Painfully intimate, beautifully clear-eyed, archival treasure of a documentary, set up as a tale of two women - the artist Billie and the biographer Linda, both their lives ending tragically. Billie Holiday, genius, and jazz legend, carried with her, and within her, a history abuse - yet she was determined to enjoy her life, with a vengeance, her voice still transcending her wounded womanhood and transgenerational trauma beyond the grave. Holiday, as avenging angel, unifying the voices of all the lives lived before her, and ones still listening, in the dual telling of this singularity that was Billie, proving a brilliant narrative choice. [read more] ★★★★★
A flawed, but fascinating take on Rosaleen Norton, artist & dedicated occultist, notoriously active in 1950s Sydney, using all the tricks of the doc trade to conjure the self-declared witch in her nocturnal glory - showing fault only when it tries too hard to render her safer for the masses by confining her in feminist or archetypal tropes (however apt). An intoxicating brew, offering this truly unique counter-culture figure some posthumous justice. [read more] ★★★★✩
Let's say the worst of what we heard of Julian Assange is true, and he is indeed the disreputable human portrayed in established media lore - the question remains, what does this have to do with indicting journalists for receiving classified material in which various nefarious deeds of powerful governments are exposed? Solid campaign doc, cutting out sensationalist debris, reminding us that justice is not a congeniality contest. [read more] ★★★✩✩
Essential new mainstream doc on PSY research, a much denigrated fringe topic, one that, perhaps, should not have been left solely for the military to explore. Chock-full of top-tier scientists, high-grade spooks, plus a Nobel laureate and an Apollo astronaut thrown in, for good quantum measure.
It lands on a piece of me that is yet to accept loss – the devouring of a chunk of my life, of many lives, by the gods of lesser value. This is why I could not take it in any other way than lightly. Giving it my full attention meant giving in to a lack of meaning. A blank canvass of a memory of a home(land) that invites everyone to draw in their own conclusions. All of them true and entirely wrong. [read more]
A testament to the inexplicability of mourning, and the therapeutic nature of art. In this case, the art of the moving image, the most conjuring art of all. The camera becomes a dignified way to navigate the grieving process, to share it. There is a great generosity in One More Time With Feeling. This is film as communion, echo of a longing, an evocation of love in that eternal painfully human quest to transcend death. [read more]
It was the humanity of the delivery of divinity that was the key to Callas's impact - and the way she knew, by some uncanny ability, just how to channel an archetype. Seeing her in Pasolini's Medea, even just for a few screen seconds, shook my soul, if not my world. [read more]