GRIZZLY MAN

By Peggy Nelson

Grizzly Man – 2005 – dir. Werner Herzog

Grizzly Man (dir. Werner Herzog, 2005) is two documentaries in one: the first is video shot by Timothy Treadwell, the self-described bear-whisperer, of himself in the Alaskan wilderness; and the second is edited and narrated by director Werner Herzog, about Treadwell’s controversial life and death. Herzog weaves these two voices together, the naive enthusiast and the experienced adventurer, while the conflict between man and nature plays itself out to its tragic end.

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BALLETS RUSSES

By Leo Racicot

Ballets Russes – 2005 – dir. Daniel Geller, Dayna Goldfine

You need not be an aficionado of classical dance or even know much about ballet to appreciate the joyous celebration that is Ballets Russes. Documentaries of this sort have a way of making the past “quaint”, almost falsely charming. Not so this one!  A welcome breath of fresh air, it fairly floats along on a cloud of exuberance and real nostalgia for a kind of glamour now gone from our stages and from our world.
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GREY GARDENS

Written by Chris Kriofske

USA, 1975. 94 min Cast: Edith Bouvier Beale, Edie Beale; Cinematographer: Albert & David Maysles; Producers: Susan Frömke, Albert & David Maysles; Directors: Ellen Hovde, Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Muffie Meyer

Despite the current ubiquity of tabloid and reality-based television, if you’re viewing Grey Gardens for the first time, you really haven’t seen anything quite like it. Even if you’re familiar with the Maysles Brothers’ other “direct cinema” (cinema verite) documentaries, arguably none of their subjects are as memorably eccentric as 79 year-old Edith Bouvier Beale and her fiftysomething daughter, Edie. Continue reading