I’ve now been writing reviews about a selection of the movies I watch for six years. And during those six years there have been moments where I wasn’t as motivated to do it anymore. I’ve been experiencing that feeling during the last couple of weeks as well. It doesn’t mean I have written less, but you sense that thing that drives you isn’t as strong as it was. During those moments I always wonder why I am still doing it and what I want to accomplish with it. Reviews about big movies can be found everywhere, so why write about them? Should I continue doing this?
Luckily I came across a couple of documentaries I hadn’t read much about, including Sample This. It made me realise that it are these type of films which I should write about regularly, because they don’t get enough attention while at the same time they are about subjects I really enjoy. Based on the title you might this documentary is the same as Copyright Criminals or Everything is a Remix and is all about using existing music to make something new. Indirectly it is about that, but this film focusses on just one song which has played an important role to the rise of hip hop: Apache by The Incredible Bongo Band. Continue reading
Samantha Montgomery, who is known to the world as Princess Shaw, is a woman living in New Orleans and who has been singing for years. She’s been trying to make it for a long time, going to talent shows, makes YouTube videos and dreams about performing for a huge audience and being famous. The reality is different though. She works in an elderly home, during the shows she does the number of people listening can almost fit in a car and personally she isn’t doing well either. She sometimes doesn’t make enough money in order to pay electricity, the wheels of her car are stolen and her 8-year relationship with her girlfriend ends. And still, despite all of that she keeps making music. Documentary maker Ido Haar follows her and has told her that he wants to film her because he wants to make a special about YouTubers. The real reason is different though. Continue reading
Linor Abargil was one of the many young women who entered the Miss World championship in 1998. It went well for her and she managed to win the title. But despite winning it, she wasn’t able to really enjoy it. She was keeping a secret with which she really struggled and she was afraid to talk about. Seven weeks before the Miss World competition she was taken to a deserted place, threatened with a knife and raped. With all the attention the Miss World title brought though she decided to be strong and not only tell her story and try to get the man responsible convicted, but also act as an example and inspiration for other women. Her goal was to give others the courage to speak out and talk about their own experiences. She opened a website and decided to make this documentary. The end result is a film which shows how often rape occurs and what it does to the victims. Continue reading
True crime documentaries have had more attention lately thanks to shows like Making a Murderer. People are fascinated by cases like this, because you wonder what could cause these people to act like they did (or in the case of people who are innocent, how the judicial system has treated them). My Friend Rockefeller revolves about Christian Gerhartsreiter. A German man who had a dream to be successfull it in America. He managed to do so and was very popular, but he did so pretending to be people he wasn’t, including being a Rockefeller. It turns out he also is a killer. Continue reading
When filming a subject you are not only capturing it, but also depending the moment it is viewed can give also create a specific feeling. If you now watch something like Taxi Driver you are not only watching the story about Travis Bickle, but you also get an idea what New York in the seventies was like. If you travel even further back in time, to the first filmmakers, the brothers Lumière, than their first films also create a specific feeling. After they bought the patents to the “Cinématographe” from inventor Léon Bouly, as he didn’t have the financial means to realise his invention, the made the first movie camera. On the 19th of march 1895 they made their first film, in which they simply documented factory workers leaving their work. A lot of those first movies only show daily life. The arrival of a train at the station probably is their most famous one. The images you see are rough and jerky, but it was a very important first step to get to the moment we are now when it comes to film.
But what would happen if you took that very first movie camera and would allow directors from now to make something with it? What would they do? And what kind of feeling would the viewer have? That’s the idea behind this documentary. The rules these directors have are simple: Their movie can’t be longer than 52 seconds, no synchronised sound is to be used and they can have no more than three takes. Continue reading
Although our bodies eventually will give up on us, we are only truly gone from this earth if no one remembers us anymore. The number of soldiers who died during the second world war is huge. You only have to look at all the crosses on the American military cemetery Margraten in the Netherlands to get an idea as 8301 men and women have been buried there. Although the crosses do have names on them, most of these people have been forgotten, simply because they don’t have any family left. This also was the case for Private First Class James E. Wickline.
That all changed because of Maarten Vossen, who, after seeing Saving Private Ryan, became interested in the second world war and decided to adopt a grave. At age 13 he was assigned Wickline’s. It would be the start of a long search of the story behind the name and the grave. In Ageless Friends he is followed during his final steps in this journey. Continue reading
How well do you know yourself? Of course you know what you’re good and bad at and which characteristics you’d rather hide from others, but would you be willing to really look deep into yourself? And if you would dare to do so, would you be willing to do something about it and talk about the less positive sides of yourself? Would you dare to be vulnerable? Tony Robbins has managed to make a name for himself by writing self-help books and tours the world giving presentations. He looks like a professional wrestler, with big hands and a huge jaw. He constantly curses to shock the visitors to his events and wake them up. He’s so popular though that people are willing to pay $5000 to be present during his “Date with Destiny” seminars. In this documentary he is followed during the six-day seminar and as a viewer you get a look into his idea of working. Continue reading