By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Fifteen Nonfiction Films For 2016 (Plus 5 Blu-rays)

Fifteen slices of the truth in hard times, in alphabetical order. Will these filmmakers sustain careers, get finance for a succession of testaments, of feats of beauty like these?

KJ AIW2DARFUR0407.jpgCameraperson (Kirsten Johnson) Cameraperson illustrates that the creative process matters, but the greatest power lies in learning how to live. [More.]

brian de palmaDe Palma (Noah Baumbach, Jake Paltrow) “Being a director is being a watcher.” [More.]

Do Not Resist-swat entryDo Not Resist (Craig Atkinson)These are weapons of war, these are the streets of America. It’s infuriating, and on a big screen, nearly overwhelming. It’s terrifying; it’s terror, Atkinson demonstrates.  [More.] [Atkinson’s director’s statement.]

201614479_1_IMG_FIX_700x700Fire At Sea (Gianfranco Rosi) The images Rosi finds are bold, from the gentle to the dire, and at moments, hope is in limited supply, contrasting with the seawater that seems limitless. [More.]

HyperNormalisation (Adam Curtis) Curtis has theories, illustrated, conflated, constructed, instructed, asserted and neatly scored. This is his world. Ours? [The film is embedded above.]

i am not your negroI Am Not Your Negro (Raoul Peck) Of its moment but told in this moment, a present-tense captured in James Baldwin’s narration, from thirty pages of an incomplete manuscript, delivered by Samuel L. Jackson in one of his great performances. As Peck writes in his director’s statement, “Baldwin gave me a voice, gave me the words, gave me the rhetoric. All I knew through instinct or through experience, Baldwin gave it a name and a shape. I had all the intellectual weapons I needed. For sure, we will have strong winds against us. The present time of discord and confusion is an unavoidable element. I am not naive to think that the road ahead will be easy or that the attacks will not be at time vicious. My commitment to make sure that this film will not be buried or sidelined is uncompromising. We are in it for the long run. Whatever time and effort it takes.”

intotheinferno_01Into the Inferno (Werner Herzog) The year’s best Herzog-isms are the ones where he gleefully embraces streaming distribution; older models, he crows, cannot keep up with the prolific outpouring he is creating unto his seventy-fourth year.

Kate_plays_christine4Kate Plays Christine (Robert Greene) Kate Plays Christine is thought in action, ideas in motion and also the portrayal of a slippery, frightening slide down a rabbit hole of hurt for Sheil. The story is what is true and what is false, and it’s all true and it’s all false. Christine is haunted. Kate is haunted. Ghosts. Ghosts everywhere. [More.]

NoHomeMovie-2No Home Movie (Chantal Akerman) The film says more than this, I could say more than this, but there are so many daunting elements, down to the specificity and intimacy that Akerman ventures, through brusque low-res images, Skype, Blackberry, dares, attains. It could have been called “Goodbye to Mother,” “Goodbye to Life,” “Goodbye to Language.” Resistant, resigned. Asking, listening. Not punishing, but pained. Not deadly, but difficult. Not death, but life.  [More.]

OJAmericaO.J.: Made in America (Ezra Edelman) It’s a movie. It’s television. It’s a movie. It’s elemental.

clapperboard-lightedit-768x419One More Time With Feeling (Andrew Dominik) Nick Cave didn’t want to be asked questions about his latest recording, released after the death of a son. Self-exploitation? Dominik and his camera circle. Beauty and grief.

TOS1The Other Side (Roberto Minervini) Rich, riotous, ribald and as disturbing as it ought to be, “The Other Side” rocks in righteous embrace. [More.]

13th13th (Ava DuVernay) History in the present tense. Fleet, unflinching.

towerTower (Keith Maitland) Elemental yet expressionistic, “Tower” is an admirable attainment, a broadside from the solar plexus, and the powerhouse ending, partially narrated by Walter Cronkite commenting in the day, is magnificent. [More.]

Weiner6Weiner (Josh Kriegman, Elyse Steinberg) A high point, flawed only by a small cut, is in the Weiner-Abedin kitchen one morning, when Abedin is asked how she’s doing. She pauses, there’s a cut, she says flatly, “It’s like living in a nightmare.” She smiles, all poise and resolve and red lipstick and white teeth and hightails it out of the frame. [More.]

Blu-ray Editions

outonealternatethree613x463OUT 1 (Jacques Rivette) modesty of its gestures and the grandeur of its madness, mingling conspiracy adapted from Balzac’s “History of the Thirteen,” notions of performance, galling acting exercises of the era performed by double, warring troupes, impacted jealousy, labyrinthine intrigues, counterculture quiddities, sudden gunfire and remarkable experiments with time and duration that are almost unaccountably moving. [More]

dekalogDekalog (Krzysztof Kieslowski) In the end, we are left with tenderness, ambiguity and a sense of the possibility of still being able to ask moral questions in everyday life. [More]

BB32.tifA Brighter Summer Day (Edward Yang) The screening began early and afterwards was the first warm afternoon in Chicago in weeks, and I walked through the Loop, circling, circling, amid faces and figures turning in their own fashion, to their own fates. I was lost yet I was found. It was as if the movie I had seen, its ninety-two locations would not dissipate. All one-hundred-plus characters. They weren’t ghosts. [More.]

In A Lonely Place (Nicholas Ray) “I was born when she kissed me. I died when she left me. I lived a few weeks while she loved me.” All the love. All the hate. All the Nick.

John-McCabeMcCabe And Mrs. Miller (Robert Altman) Inspired subversions like McCabe were staples of studio ambitions way back when. Now? [More.]

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“The purpose of film isn’t to present the kindness of the world.”
~ Isabelle Huppert

The Promised Land steers into the fact that the United States can mean whatever people want it to mean. You may not be able to be Elvis, but you can sure as shit impersonate him for a living. America, like its current President (at least as of this article’s publication), is so dangerous precisely because it’s a blank canvas on which anyone can project their dreams. Whatever it is that you see for yourself, there’s someone you can pay for the pleasure of believing that it’s possible. In his view, the pursuit of happiness is the ultimate con, a delusion that prevents us from seeing our circumstances for what they are.

“Forget the Matrix, it’s the invention of happiness that blinded us to the truth. The rich got richer and the poor help them do it. Jarecki doesn’t argue that the American Dream is dead; he argues that it was never alive in the first place — that we were all lobsters in a pot full of water that was boiling too slowly for any of us to notice. And now it’s time for dinner. Donald J. Trump is the President of the United States. Elvis has left the building.”
~ David Ehrlich