The few new documentaries hitting cinemas this week could be considered relatively “light” compared to many nonfiction films. But don’t think they’re any less necessary nor captivating because they focus on people in professions involving arts and recreation. Below you’ll find highly acclaimed new works about an actress, a skateboarder and a piano tuner, and they all seem to be very gripping films. I’ve only see Dragonslayer, and I can say it is, indeed. I can’t wait to catch the other two.
Here are your three new theatrical releases followed by the weekly list of docs still in cinemas:
One of the world’s greatest actresses of the past half-century, Charlotte Rampling gets the biographical doc treatment from director Angelina Maccarone. But it’s not just a conventional look at the actress’s life and career. The film (also known as just The Look) puts Rampling front and center for the storytelling, letting her past unfold through conversations between herself and friends Paul Auster, Peter Lindbergh and Juergen Teller. Distributor Kino Lorber labels it a “self-portrait through others.”
Now playing in NYC at Cinema Village and Lincoln Plaza Cinemas. For upcoming openings in other cities, see the film’s playdates list.
One of my favorite documentaries out of this year’s South by Southwest Film Festival, where it won the documentary competition and picked up an award for its unbelievably gorgeous cinematography (by Eric Koretz), this is a marvelous verité look at the wandering lifestyle of professional skateboarder Josh “Screech” Sandoval. Directed by first-timer Tristan Patterson, the doc is more aimless narrative and deep character study, with some seemingly staged bits. Some critics have disappointingly called it pointless. It is not at all.
It would make for an interesting double feature with another new doc, The Other F Word (Screech is also a punk rock dad, though a less responsible one), but if they’re not playing anywhere together don’t wait for them to both hit DVD. Dragonslayer is a documentary that should definitely be seen on the big screen.
Winner of Best Documentary Feature and Best Cinematography prizes at the 2011 SXSW Film Festival. Winner of Best International Feature at the 2011 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival.
Now playing in NYC at Cinema Village. For upcoming openings in other cities, see the film’s screening page.
This Austian documentary from co-directors Robert Cibis and Lilian Franck (Jesus Loves You) follows Master Tuner Stefan Knüpfer as he works on pianos for some of the world’s greatest musicians, including Lang Lang, Alfred Brendel, Rudolf Buchbinder and Pierre-Laurent Aimand. This film looks a lot more fun that it sounds. Besides, check out all these honors:
Winner of the Grand Prize of Critics’ Week at the 2010 Locarno Film Festival. Winner of the “Ludia” (First Prize) at the 2009 Cinema Festival in Lunen. Winner of the Golden Gate Award for Best Documentary at the 2010 San Francisco International Film Festival. Winner of the Audience Award at International Filmweekend Würzburg. Winner of Best Editing at the 2010 Diagonale Graz. Winner of the Lola for Best Sound at the German Film Awards. Nominated for Best Documentary at the 2010 European Film Awards. Nominated for the 2011 Austrian Film Prize.
Now playing in NYC, Los Angeles and Pasadena with special screenings this week in Rochester, New York, and Encino and Claremont, California. For upcoming openings in other cities, check the film’s playdates page.
