Several interesting articles on documentary came across my radar this morning: First, a New York Times article on Manufacturing Dissent, an investigative documentary that turns its lens on Michael Moore’s documentary practices. The film’s trailer appears to be a bit muddled, but according to the Times article and Moore proponent John Pierson, Dissent raises some useful questions about subjectivity in documentary.
Second, yet another article, this one from The Washington Post, giving Al Gore the “rock star” treatment. While William Booth, the article’s author, stops short of speculating about a presidential run, it’s an interesting read on Gore’s new celebrity status. Booth attributes the warm reception of Gore’s messages about global warming and the Iraq war to a changed political climate, but I think much of Gore’s success as a speaker and public figure has to be attributed to the Inconvenient Truth filmmakers who helped to bring a much different image of Gore than the one we saw during the election in 2000.
Finally, an interesting Washington Post article on AMC Theater’s programming stunt of a marathon screening of all five best picture nominees. The screenings started at around noon and ran until midnight with fifteen-minute breaks between films and a half-hour break for dinner. If I remember correctly, I watched four films in one day at least once during Silverdocs, but enduring five films in one day is an impressive achievement. In her article, Rachel Beckman reports that 80 people attended the Rio Cinemas marathon, one of 80 or so throughout the country. One of the most important bits of information from the entire article: You can bring food into any AMC theater “as long as it doesn’t disturb the other guests,” according to one AMC spokesperson.
Update: The IFC blog has a list of the Independent Spirit Awards winners and nominees, where there is an interesting discussion of whether Michael Winterbottom’s Road to Guantanamo (my review) qualifies as a documentary. I have a relatively expansive definition of documentary and wouldn’t hesitate to include the film in that category. Excluding the film solely based on its use of re-enactments seems excessive to me; after all, it also makes use of testimony and other talking-heads interviews. I’d be interested to hear from others why the use of clearly marked re-enactments would disqualify it from consideration for awards in the documentary category.