Docs Now! Fall Season Will Give You A Thousand Lives
Oct 29, 2015 by Pedro Lopez DeVictoria on The Nickelodeon Blog
“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.”
Here, the mustachioed River King of Curmudgeonry touches upon a sentiment that really cuts to the core of this chaotic universe: reality can always surprise us. Here we are, seven billion bipedal whatevers standing on the thin skin of an orange full of magma, spinning directly into the unknown, each with our own lives, thoughts, stories, ideas for pet names, etc. Yes, our imaginations are vast and beautiful, but what they draw on—truth—has enough intrigue, drama, mystique, and hilarity to last us until the end of time.
In our ongoing series dedicated to contemporary documentary film, Docs Now!, the selections all pack mega-concentrated punches of this element. These subjects, confronted with the same unpredictable reality as we are, lived and continue to live exceptional and epic lives; these stories are relevant and important; these lessons are more than applicable—they’re crucial. Take in the absurdity of reality, live other lives, and access true and enriching information through a medium more immediate and understandable than any another–the moving image.
Let’s take a look at what lies ahead:
The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution
What You See: The rise and fall of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, from renowned documentarian Stanley Nelson, weaving a treasure trove of rare archival footage with the testimony of police, FBI informants, journalists, white supporters and detractors, and Black Panthers who remained loyal to the party and those who left it.
What You Get: Historical insights, lessons on how a movement can succeed or fail, time to gawk at the ignorant and backwards ideology that the Panthers were forced to confront, vicarious basking in the bravery of indignant protest, footage from an epic, belligerent, and surreal chapter in American History ft. civil rights, the Vietnam war, and mass political awakenings positioning a human story of the reluctant malleability of the status quo.
Feelings Are Facts: The Life of Yvonne Rainer
What You See: Yvonne Rainer, a radical never-quitter who smashed dance history into a thousand pieces with her legendary 1966 avant-garde performance piece “Trio A“—an exploration of mundanity and the subversion of audience expectations—who then shifted into experimental films and general countercultural godheadiness, received the coveted MacArthur Fellows “genius grant,” and continues her influence on the arts even today.
What You Get: An abundance of film excerpts, archival footage, and reinterpretations of Rainer’s choreography, led by director Jack Walsh in a successful illustration of classic anti-classicism. From her revolutionary, feminist, LGBT-centric films and theorizing, to her disjointed and intentionally jarring dance aesthetic that lands squarely in the uncanny valley, she was one that no one could ignore, and her story can lead anyone down the road not taken.
What You See: Dub Lawrence is a legend of law enforcement: he cracked the Ted Bundy case, served as the youngest Sheriff in David County history, even wrote himself a parking ticket when a citizen called out his patrol car’s violation. He finds himself summoned from retirement when the SWAT team he founded 30 years earlier unjustly kills his son-in-law.
What You Get: Dub has the zeal of a rule-of-law detective, but the grief of a victim. His emotional journey is contextualized within a growing national phenomenon of SWAT raids and aggressive no-knock search warrant laws. You follow him as he explores a topic that increases in relevance every day. Educational and, at points, an infuriating call to action, this film moves you to reexamine an integral facet of our society.
All in all a strong line-up. So come down to The Nick and live a thousand lives—glean the lessons of the past, discern paths for the future—because there’s no better way to understand this crazy world than watching it in action!