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Something to Do with the Wall (1991)

In 1986, Ross McElwee and Marilyn Levine were making a film about the 25th anniversary of the Berlin Wall, when the imposing structure was still very much intact as the world's most visible symbol of hardline Communism.
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Marilyn Levine ...
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Ross McElwee ...
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In 1986, Ross McElwee and Marilyn Levine were making a film about the 25th anniversary of the Berlin Wall, when the imposing structure was still very much intact as the world's most visible symbol of hardline Communism.

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berlin wall | f rated | See All (2) »

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3 April 1991 (USA)  »

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nice pre- and post- Berlin Wall documentary
17 August 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I caught this on Cinemax in the mid-1990's. The cable channel was celebrating documentaries by showing several throughout a single month. When the promo mentioned Ross' name, I knew I had to tape this one. I loved "Sherman's March" when I first saw it on PBS back in the 80's and I never realized that he made more films (this was in the days prior to IMDB). "Something to Do with the Wall" was shown only twice that month. I must preface my comments by mentioning that it has been almost ten years since I last watched this film.

It's a unique documentary considering the fact that Ross was making the documentary about the Berlin Wall just before history was about to change. He was able to go back and re-interview the main subjects of his original project. Residents that remember the days without the wall tell their stories to Ross. Rarely does a historian get a chance to document his subjects while the history books are being written.

I like Ross' style of documentary filmmaking. Through a heavy dose of narration and insightful comments, the viewer is drawn into the subject. He makes you want to understand why he thinks this subject is important. Michael Moore uses a similar tone in his films, but Ross is always sympathetic and tells you that these are his thoughts and feelings, not the truth. The truth is for you, the viewer, to decide.


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