooklyn Savings Bank and hold it up for all the money in the vault.  Unfortunately for Sonny and Sal, they’ve arrived after the daily cash pickup and turn up nearly empty-handed. On top of this, their already lousy luck is about to run up – neighbouring businesses have reported suspicious activities to the police, who are on their way to the scene of the ongoing holdup. Before they know it, the bank is surrounded by police officers and their plan has been foiled.  Dog Day Afternoon is an essential New York movie, painting the city in a hot, muggy light that I’ve seen matched by few films.  Lumet and writing Frank Pierson create two erratic, flamboyant characters in Sonny and Sal, but one could argue that the film’s most compelling character is New York City itself – the passersby on the street wondering what’s going on inside, the police officers surrounding the building, those being held hostage in the bank – everything about it feels right.  Lumet and Pierson inject the film with intensity and just the right amount of dark humour – their situation is bizarre and unfortunate, but it always feels like there might be a way out for Sonny and Sal.  Dog Day Afternoon perfectly captures the newfound cynicism of the early 1970’s, leaving the romanticism of the 60’s far behind. Gone are the idealized and unrealistic characters, replaced by far more believable, flawed, and reflective modern characters.  Al Pacino’s Sonny is a great example of this dramatic shift in Hollywood and the rest of America – his character becomes something of an antihero in the eyes of the pedestrians surrounding the bank, his struggle and frustrations represent many of their own. Pacino is terrific in the film, leading John Cazale’s reluctant Sal through the ordeal, holding negotiations with officers, interacting with hostages – he commands the scene through every minute of the movie.  The always wonderful John Cazale is another highlight of the film, serving as Sonny’s more impulsive, easily panicked partner in crime.  It’s a shame that Cazale wasn’t long for the world, because he was and incredibly versatile and assured actor.  Dog Day Afternoon is essential watching for fans of crime movies – especially involving hostage negotiations or siege-like conditions.  It’s tense, it’s bizarre, it’s well-acted, and its atmosphere just can’t be beat by modern films.  

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Women in Film Feature #6 – Jeanne Dielman (1975)

JeanneDielmanJeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975)
Directed by: Chantal Akerman
Written by: Chantal Akerman
Starring: Delphine Seyrig, Jan Decorte, Jacques Doniol-Valcroze, Henri Storck, Yves Biscal

On October 5, 2015, the world lost one of its all-time greatest arthouse directors; one who changed the landscape of filmmaking for women worldwide.  Her name was Chantal Akerman, and her suicide marked the end of an era for international and arthouse cinema.  Her prolific body of work is full of brilliantly inventive films that most people have never seen or heard of, or just haven’t been released to the public in any form.  Chantal Akerman is famous for her documentation of the mundane, for her painfully long takes, and the detached yet incredibly personal nature of most of her films.  Often blurring the lines between documentary and fiction, Akerman had an incredible eye for realism and for the beauty in the little things; something that many established directors seem to forget about as their films becoming bigger and louder.  As modern female directors take on ambitious and award-winning films, they can all thank Chantal Akerman and her incredible body of work for paving the way in the industry.  Her contributions and influence on the medium are innumerable, and much of her work is ripe for rediscovery by a whole new generation.

Chantal Akerman’s most famous film came incredibly early on in her career, after just a handful of shorts, and a feature length film that went unfinished by the director.  1975’s Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles was Akerman’s first shot at working with a “big” budget, working with just $120,000 in grants at her disposal.  Director Chantal Akerman opted to shoot the film with a cast and crew composed of mostly women, a feat that hadn’t been attempted at the time. While she struggled with finding working women for certain technical positions, she ultimately prevailed and proved leagues of naysayers wrong.  The incredibly ambitious project ran for 201 minutes (or a little over 3 ½ hours) when finished, making its mundane and repetitive premise even more effective. The film opened at the Directors Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival in 1975, and was met with mixed reactions by the unsuspecting crowd.  Luckily for Akerman, the film quickly became a tremendous financial and critical success, and at just 25 years old she was instantly recognized as one of the most progressive and unique filmmakers of the time. Jeanne Dielman was praised by critics for its ability to hold the attention of audiences, despite the film’s incredibly long run-time and the film’s slow and repetitive nature, as well as for the minimalistic, calm and reserved lead performance by Delphine Seyrig.  Jeanne Dielman was incredibly successful among feminist critics of the time, who recognized the picture for its use of an all-female crew, and for being so open and honest about the subservience of the housewife. Though the film wasn’t released in the United States until the early 1980’s, its influence has been felt by some of the country’s most ambitious filmmakers, most notably Palme d’Or winning director Gus Van Sant.