Expanded releases this week (older films, new cities, some also still playing elsewhere). Links go to screening calendar listings:
America the Beautiful 2: The Thin Commandments - Dallas, TX; Boston, MA [11/8 only]; Philadelphia, PA [opens 11/9]; Bethesda, MD [opens 11/10]
American Teacher - Chicago, IL; San Diego, CA [11/4 only]; Norwalk, CT [11/5 only]; Palm Springs, CA [11/6 only]; Seattle, WA [11/7 only], Washington DC [11/7 only]; Brookings, SD [11/8 only]; Columbus, OH [11/9 only]; Philadelphia, PA [11/9 only]; Providence, RI [11/10 only]
The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu - Calgary, CANADA [11/5-11/6 only]
Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey - Bellingham, WA; Seattle, WA; Colombia, MO; Springfield, MO; Fort Collins, CO; Los Angeles, CA; Pasadena, CA
Benda Bilili - Saginaw (MI)
The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 - Kansas City, MO; Wilmington, DE; Asheville, NC; Denver, CO; Salt Lake City, UT; Tucson, AZ; London, UK; Copenhagen, Denmark [for CPX:DOX festival]
Elevate - Los Angeles, CA; Dallas, TX; San Antonio, TX
Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone - Maitland, FL [11/5 only]; Sacramento, CA [11/6 only]; Nevada City, CA [11/7 only]; Chico, CA [11/8 only]; Boulder, CO [11/10 only]
Finding Joe - San Luis Obispo, CA
Granito: How to Nail a Dictator - New York, NY [11/5 and 11/10 only]; Minneapolis, MN [11/10-11/11, for Minneapolis/St. Paul Latin Film Festival]; Mahwah, NJ [11/7 only];
Hell and Back Again - Philadelphia, PA; San Diego, CA; Atlanta, GA; London, UK [begins 11/7]
The Interrupters - Brooklyn, NY; Cincinnati, OH; Montpelier, VT; Memphis, TN [11/4-11/6 only]; Charlottesville, VA [11/5 only, for Virginia Film Festival]; Washington, DC [11/5 only, for Benevolent Media Festival]; Hamilton, Bermuda [11/5 only, for Bermuda DOCS Film Festival]; State College, PA [begins 11/6]; Chicago, IL [11/8 only]; St. Joseph, MN [11/8 only]; Columbus, OH [11/9 only]; Baltimore, MD [11/9 only]; Irvington, NY [11/9 only]; Kirsville, MO [11/10-11/13 only]; Rehoboth Beach, FL [11/10 only, for Rehoboth Beach Film Festival]
Life in a Day - Cleveland, OH [until 11/6]
Louder Than a Bomb - Chicago, IL [11/4 only]
My Reincarnation - Huntington, NY; Waterville, ME
The Other F Word - Los Angeles, CA
Page One: Inside the New York Times - Hanover, NH
Passione - Madison, WI; Evanston, IL; Cleveland, OH [11/5-11/6 only]; Honolulu, HI [11/8 & 11/10 only]
Paul Goodman Changed My Life - Portland, OR [11/4-11/6 only]; Sarasota, FL [11/5-11/11, for Cine-World Film Festival]; Toronto, Canada [11/9 only]
Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles - Pittsburgh, PA
Revenge of the Electric Car - Berkeley, CA; Palo Alto, CA; San Francisco, CA; San Jose, CA; San Rafael, CA; Boston, MA; Santa Fe, NM; Scottsdale, AZ; Annville, PA [begins 11/7]
Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness - Delray Beach, FL; Santa Rosa, CA; Salt Lake City, UT [11/10 only]
The Swell Season - Milwaukee, WI; Lakeland, FL [11/4-11/6 only]; Wilmington, NC [11/10=11/13, for Cucalorus Film Festival]
To Be Heard - Los Angeles, CA; Memphis, TN [11/5 only, for Indie Memphis Film Festival]
Urbanized - Boston, MA [11/4 only]; Chicago, IL; San Francisco, CA; Raleigh, NC [11/7 only]; Belfast, N. Ireland [11/7 only]; Atlanta, GA [11/8 only]; Pittsburgh, PA (11/8-11/9 only]
We Were Here - Portland, OR
The Whale - Cleveland, OH; Chagrin Falls, OH; Vashon Island, WA
Where Soldiers Come From - Lansing, MI [11/4-11/6 only]; Grand Rapids, MI [11/4-11/6 only]; Saginaw, MI [11/4-11/8 only]; Denver, CO [11/5-11/6, for Starz Denver Film Festival]; Alexandria, VA [11/6 only, for Alexandria Film Festival]
Women Art Revolution - Charlottesville, VA [11/5 only, for Virginia Film Festival]
Also still in theaters:
Born to Be Wild 3D
If you would like a film’s opening or expansion included in the weekly Docs In Theaters post, click the contact link on the right and send me an email.