Spirit of the Thing

Doc Spotlight: Tom Berninger's 'Mistaken for Strangers'

Submitted by Spirit of the Thing on September 30, 2016 - 9:03am


 

Documentaries about musicians are popping up everywhere these days. Hell, one (Waiting for Sugar Man) even won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature in 2013. Most tend to focus on a musician's obscurity as in Sugar Man, a band's last hurrah as in Shut Up and Play the Hits, or a band's rise and fall (and subsequent return) like loudQUIETloudTom Berninger's quasi-doc about The National, Mistaken for Strangers, is nothing like any of these...and this is precisely why it's so good.

In theaters, on demand and iTunes! Screenings here!

It seems as if the film is supposed to be a standard doc about a band on the road. Shot (mostly) and directed by the brother (Tom Berninger) of The National's lead singer Matt Berninger, we get a familiar scenario - little brother is asked to go on tour with big brother and help out doing roadie type stuff, mostly acting as liaison/assistant to the band. Tom still lives with his parents in Cincinnati and while we don't get much of a view into his life, we can tell that he doesn't have much going on. And there's nothing wrong with that.

"It's a lack of imagination" - Donald Rumsfeld goes before the Interrotron in Errol Morris' The Unknown Known

Submitted by Spirit of the Thing on June 30, 2014 - 2:15pm


 

I will admit that when I read that Errol Morris was going to do a movie on former Secretary of Defense in the George W. Bush administration, Donald Rumsfeld, I was perhaps more excited than usual. Morris had not only won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature for his interview of former John F. Kennedy/Lyndon Johnson Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara in The Fog of War, but he also tore into the Bush Administration and their handling of the Abu Ghraib scandal in his stunning documentary, Standard Operating Procedure. So here, I thought, would be his chance to really hammer Rumsfeld on what he covered in Standard Operating Procedure and take shots at the ill-conceived Iraq War that he presided over before being sacked in December 2006. And so we are presented with The Unknown Known, whose name was taken from an enigmatic statement Rumsfeld made at one of his many entertaining press conferences : "...because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things that we know that we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don't know we don't know."

Cinemit Podcast - Snowpiercer Special Edition!

Submitted by melissa on June 27, 2014 - 6:50am


 

Download here! - now available to subscribe in iTunes!

    • SNOWPIERCER!

Hosted by: Michael Petrelli aka Petrocs
Guest: Jeremy aka Spirit of the Thing, Liz aka IndieBizLiz & Melissa aka Dial M For Melissa

Kino! Festival of German Films review of Nan Goldin - I Remember Your Face

Submitted by Spirit of the Thing on June 16, 2014 - 12:23pm


 

Capturing the essence of an artist seems to me to be one of the hardest things to do. So much of what makes one an artist (I assume) happens in one's head, an interior monologue that Terrence Malick would be jealous of utilizing. Sabine Lidl's entrancing documentary, Nan Goldin - I Remember Your Face, seems to get pretty close to doing so.

The film obviously follows Nan Goldin, the world renowned photographer, as she negotiates time in Paris and Berlin, meeting with friends and colleagues, old and new, talking us through her trials and tribulations as a woman in the world she has chosen to inhabit. She lives up to the perception many might have of what an artist of her stature is like -an eccentric who details her  obscure tastes in the art she collects (Catholic in nature), tells tales of wild times living in squats with 40+ people, describes her spiral into drug addiction and subsequent drying out as well as the numerous people she has fallen in love with only to have that love unrequited, all of which is included in or fueled her work. And its her work that is foremost in her mind. Books to publish, narrated slideshows to produce, new style collage combining themed work juxtaposed with famous art works by masters - all of it consumes her and occupies her every moment (at least as laid out in the film).

June Documentary Spotlight: Dominic H. White's DSKNECTD

Submitted by Spirit of the Thing on June 6, 2014 - 1:10pm


 

As I type this now on my laptop, my iPhone by my side, it's not hard to understand why a film like DSKNECTD was made. Go to a bar, a college campus, a high school lunch and even a middle school basketball game and you'll notice one thing - a large portion of people in each of these scenarios have their faces buried in their phones - texting, playing stupid ass games like Candy Crush, porn, watching the latest viral video on YouTube or any number of other (mostly stupid) things. Technological advance and access has hit society like a tsumani and engulfed the better part of the world with quick easy access to information.

What DSKNECTD delves into is the effects this access to technology and its addictive qualities has on the brain, social behaviors as well as differentiating characteristics of the generations employing its use. This film is mostly successful in laying out the issues - creation of isolated subgroups of society, increased risky sexual behavior because of sexting and earlier access to hardcore pornography, inability to create meaningful relationships with people in the real world as opposed to the virtual world, etc.

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