The youngest of the three Oscar shorts categories, documentary shorts are both the vigorous upstarts and the weary middle-agers, questioning themselves and their creative vision in a productive midlife crisis.
Where the Library Gets Its Books
Up on a hill in a guarded compound, not far from where Harvard University keeps its primate labs, a 127,000-square-foot structure holds the heart of the institution’s library.
Lights, Camera, Cut: The Problems of Matisse on Screen
Matisse: From Tate Modern and MoMA aims to capture onscreen the blockbuster exhibition Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs, currently at the Museum of Modern Art and previously at Tate Modern.
Two Films Capture the Genius of Gaudí
Can a film program be too Gaudí? Graced with Stefan Haupt’s efficient, if a little odd, documentary on the architect’s famously unfinished church, Sagrada Família, the Film Society of Lincoln Center (and at least one other theater) saw a match made in Barcelona and paired it with Hiroshi Teshigahara’s Antonio Gaudí (1984), the rare architecture documentary that has achieved “cult” status.
Making It, and Not, in Montreal’s Street Art Scene
Few North American cities wear their street art so prominently on their sleeve as Montreal. This exceptionally vibrant community is the focus of the documentary Bienvenue / Welcome, for which director Maxime Charron is in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign.
When a Political Movement Becomes a Monument
Around the world, the aesthetic of revolt flows unabridged, immediate, and jittery, the revolution in any room. Which makes Maidan, Sergei Loznitsa’s unblinking and stirring documentary of last year’s Ukrainian protests that ended in the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych seem like even more of a formal, rigorous outlier.
A Documentary Traces the History of Video Game Graphics
“Game visuals are the most obvious indicator of their technology,” Stuart Brown says in his Pixel Pioneers short documentary series on the graphic history of video games. Last month he released the last of the five-part series on YouTube, concluding with contemporary hyperrealistic graphics that feel light years away from the monochromatic pixels of Pong in 1972.
A Museum Where the Paintings Look Back
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.
An Intimate Portrait of Edward Snowden
Citizenfour, Laura Poitras’s documentary about Edward Snowden, premiered to a sold-out audience at the New York Film Festival on October 10.
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.
A New Documentary for the Forger Who Infiltrated America’s Art Museums
For three decades, Mark Landis quietly infiltrated art museums across the United States with donated forgeries, works he carefully copied himself from the whole of art history.
The Last Victorian Microscope Artist
The art of diatom designs didn’t really make it into the 21st century.