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Delphine Seyrig as the titular Jeanne Dielman in Chantal Akerman’s groundbreaking 1975 film.

The story told in Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles seems simple at first glance, but there’s much more to it than meets the eye.  We follow the titular Jeanne Dielman (Delphine Seyrig) in real time through three seemingly normal days.  On the first day, Jeanne cooks, cleans, and interacts as much as she possibly can with her disconnected teenage son Sylvain (Jan Decorte).  Jeanne’s schedule is incredibly well-rehearsed, and seems almost ritualistic.  Not a single minute is wasted, and never once does she seem unfocused or unproductive. During the afternoons, she is visited by men who pay her for sex.  These visits help to pay Jeanne and Sylvain’s comfortable life, and seem nearly as ritualistic and rehearsed as her chores are.  The men stay for a short while, and when they’re finally gone Jeanne quickly returns to her routine of cleaning and preparing dinner for her son.  Jeanne’s meditative and ritualistic life begins to slowly unravel on the second day, after she wakes up unexpectedly early and is expected to fill an extra hour of her day.  Not knowing what to do with the time, Jeanne sits and broods, giving into the anxiety and darkness that she so desperately tries to escape with her methodical regimented schedule.  This extra hour unnerves Jeanne, and causes her to make small mistakes like drop a clean spoon and overcook the potatoes she has been preparing for dinner.  These imbalances in Jeanne’s perfectly planned life slowly begin to eat away at her, and eventually cause her to lash out in the film’s quietly explosive final moments.

Jeanne Dielman is a film that I’ve been dreading having to dive into for years now. I’ve always been curious and interested in the experimental aspects of it, but so turned on by its slow nature and ridiculously long running time.  Those reasons, and the fact that it paved the way for so many females in the film industry, are exactly why I chose to finally cover Jeanne Dielman.  Though it wasn’t quite love at first sight, I can say with every bit of certainty that the film is a masterwork in pacing, and in never quite letting the audience get ahead of the story being told. Chantal Akerman’s camera pauses for long stretches as Jeanne Dielman goes about her daily rituals and perfectly rehearsed habits, and it’s very haunting to watch unfold.  The subtle and deliberate pacing of the film never once lost my attention, and always had me trying to understand Jeanne Dielman as a character. She has completely given into the complacency of being a mother, and seemingly has no hobbies or interests outside of cooking, cleaning, and having loveless and passionless sex.  She doesn’t say a great deal, and yet somehow still manages to be completely enthralling because of Delphine Seyrig’s incredible performance. Seyrig’s titular Jeanne Dielman is perfect and believable in every single way.  The way Seyrig does small things like perfectly flattening the sheets on her son’s bed or clean out the bathtub, makes it seem as if the actions have been performed thousands of times before.  When something goes wrong in Jeanne’s routine, you can tell just by the look on Delphine Seyrig’s always emotionless face.  It’s not showy or large in any way, but I can safely say it’s one of the best and most dedicated performances I’ve ever seen from anybody on film.  If the lead performance wasn’t compelling, Chantal Akerman’s film simply wouldn’t work nearly as well as it does.  She absolutely made the right choice in casting a veteran actress like Seyrig, and perfectly compliments the incredible performance with the most meditative direction, writing, and pacing I’ve ever seen.  Though Jeanne Dielman is a long film, it never feels played out or tedious – aside from the banality that Akerman wants the audience to feel through the use of repetition.  When things start to get more interesting in the second day, the film starts to feel claustrophobic and ultimately feels soaked in dread.  This all comes to a perfect crescendo in the final moments of the film, and Akerman’s direction makes the moment we’ve been waiting more than three hours for feel like just another insipid moment in Jeanne’s life.  It’s beautiful.

still-of-delphine-seyrig-in-jeanne-dielman,-23-commerce-quay,-1080-brussels-(1975)-large-picture

Jeanne Dielman (Delphine Seyrig) and her son Sylvain (Jan Decorte) in Chantal Akerman’s Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles.

While I can safely say that few people reading this are going to enjoy any aspect of Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, the influence it has had on modern filmmaking is undeniable.  Chantal Akerman’s exercise in patience and deliberate pacing paved the way for countless generations of award-winning female filmmakers and other behind-the-line roles.  The lead performance by Delphine Seyrig is undeniably great in its focused and meditative nature, and make this a can’t miss experience.  It may be a while before I revisit Jeanne Dielman, but I can promise you that I’ll never forget my first experience with the film, and with the work of Chantal Akerman.  Though it isn’t for everybody out there, Jeanne Dielman comes highly recommended.  

