WORMWOOD

2017; directed by Errol Morris; written by Kieran Fitzgerald and Steven Hathaway & Molly Rokosz; 260 mins, 6 episodes

From the start, you know this is gonna be edging towards an accusation of murder but the beauty of Errol Morris being given a more epic scope to weave together this tale is that he can lead you down several stray threads before coming to the final solution. Ultimately, it seems to be in the service of crafting a credible case before going big. At the heart of his investigation is another autopsy on the nature of truth but Morris uses it as a bed from which to grow out his subject’s conspiracy theory so that it can become conspiracy fact. Continue reading

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THE B-SIDE: ELSA DORFMAN’S PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY

2016; directed by Errol Morris; 76 mins

The latest documentary from a master of the form and one of my ten favourite directors, who I have been meaning to talk about here on the blog and as yet have singularly failed to do so. Errol Morris‘ portrait of a portrait photographer and her life in pictures. A slightly different, gentler film in comparison to his usual, more hyperreal, straight-to-the-heart-of-it movies but which absolutely falls within the remit of his core concerns about the search for and the nature of truth. Continue reading

INTO THE INFERNO

2016; written, narrated and directed by Werner Herzog; 104 mins

Almost a response to Herzog’s other recent documentary, Lo & Behold, a film which, while cautionary, was about the wonder of human connection, ability and imagination. This one ultimately cleaves very much closer to his maxim from 2005’s Grizzly Man; “I believe that the common denominator in the universe is not harmony but chaos, hostility and murder”. Into the Inferno reminds you that under our feet is a mighty ocean, about 1000℃, of Dante-like proportions that cares not for “retarded reptiles and vapid humans”.

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NZIFF ’17/06: RUMBLE: THE INDIANS WHO ROCKED THE WORLD

2017; directed by Catherine Bainbridge; co-directed by Alfonso Maiorana; 99 mins

The rock doc: One of the 20th century’s greatest inventions! More than any musical or even gig do I love Glastonbury, Woodstock, Punk: Attitude, The Future is Unwritten, Gimme Shelter and so many others. A great rock doc can take music you don’t even like and have you wanting more and realising the artistic integrity of musos who you previously thought were crap. Not only that, it can open you up to a whole vast tract of music that you were completely unaware of and this one kinda does a little bit of both: Continue reading

NZIFF ’17/02: I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO

2016; directed by Raoul Peck; written by James Baldwin; 93 mins

The very act of my writing this review is a betrayal of everything this documentary has sent me away with. The world does not need another white voice yet here I am, filling up 750 words of space that should rather be given to someone from a culture that has none. Make no mistake: if you are a white person going to see this documentary, this has a lot to say to you. Continue reading