3 items from 2015
35 Cows and a Kalishnokov
What is the bond between a tribe of Ethiopian cattle farmers, dandy gentlemen parading themselves on Brazzaville streets, and the Kinshasan fetish wrestlers who appear in 35 Cows and a Kalishnokov in the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam’s (Idfa) competition this year? To propose a documentary about such a bond, an act of synthesis would be necessary, one which first deconstructs the rites and peoples exhibited, creating a web of meaning that would link the rituals.
Or, as in 35 Cows and a Kalishnokov, one could make a purely aesthetic film whose theoretical basis is but a shared continent, exotic landscapes and black skin. What director Oswold von Richthofen’s documentary offers up to its (inevitably) Western viewers is an image of Africa that is all color and form—rippling musculature, exotic hues, pierced faces, wild cries—regurgitating as always the same Western myth of Africa, a »
- Yaron Dahan
Though the lid was blown off the Church of Scientology long ago, Alex Gibney’s powder-keg documentary, “Going Clear,” should certainly rattle the walls, if not shake them to their very foundations. Gibney had an excellent blueprint to work from in Lawrence Wright’s exhaustively researched 2013 nonfiction bestseller (from which the film takes its title), but he’s also added much fascinating material here, including new interviews and proprietary Scientology video footage that has to be seen to be disbelieved. A hot ticket at Sundance, “Going Clear” should have no trouble maintaining its must-see buzz through its HBO premiere in March and beyond.
The prolific Gibney (“Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room,” “Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God”) excels at untangling complex systems and institutions, and at showing us the human faces behind scandal-making headlines. Unsurprisingly, “Going Clear” is weighted toward candid, impassioned interviews with ex-Scientologists »
- Scott Foundas
By Alex Simon
1. Terrific film, period.
2. Eastwood, like all great filmmakers, takes no specific side in the telling of his story. He simply presents it, and then lets the audience draw their own conclusion.
3. It’s a litmus test movie. This means, if you’re basically an anti-war, peace-loving dove type (my camp), you’ll see it as anti-war. If you’re a bumper sticker thinking simpleton on either extreme of the sociopolitical fence, you’ll view it as “a jingoistic, pro-war, anti-Iraqi, neo-Fascist propaganda film that Leni Riefenstahl would have been proud to call her own,” or…”Yee-ha! Just like playin’ fuckin’ Call Of Duty: Mission Iraq, bubba! Let’s get our .306s together and go kill some ragheads for reals! Oh yeah, and that Lanny Reefenbacher chick woulda had a kitten over this shit. It’s awesome!”
4. Bradley Cooper gives the performance of his career, truly inhabiting the »
- The Hollywood Interview.com
3 items from 2015
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