Sunday, February 21, 2016

Awards-Nazi Award Nominations: Documentary

Documentary filmmaking continues to thrive in the digital age, in which tools and broadcast platforms have never been more accessible to storytellers and audiences alike. I don't envy the doc branch of the Academy, who are forced to screen growing numbers of submissions every year. If, like me, you've only got time for a few, you could do a lot worse than these five:

AMY
(Asif Kapadia, James Gay-Rees)
Whether you were a fan of Winehouse or not, this magnificently assembled chronicle of her tragically short life packs an emotional wallop. More than your standard Behind the Music bio.

CARTEL LAND
(Matthew Heineman, Tom Yellin)
The execution is top-notch, painting a terrifying picture of a crime culture so institutionalized and corrupt that ordinary people have no choice but to take up arms themselves. Alas, to no end.

THE HUNTING GROUND
(Kirby Dick, Amy Ziering)
A blood-boiling expose of schools' inaction in the face of staggering rape reports, nimbly jumping between emotional first-person testimonies and a more hopeful narrative of political activism.

LISTEN TO ME, MARLON
(Stevan Riley, John Battsek)
A fascinating biography unlike any other, narrated by Brando himself as heard in the hundreds of hours of audio recordings. But there's more than just a life story in these rare ruminations, but also a wealth of philosophies on life and acting.

THE LOOK OF SILENCE
(Joshua Oppenheimer, Signe Byrge Sørensen)
A lyrical companion piece to The Act of Killing, shifting focus from the killers to the victims and proving a superior essay on unhealed social wounds. A quiet, still, haunting work of art.

Other considerations:
Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom (Evgeny Afineevsky, Den Tolmor)
Racing Extinction (Louie Psihoyos, Fisher Stevens, Olivia Ahnemann)
What Happened, Miss Simone? (Liz Garbus, Amy Hobby, Justin Wilkes)

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