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Black Directors Feature #4 – Xala (1975)

XalaDVDXala (1975)
Directed by: Ousmane Sembene
Written by: Ousmane Sembene
Starring: Thierno Leye, Seune Samb, Douta Seck, Younousse Seye, Fatim Diagne, Myriam Niang

There’s a reason why Senegal-born director Ousmane Sembene is often considered to be the father of all African cinema.  With a career spanning five decades, the great Senegalese director paved the way for entire generations of African filmmakers all over the continent.  His influence on the African film scene can be likened to that of John Ford and D.W. Griffith in America, Satyajit Ray in India, and F.W. Murnau and Fritz Lang in Germany.  With his breakout hit Black Girl (or La Noire de…) in 1966, Sembene captured the attention of an international audience, something that no African film before it had ever done.  Xala was his fifth major motion picture, coming hot off the heels of hits like Black Girl, Mandabi, and Emitai, his film was a stinging satire about the political and economic climate of his home country.  Filmed in French and Wolof, Xala was unlike any work Sembene had produced to that point.  It had a dry wit to it, and its themes were undeniably biting and had a profound affect on audiences.  The film was entered into an early incarnation of the Moscow International Film Festival, but sadly lost out to films by more established and widely recognized directors (Akira Kurosawa’s incredible Dersu Uzala, Andrzej Wajda’s Oscar-nominated The Promised Land, and Ettore Scola’s We All Loved Each Other So Much).  It would go on to receive a great deal of acclaim in America, receiving positive reviews from the great Roger Ebert and the prestigious New York Times.  After the success of his 1975 hit, Sembene would go on to direct five more films throughout the 1970’s, 80’s, 90’s, and the 2000’s. In 2004, his film Moolaade would become arguably his biggest success with a win at the Cannes film festival and critical acclaim across the world.  This film would prove to be his final film as Ousmane Sembene would pass away in 2007 at the age of 84.  Despite widespread acclaim, Xala and the other films of Ousmane Sembene have been all but forgotten by critics and audiences throughout North America, with the majority of his films being frustratingly difficult to obtain and even then only available in less than stellar quality.

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‘El Hadji’ Aboucader Beye in 1975’s Xala.

Xala takes place in modern day Senegal, and mostly follows a group of wealthy businessmen involved in the chamber of commerce.  Our lead character, “El Hadji” Aboucader Beye (Thierno Leye), is an aging businessman looking to show off his success in an extravagant way.  What better way to impress people than to take his third wife?  By marrying a young woman, Beye looks to show off his vast economic and social successes.  Unfortunately for Aboucader Beye, things aren’t so simple.  While attempting to consummate his new marriage, the aging businessman finds that something isn’t quite right, and that things aren’t working in the ways that they usually do.  Beye comes to find that he has been cursed with xala, which is a crippling case of temporary erectile dysfunction.  He proclaims that his manhood has been taken away from him, and suspects one of his jealous and spiteful older wives of putting the inconvenient curse on him.  El Hadji, as he is known to his colleagues, secretly seeks assistance from the powerful men he surrounds himself with.  He and his colleagues go to great lengths to end the man’s xala once and for all, but their attempts are mostly met with no results.  Frustrated and desperate, he consults a marabout in the city to heal him of his affliction so he can get back to his daily business duties, but soon finds everything about his comfortable life unexpectedly crumbling beneath him.  Beye’s life is changed forever after he exposed for his corruption within the chamber of commerce, and worst of all is still cursed with the dreaded xala.  Will El Hadji be able to turn things around in his once cushy life, or will the negative forces working against him prove too powerful?  Find out in Ousmane Sembene’s classic satirical drama Xala!

