Ripping Reality

Steven Markovitz rips some reality

by seafar

- from FAMILY (Sami Saif, Phie Ambo, Denmark, 2001)

As part of the coalescing Ripping Reality project, we asked festival programmers from around the world to send us lists of contemporary works they consider to be essential to the new documentary. From these we selected ten for a modest retro at this year’s Hot Docs.

Again, Ripping Reality is proceeding from the premise that something special has happened over the past decade or so in documentary film culture. We’re proposing a collaborative endeavor to reflect on this movement at a crucial time in its development.

After a period of phenomenal creative renewal and industrial growth for feature-length documentaries, we seem to be on a tenuous plateau. This isn’t a passive exercise in nostalgia, but a means of actively looking forward by reaching back. That, and, wow, an incredible body of nonfiction filmmaking has been produced over the past decade. Let’s celebrate it.

Here’s a list from Steven Markovitz, Co-Founder, Encounters- South African International Documentary Festival. Steven also produced an omnibus doc, CONGO IN FOUR ACTS, that premiered at Berlin, and will be presented at Hot Docs.

Steven writes:

Documentaries are getting funnier….

VHS KAHLOUCHA (Néjib Belkadhi, Tunisia, 2006)
HOW TO BECOME A HERO (Mladen Mati?evi?, Serbia, 2008)
THE SHUTKA BOOK OF RECORDS (Aleksandar Manic, Czech Republic, Serbia and Montenegro, 2005)
GEORGI AND THE BUTTERFLIES (Andrey Paounov, Bulgaria, 2004)

Documentaries often feel more like feature films….

METALLICA: SOME KIND OF MONSTER (Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky, USA, 2004)
TOUCHING THE VOID (Kevin MacDonald, UK, 2003)
FAMILY (Sami Saif, Phie Ambo, Denmark, 2001)

Filmmakers are playing with form…..

THE SEVEN SONGS FROM THE TUNDRA (Anastasia Lapsui, Markku Lehmuskallio, Finland, 1999)
HUSH (Victor Kosakovsky, Russia, 2002)
THE FIVE OBSTRUCTIONS (Lars von Trier, Jorgen Leth, Denmark, 2003)

Political documentaries are getting sharper…..

TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE (Alex Gibney, USA, 2007)
CUBA: AN AFRICAN ODYSSEY (Jihan El-Tahri, France/Egypt, 2007)
RIP: A REMIX MANIFESTO (Brett Gaylor, Canada, 2009)
THE CORPORATION (Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abbott, Joel Bakan, Canada, 2004)
SACRIFICIO: WHO BETRAYED CHE GUEVARA (Erik Gandini, Tarik Saleh, Sweden, 2001)
OUR BRAND IS CRISIS (Rachel Boynton, USA, 2005)
CHAVEZ: INSIDE THE COUP (Kim Bartley, Donnacha O’Briain, Ireland, 2002)

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