Friday, January 20, 2012

Awards-Nazi Awards nominations: Documentary

Inevitably, I never get out to as many documentaries a year as I would like. I usually only see five or six a year, so a nomination from me isn't always an indication of how good I think a doc is (last year's atypically rich crop being the exception). So if I catch other docs later on that I really dig, I'll retroactively amend this slate of nominees Best Documentary accordingly.

Buck (Cindy Meehl):
A nicely shot biography of an inherently likable character; the warm and humane Buck Brannaman, the expert horseman who inspired The Horse Whisperer. His way with the animals is fascinating to observe.

Hell and Back Again (Danfung Dennis):
Given it's thematic similarities to The Hurt Locker or Restrepo, it would be dangerously easy for viewers to dismiss this topic as old hat, but Hell and Back Again possesses an equally potent emotional gut punch, not to mention an artistic quality that previous Iraq war films have not.

If a Tree Falls (Marshall Curry):
A very interesting account of how peaceful environmental protest degenerated into destructive acts of so-called eco-terrorism. The film is carefully objective, simply presenting the situation and the players to the audience, allowing us to make our own judgements on the many debatable grey areas.

The Interrupters (Steve James):
A gripping but upsetting time-capsule version of Chicago at its most horrifying. We actually witness conflicts unfold in front of the camera. At the same time, his film is an inspiration, replenishing our hope with his tactful exposition of the interrupters' own redemptive backstories.

Project Nim (James Marsh):
The film avoids ever feeling too clinical or obsessed with the science of the situation. Rather, Marsh bubbles the emotions to the surface of this sobering tale; Not only Nim's emotions, but those of his human teachers and caregivers.

Just missed: Senna

1 comment:

  1. If you have netflix streaming, I know they have Bill Cunningham, worth a watch...