I suppose I like Festival Express because it is something of a throwback. It's a throwback to the wonderful pre-Fahrenheit 9/11 days of documentary filmmaking when documentaries, as the name suggests, documented. Popular documentaries are today so mired in political rhetoric that I briefly feared for the survival of the genre, what with audiences appearing to favor the malicious (Michael Moore accosting senators on the street) over the meaningful (when was the last time you watched Frontline, PBS's Oscar-nominated documentary program?). For a glorious hour and a half my fears were almost totally allayed, as the film simply documents the six-day drinking binge that was The Band, The Grateful Dead, and Janis Joplin's
The full moon casts an eerie glow over the light fog that permeates Gethsemane. A man, wrought with fear, rebukes his closest friends for falling asleep in his time of greatest need. Moments later, he is bound in chains, being prodded along by a band of soldiers. His friends have fled, and he is alone. This? The long-awaited Messiah?
High Noon, Fred Zinnerman's classic fifties film, recently played at the Silver Spring AFI in all its spare, western glory. Clean direction, clean acting, and clean videography come together in this powerful, moving story of a man who stands alone for his beliefs.
Death by butcher knife. Or hatchet. Or club. Or the ever popular meat cleaver. In Gangs of New York, chances are you'll be both shocked at the abundance of murder and amazed at the myriad ways it can be committed. Director Martin Scoresece made this period drama spectacularly accurate in set design, slang, costume, and, of course, in the ever-present violence that permeated the life of the destitute in New York's slums in the civil war era.
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