Documentaries

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A Museum Where the Paintings Look Back

by Julia Friedman on November 5, 2014

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National Gallery, which premiered last month at the New York Film Festival, is the most recent of Frederick Wiseman’s 40-plus documentaries that feature single institutions.

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An Intimate Portrait of Edward Snowden

by Julia Friedman on October 21, 2014

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Citizenfour, Laura Poitras’s documentary about Edward Snowden, premiered to a sold-out audience at the New York Film Festival on October 10.

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Post image for Martin Scorsese Celebrates a New York Literary Institution

The 50 Year Argument, Martin Scorsese’s new documentary about The New York Review of Books, uses the same opening-sequence footage as another film about life in the Big Apple: West Side Story.

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Les Blank, still from 'Hot Pepper'

Following the short stack of “Yum, Yum, Yum! 3 Movies by Les Blank,” which played at its Cinema Fest this past June, BAMcinématek is now serving up a 17-movie Blank banquet.

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Post image for Woman of Mystery: Finding Vivian Maier

Today, the name “Vivian Maier” is far from unknown. People around the world have seen and read about Maier’s photographs, taken in New York, Chicago, and countless other places during the second half of the 20th century.

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All Style, No Substance: Williamsburg in 3D

by Ellen Pearlman on November 20, 2013

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Stereoscopic, or 3D, vision is a technique usually associated these days with blockbuster movies. But, using a simple stereo camera, Carlton Bright rollerbladed around Williamsburg from 2003 to 2013 documenting a series of “modules” or “vignettes” about the neighborhood he loves and calls home.

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Post image for How to Paint Like Vermeer, as Explained by a Techie

CINCINNATI — Tim Jenison is an imaging software engineer who talks like Oracle founder Larry Ellison but looks like artist Chuck Close. Jenison believes he has solved one of the greatest mysteries in art: how did 17th-century Dutch Master Johannes Vermeer paint so photo-realistically 150 years before the invention of photography?

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Post image for When a Documentary Film Unveils a Massacre

In 1965–66, Indonesia’s military set off a killing spree. A new documentary film, The Act of Killing, has begun to illuminate the events in an unprecedented way.

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Post image for Cell Phone Images of the War of Terror

The NSA surveillance scandal has, in a short term, made a lot of people feel depressed and/or worried about the state of governance in America. This is both good and bad for Jeremy Scahill’s new documentary, Dirty Wars, which is directed by Richard Rowley and is also the title of a simultaneously released book by Scahill. Good because it casts all of the revelations in the movie in a now easily believable light. Bad because most people don’t want to spend their Friday nights falling even deeper into depression, and that’s what the film will do. Currently playing in select theaters across the country, Dirty Wars will wring you of whatever wide-eyed, wholehearted faith you may have had left in President Obama.

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Post image for Building Parity: On Women Architects

LOS ANGELES – Too many documentaries on architecture feature the same faces, and they’re mostly male. Same goes for panel discussions, lectures, and exhibits. The new documentary Coast Modern does a better job, yet there’s still far to go.

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