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Showing posts from July, 2015

Personal Documentary and the Collective Subject

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Do I Sound Gay?  dir. David Thorpe, 2015, US Genre: Personal, issue documentary currently in theaters in the US; available cable on-demand (US)
After watching Do I Sound Gay? I wondered if I saw the same film that Clayton Dillard did for his Slant Magazine review. On a literal level, yes, but I had a very different take than this impression: Do I Sound Gay? is another link in an increasingly tiresome chain of navel-gazing think pieces posing as personal documentary.... Thorpe's approach is less historical or experimental than staid and solipsistic, as his own biography, which includes growing up in South Carolina and not acknowledging his own homosexuality until reaching college, is dutifully presented as a series of facts and tidbits which are meant to substantiate the film's interest in cultural norms regarding homosexual behavior and self-acceptance.  Part of me understands where the review is coming from. I'm not always fond of personal documentaries and for instance di…

Conspiracy Documentary as Puzzle Films

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The Forecaster
dir. Marcus Vetter, Karin Steinberger, 2014, Germany
Genre: Issue documentary
available German DVD (amazon.de) and on VOD (for $50!)

I've been following the Greek crisis as it unfolds, and since the US news outlets have been frankly doing a miserable job at covering other than in the business press, this means a few overseas websites and lots of Twitter. One thing that is striking is how the situation seems to illustrate ideology in Mannheim's sense - a scattershot of versions of reality based in social situatedness. And, broadly speaking, there is the oddness of witnessing this from overseas. On one hand the crisis has brought out international alignment of right and left sentiment along the battle lines of austerity and anti-austerity. On the other hand 
I bring this up because I keep thinking back to the screening of the Forecaster that I attended at Transilvania Film Fest. The documentary is about financier Martin Armstrong, a fund manager who was convicted …