BY PETE HAMMOND
One of the highlights of the recent Toronto Film Festival (and sure to be at the upcoming New York Film Festival) was the premiere of the extraordinary National Geographic documentary Jane which is based on 100 hours of recently discovered 16MM film footage of Jane Goodall’s first foray into the world of chimpanzees in 1962. Long thought lost, the footage shows a brave young woman at the beginning of what would become a remarkable lifelong journey with these amazing creatures.
Goodall, now 83, is considered the foremost expert on chimpanzees, and this film takes us back to the first expedition of a then-untrained 28-year-old Jane whose research revolutionized our understanding of the animals. She has been at it ever since. The images are so crisp and beautiful it looks like it was all filmed last week, and her new narration provides insight that is absolutely fascinating.
With a thrilling musical score from Oscar nominated composer Philip Glass this film from director Brett Morgen (Kurt Cobain: Montage Of Heck, The Kid Stays In The Picture) should be a prime Oscar contender not only for Documentary Feature, but also Original Music Score, and perhaps Film Editing for the sensational work in assembling the recently uncovered footage filmed by the great Hugo van Lawick, the National Geographic filmmaker who met, fell in love with and eventually married Goodall. In fact their very first meeting is chronicled and seen here.
“The film is very much a love story, except the love is not between man and woman. The love is between a woman and her work, and a man and his work,” Morgen said. National Geographic Documentary Films will be opening the film on October 20. Before that, Glass’s score will be performed live to picture on October 9 at the Hollywood Bowl, with Glass, Goodall and Morgen in attendance.
Morgan said he wanted Jane to be “like a cinematic opera” which is what led him to Glass in the first place. Watch the trailer above.
BY JILL STEIN
On 6 June 2013, the Guardian broke the news National Security Agency (NSA) had ordered Verizon to provide it with the phone records of its customers. As the story developed it became clear that the two other major telephone networks as well as credit card companies were doing the same thing; and that the NSA and FBI were being provided with access to server systems operated by Google, Apple, Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft and Skype.
On 11 June the Guardian reported the source as Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old who had been working at the NSA for four years.
Snowden believed it was important for him to publicly acknowledge his role in order to provide a human face to the story. He knew he was putting his life at risk and exposing himself to decades of incarceration. “My sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them,” he explained. Snowden hoped to trigger a debate “about the kind of world we want to live in”. The US government began an immediate campaign to track, harass and silence him.
Three elite climbers struggle to find their way through obsession and loss as they attempt to climb Mount Meru, one of the most coveted prizes in the high stakes game of Himalayan big wall climbing. . .
With unprecedented access, CARTEL LAND is a riveting, on-the-ground look at the journeys of two modern-day vigilante groups and their shared enemy – the murderous Mexican drug cartels. In the Mexican state of Michoacán, Dr. Jose Mireles, a small-town physician known as “El Doctor,” leads the Autodefensas, a citizen uprising against the violent Knights Templar drug cartel that has wreaked havoc on the region for years. Meanwhile, in Arizona’s Altar Valley – a narrow, 52-mile-long desert corridor known as Cocaine Alley – Tim “Nailer” Foley, an American veteran, heads a small paramilitary group called Arizona Border Recon, whose goal is to stop Mexico’s drug wars from seeping across our border.
In the war-zones of Liberia and Congo, four volunteers with Doctors Without Borders struggle to provide emergency medical care under extreme conditions. Read more at IMDB or support this site and the filmmaker by buying it at Amazon.
A look at seven communities around the world with the proposition that we can seize the crisis of climate change to transform our failed economic system into something radically better. . . . .
Locked away from society in an apartment on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the Angulo brothers learn about the outside world through the films that they watch. Nicknamed, ‘The Wolfpack,’ the brothers spend their childhood reenacting their favorite films using elaborate homemade props and costumes. Their world is shaken up when one of the brothers decides to revisit the outside world and everything changes. . .
Steve Jobs takes us behind the scenes of the digital revolution, to paint a portrait of the man at its epicenter. The story unfolds backstage at three iconic product launches, ending in 1998 with the unveiling of the iMac. . . .
A documentarian and a reporter travel to Hong Kong for the first of many meetings with Edward Snowden. Read more at IMDB or buy it now at Amazon.
During the chaotic final weeks of the Vietnam War, the North Vietnamese Army closes in on Saigon as the panicked South Vietnamese people desperately attempt to escape. On the ground, American soldiers and diplomats confront the same moral quandary: whether to obey White House orders to evacuate U.S. citizens only–or to risk treason and save the lives of as many South Vietnamese citizens as they can. . . .
For the last 40 years, the photographer Sebastião Salgado has been travelling through the continents, in the footsteps of an ever-changing humanity. He has witnessed some of the major events of our recent history; international conflicts, starvation and exodus. He is now embarking on the discovery of pristine territories, of wild fauna and flora, and of grandiose landscapes as part of a huge photographic project which is a tribute to the planet’s beauty. . .
Real estate agent John Maloof explains how a trip to a local auction house, in search for old pictures to use for a history book about his neighborhood, resulted in him bidding and winning a box full of old negatives. John goes through the massive quantity of negatives, describes how impressed he is by the quality of the images, becomes quickly determined they are not reverent to his project and just puts them away. That could have very likely had been the end of the story, if the power of the images had not pushed him to fall in love with photography. John confides that his photo hobby quickly motivated him to set up a darkroom and devote large amounts of time shooting. As he learned more about photography, he recognized that those negatives he had bought, then stored, were the work of a real master.
Rich Hill intimately chronicles the turbulent lives of three boys living in an impoverished Midwestern town and the fragile family bonds that sustain them. . . . Read more at IMDB or buy it now at Amazon.
Super Duper Alice Cooper is the twisted tale of a teenage Dr Jekyll whose rock n roll Mr Hyde almost kills him. It is the story of Vincent Furnier, preacher’s son, who struck fear into the hearts of parents as Alice Cooper, the ultimate rock star of the bizarre. From the advent of Alice as front man for a group of Phoenix freaks in the 60s to the hazy decadence of celebrity in the 70s to his triumphant comeback as 80s glam metal godfather, we will watch as Alice and Vincent battle for each others’ souls. The is the first ever ‘doc opera’ – a dizzying blend of documentary archive footage, animation and rock opera that will cement forever the legend of Alice Cooper. Read more at IMDB or buy it now at Amazon.