Tag Archives: documentary

Saturday, 10th Mar 2012

Plastic Beachcombing

Richard and Judith Lang have been combing their local beach for plastic for years and make beautiful works of art with it. Much linkage on Laughing Squid.

I found a couple of lovely documentaries which show them to be lovely people and not at all preachy and condemning. The evil, says Richard, is single use plastic, not plastic in and of itself.

Needless to say this work hits a number of my buttons. I particularly like how they concentrate on the same beach, returning to it again and again and never straying. It’s a piece about a specific place and how that place relates to the whole world through the detritus of civilisation. It’s fantastic.

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Saturday, 11th Feb 2012

Tearoom – Ohio police film of cruising in 1962

In 2007, filmmaker William E. Jones came across an hour of surveillance footage of men cruising for gay sex in a public toilet in Mansfield, Ohio in 1962. The footage, taken through a mirror, had led to 30 prosecutions for sodomy, then a crime. Jones now shows the footage, unedited and without sound, at film festivals under the title Tearoom.

It’s both fascinating and sobering to see evidence that within such recent history people could not only be imprisoned for consensual fucking but that they would be caught in such an elaborate way. It also explains a lot about why, despite huge leaps in civil liberties, massive amounts of bigotry and discrimination still exist in our so-called enlightened societies, and serves as a warning that we could so easily slip back there.

There’s a great MetaFilter thread on this with some good debate on the rights and wrongs on cruising. This comment, starting “In 1960 my great uncle Henry got nabbed in a Baltimore restroom in flagrante delicto” is particularly touching. William Jones talks about his motivation for showing it here and you can download the whole 421 MB film from this link.

via Matt Haughey

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Sunday, 4th Dec 2011

Sunn O))) documentary

This is a lovely short documentary on drone metal artists Sunn O))) who I’ve experienced live a few times now. On the surface their work is extremely silly with the cloaks and the volume but I’ve always enjoyed the hidden depths, the ideas underpinning the project. A joy.

via John Coulthart

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Wednesday, 23rd Nov 2011

The Umbrella Man

Fantastic six minute mini-doc by Error Morris on the NYT site about the mysterious man seen holding an umbrella on the lovely sunny day as JFK’s motorcade passed him. Seconds later JFK was dead. Who was that man?

“Can anyone come up with a non-sinister explanation for this?”

This will appeal to readers of Alan Moore’s From Hell.

via Kottke

(If you’re running Ghostery to blog web-bugs you may have to disable it as the NYT uses Brightcove for videos.)

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Wednesday, 7th Sep 2011

Jon Ronson’s Escape and Control

This new documentary series by Jon Ronson looks interesting for at least two reasons.

Firstly, he’s taking a much more nuanced look at “The Internet” than we’ve seen from documentarians so far. He seems to be going beyond the standard “OMG New Things are Awesome/Awful! (delete as applicable)” and looking instead at the human behaviour that informs how culture on the Internet is mediated. (I also like that he calls it The Internet and not some neologism like Social Media…)

Secondly, he’s taking a blogging approach to the series, aiming in a particular direction but with no idea where it’ll take him. Usually a book or film is aware of its ending when it begins, so everything is a set-up for that final pay-off. This is a journey into the unknown with no set ending, just like a blog.

With my ASH-10 hat on the whole exercise is endlessly fascinating, but it should also be entertaining as Ronson is good at this sort of thing.

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Sunday, 14th Aug 2011

1973 Hells Angels UK documentary

Adam Curtis posts a great little film made by the BBC in 1973, following a UK chapter of the Hells Angels motorcycle club.

They’re obviously not very nice people (especially as they tend to go on about Nazis). And the film has a disapproving commentary that talks about their “psychotic tendencies” and their “empty daily existence”. But as you watch the film you begin to realise that the director (or possibly the editor) was making a completely different film. It uses the Hells Angels as a comic and exaggerated parody of the emptiness of the daily life for everyone in Britain.

I’m tempted to draw parallels with the rioting youth of last week, although that might be too simplistic. The drudgery and no-future of non-working class men and their romanticism of Californian outlaw biker lifestyles is potent though.

via Mindless Ones

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