In September, 1959, six Europeans leave Cook's Bay on the southern coast of Dutch New Guinea, now West Papua or Irian Jaya, to trek north to the far side of the island. The journey (450 ...
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French colonists in Africa, several months behind in the news, find themselves at war with their German neighbors. Deciding that they must do their proper duty and fight the Germans, they ... See full summary »
In the late 1930s, in Ferrara, Italy, the Finzi-Contini are one of the leading families, wealthy, aristocratic, urbane; they are also Jewish. Their adult children, Micol and Alberto, gather... See full summary »
Vittorio De Sica
Two masters of chess duel each other not only in their game but also in their different ideologies. The veteran Akiva is a Soviet Jew and ferocious Communist, master of his game but also ... See full summary »
The life and works of the great artist Michelangelo Buonarroti are shown against the historical background of his time. It begins with his earliest artworks, and follows his life and career... See full summary »
A women lives a miserable life in the basement of her Milan apartment, with her boring inlaws and three children (boys). Her husband has been injured. Her bleak life takes an unexpected ... See full summary »
Vittorio De Sica
An Oscar winning look at the life of Albert Rubinstein shortly after he turned 70. It contains some home movies of him and his family, but is primarily him talking and demonstrating his great skill as a pianist.
In September, 1959, six Europeans leave Cook's Bay on the southern coast of Dutch New Guinea, now West Papua or Irian Jaya, to trek north to the far side of the island. The journey (450 miles, as a crow flies) across unmapped territory took seven months; three Muyu porters died. Near both coasts, the expedition met villagers who invited them to observe rituals and live with them. In the interior, all villagers kept them at bay, and they depended on air lifts from Hollandia for food and supplies. They climbed above 10,000 feet, built 14 bridges, and fought leeches and malaria. The narrator focuses on describing Stone Age savages, headhunters, and cannibals. Written by
Embarrassing 'us' the civilized and 'them' the savages story.
'Sky Above, Mud Below' by today's standards would not qualify as a documentary despite its Academy Award for best documentary feature in 1961. The film is painfully patronizing, while simultaneously insulting and embarrassing. The narration is a constant irritant in both it's tone and content. At one point the narrator even whispers as if standing just out of sight of the camera with a microphone in hand, ala Howard Cosell. Much of the film is quite obviously staged and many things are mentioned to be going on while never shown. The only use for this documentary now after nearly 40 years is to be the next victim of Mystery Science Theater 3000.
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