I was a little nervous going into Ousmane Sembene’s much heralded Xala, especially since my only previous experience with the director was his excellent final film, Moolaade.  Xala is a much more subtle and politically-motivated film than his final effort was, and I was sure that I was going to struggle to find any enjoyment in the film’s nuanced nature.  I’m happy to report that this absolutely wasn’t the case, and I was able to enjoy much of Xala even without much of an idea of Senegal’s (and Africa as a whole) political and economic climate of the time.  While there’s no doubting the very obvious subtext being told throughout the film, the story itself does stand on its own well enough to be enjoyed by any viewer who is up to the challenge.  The entire idea of a wealthy businessman who seemingly has everything deciding to take a third wife in the form of a beautiful young woman is humorous, and becomes absolutely hilarious when the erectile dysfunction problem comes into play.  Everything he knows is flipped on its head and for the first time in his rather privileged life, Aboucader Beye has been stripped of what makes him feel most powerful, and instead shamed into near submission.  His first and second wives and his daughter being completely opposed to the idea of the third wife adds to Beye’s problems, and ensures that no matter what he tries he isn’t able to get ahead in any sense.  Xala’s main character isn’t likeable even for a second, and it really helps nail home the central ideas of the film, which is the complete and utter incompetence and ineffectiveness of many African governments of the time.  El Hadji benefits greatly from being a corrupt business, taking from those around him and trying to show it off to others in the form of a younger woman, far out of his league.  The satire used throughout is absolutely biting, and does an excellent job at letting the audience know exactly how Ousmane Sembene feels about the people running his country and continent.  The ending of the film is where the film absolutely shines, at once being both hilarious and scathing.  Though it may be a little tough to watch for some, it’s always satisfying to see the wrongdoers getting what they truly deserve, and that is especially true for Sembene’s masterpiece.

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Thierno Leye as Aboucader Beye in Ousmane Sembene’s terrific Xala.

It’s too bad that his films are so tough to track down in our day and age, especially with the advent of the internet.  I sincerely hope that a distributor like the Criterion Collection or Twilight Time will get ahold of his filmography and do it justice in the form of an incredible home video release.  Films like Xala are ripe for rediscovery, and deserve to truly be appreciated in their utmost glory.  Xala is funny and sincere in its over-the-top satirical nature, and even without knowledge of the country’s political climate you can feel the frustration in every moment on screen.  Xala is a film that deserves all the acclaim it’s received over the years, and I hope that my review causes even just one person to discover the films of Ousmane Sembene and others from Africa.  Xala is highly recommended to anybody who can appreciate international films, or enjoys biting and intellectual satire.  

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My 20 Favorite Documentaries of All-Time (#15-11)

Grey_Gardens_(1975_film)_poster15. Grey Gardens (1975)

Directed by: Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Muffie Meyer, Ellen Hovde

Starring: Edith ‘Little Edie’ Bouvier Beale, Edith Bouvier Beale, Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Brooks Hyers

The Maysles Brothers might be two of the most influential documentary filmmakers in the history of the medium, and 1975’s Grey Gardens might be one of their absolute best, most unique works.  The film takes a look at the incredibly odd and hopelessly grungy lives of Edith Bouvier Beale and her daughter Little Edie, the aunt and first cousin of former US First Lady Jackie Kennedy.  The very eccentric mother-daughter pair have resided at the titular Grey Gardens estate for decades, the massive home now dirty, cluttered, and dilapidated.  Their interactions with each other and with directors Albert and David Maysles are hilarious, unique, weird, and charming in ways I can’t possibly describe in a short blurb about why I adore the film.  The Maysles Brothers step back and allow Big Edie and Little Edie to tell their own story throughout the run-time of the documentary, painting a funny and disturbing portrait of this family.  The Beale’s many cats (and raccoon’s), their gardener Brooks and other friends of the family, and the Grey Gardens estate feature heavily throughout the film, making it an incredibly memorable experience, and one I can’t possibly recommend highly enough.  Grey Gardens is available on Blu-raythrough the Criterion Collection, and I recommend it to anybody interested in the genre.


14. Deep Water (2006)Deep_water_poster

Directed by: Louise Osmond, Jerry Rothwell

Starring: Donald Crowhurst, Clare Crowhurst, Tilda Swinton

During the painstaking process of composing this list, Deep Water is one of the films I immediately thought of, despite not knowing where or if the film would end up on my list when all was said and done.  The fact that the film, which I’ve only seen one time several years ago, made the list is a testament to just how powerful Jerry Rothwell and Louise Osmond’s 2006 documentary is, and the emotional effect it had on me as a viewer.  Deep Water tells the story of amateur sailor Donald Crowhurst and his experiences in the 1969 Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, which took a number of yachtsmen around the world for a trophy, a cash prize, and the obvious fame and notoriety that would come with it.  Not to spoil things for those who haven’t seen this thrilling doc, but things don’t exactly go entirely smoothly for the amateur seaman, and his trip around the world becomes much more about survival than it does about a measly cash prize.  Coupled with archival footage and photos of the time, we get a realistic account of Crowhurst’s time at sea through interviews with those close to him, as well as terrific narration by the incomparable Tilda Swinton.  Deep Water is a film that is criminally under-seen in the film community, and could really do with having a resurgence of sorts.  Deep Water is exciting, it’s depressing, and it’s incredibly interesting.  The film is currently available on US Netflix for those looking to see it based on my recommendation.


InsideJob2010Poster13. Inside Job (2010)

Directed by: Charles Ferguson

Starring: Matt Damon

Inside Job is the timely Oscar-winner that took the world by surprise in 2010 by being both incredibly relevant, entertaining as hell, and making more than three times its meager budget at the box office, a rare feat for a documentary.  This is especially shocking because it’s not a documentary about a famous person, an iconic or influential movement or artist, but rather about a devastating financial crisis that hit the United States just two years earlier.  Inside Job tells the story of how the financial crisis of the late-2000’s took place through five parts: “How We Got Here”, detailing the burst of the internet stock bubble in the early 2000’s, investment banks and other protected corporations and agencies that dealt in things such as unpayable subprime loans, “The Bubble”, which covers the housing boom of the 2000’s, “The Crisis”, about the market collapse of investment banks, the fall of corporations like Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers, and AIG, as well as the asset relief program put into effect by US President George W. Bush, “Accountability”, which targets the executives, directors, consulting firms, and others who played a part in the recession, and lastly “Where We Are Now”, about the mass layoffs of American factory workers, and the efforts by the Obama administration to combat the effects of recession.  Charles Ferguson’s pressing documentary is insightful, entertaining, and has a hell of a lot to say about those responsible for the market crash.  If you’re even the slightest bit interested in important contemporary events that have shaped the Western world, I implore you to check out Inside Job.


12. The Central Park Five (2012)The_Central_Park_Five_poster

Directed by: Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, David McMahon

Starring: Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, Kharey Wise

Ken Burns is perhaps one of the most famous names in documentaries because of his epic-length films covering major historical events, wars, and movements.  His filmography includes The Civil War, The Dust Bowl, The War, Prohibition, and Jazz.  Burns’ 2012 film The Central Park Five is a different monster, quite different from many of his epic historical documentaries.  The film covers the famous Central Park jogger case, which saw five young minorities falsely accused and imprisoned for the brutal rape of a female jogger late one Spring night.  The assault left the young woman in a coma for nearly two weeks, and resulted in one of America’s most famous cases of false imprisonment.  The case was immediately jumped on by news media of the time and involved a great deal of racist implications, finger-pointing, and false accusations being leveled at the five young men.  Ken Burns lays all the facts out on the table in the two-hour run-time of The Central Park Five, shocking the audience with accounts of how the defendants ended up in such a dire situation, including stories and evidence of intimidation, lying, and coercement by police officers.  Ken Burns’ daughter Sarah joined her father in writing and directing the film, and helped inspire the documentary with her thesis on the cases media coverage.  The Central Park Five will move you to tears, infuriate and frustrate you, and make you feel both hopeless and hopeful about the change in direction of news media and law enforcement as a whole.  The film is available on Netflix Instant for those interested.


Bowling_for_columbine11. Bowling for Columbine (2002)

Directed by: Michael Moore

Starring: Michael Moore

Not only did Michael Moore win an Academy Award for his social-political documentary Bowling for Columbine, but he also made himself an icon in the process; setting the bar for future generations of documentary filmmakers – especially those who wish to eclipse the popularity of their film with their own popularity.  Bowling for Columbine is Moore’s heartbreaking, entertaining, and thought and discussion-provoking 2002 documentary that took the world by storm.  It was one of the first major pieces of pop-culture to openly criticize the new Bush administration, and started a brand new conversation about gun control and America’s obsession with violence, both in the media, entertainment, and in their political affairs, that is still raging to this very day.  The film covers the tragedy that took place at Columbine High School in 2000 in-depth, interviewing some of the survivors of the shooting, features the now famous bank-opening scene, as well as multiple montages and humorous segments covering America’s foreign policy history – installing and overthrowing dictators for fifty years, violent moments in recent American history that the media heavily focused on, and a brief animated piece on the history of the United States and the creation of suburban communities and racism.  Though Bowling for Columbine never features a dull moment, the film isn’t all jokes and lightheartedness, it features incredibly eye-opening pieces on the National Rifle Association, the domestic creation of weapons of mass destruction, and the country’s constant obsession with fear-mongering.  In short, Bowling for Columbine is a documentary masterpiece in every way, bringing important, valid information to viewers while also being highly entertaining and digestible.  Seek it out immediately if you haven’t already seen it.


Part 1 (#20-#16) can be viewed here

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