In The Attic
Rainbow & Kumu Hula: Keepers Of A Culture
(1987, 1989/Robert Mugge/MVD DVD)/Olvidados
Libre Blu-ray)/The Square
(2013/MVD Visual DVD)/The
Storm Makers (2014/First
C/C/C+/B-/C+/C Sound: C/C/C/C+/C/C+ Extras: B-/C/D/C/B-/C-
Main Programs: B/B-/B/C+/B/B-
In the Attic
part of a really nice 10-DVD set called the IndiePix
Mix 10 Collection
time for the holiday season & sold through Amazon here at
a new round of documentaries and a related political drama
for you to know about...
Pincus & Lucia Small's Axe In
The Attic (2007) tells us
the ugly history behind the madness that was unleashed when Hurricane
Katrina arrived and the U.S. Government not only did nothing, but (by
denying people supplies like water and food) made things much, much
worse. The co-directors try not to get too involved, but it is hard
when the people interviewed are in such dire straits and years later,
certain agencies are STlLL stonewalling people who have done nothing
wrong and deserve the help.
also shows how backwards the U.S. Government and country have become
since the 1980s, another excellent record of how bad things are in
ways mainstream news has miserably failed to do their job since the
1980s and you sit watching constantly asking 'why aren't we being
told about this?' when you have military men threatening to shoot
good people just for trying to get water to hurricane victims? This
is as must-see as anything on the list and is definitely worth going
out of your way for.
include Filmmaker Commentary with updates, Interactive Journey Map,
Film Festival Q&A Sessions, 30+ minutes of Deleted Scenes and 2
short films: Fast Women, Slow Horses and Lower Ninth Ward that tie
into the main program very well.
(2008) involves the first time a woman EVER ran for political office
in Afghanistan and that it happened as a public backlash against
Taliban rule. Though she met with limited success at first among
other resistance, Dr. Massouda Jalal took on 16 other candidates to
make her mark, make a point and help try to save and love the country
of her origin. She had energy, joy, personality and what it takes to
win. Can she?
a male-dominated society that needs to change and is increasingly
unsustainable, the work makes some great points that have only become
more relevant and pointed in the 7+ years since its release. I was
impressed by the boldness necessary to make this and Jalal's boldness
to risk herself to get things done. This should age very well,
especially with upcoming events.
(strangely NOT listed on the back of the DVD case) include a Making
Of featurette, Slideshow, Trailer and an 8+ minutes promo for the
Mugge's Hawaiian Rainbow
(1987) & Kumu
Hula: Keepers Of A Culture
(1989) are solid companion films running about 90 minutes each that
show the music, dance and culture of Hawaii in smooth, extended
detail with a sense of joy you rarely see in anything these days.
You could also think of both as everything you always wanted to know
about these islands and their people but were afraid or didn't know
to ask, so detailed they are. With interviews, people performing and
interacting, I vaguely remember seeing these a long time ago. If you
are interested, you'll like them a lot, but if not, you might find
them trying. They also make great reference material.
are unfortunately no extras.
is the one drama on our list, but it is as political as anything here
showing the results of the infamous CIA-backed Operation Condor (an
operation using dictators in South America to fight communism, even
if it was resorting to torture, kidnapping and the like during the
Cold War) specifically dealing with Bolivia and focuses on a small
group of people who were not necessarily involved with the more
extreme groups, even if they were part of a socialist and/or
communist discourse to vote in their own personal and economic
of the facts are likely on the accurate side, but the film cannot
decide whether it is a drama and melodrama (as if only the U.S. and
CIA ever did anything like this; we never hear anything about Stalin)
and a docudrama about what happened. As a result, the film becomes
very uneven and even awkward in the torture scenes which are not as
potent as a result, yet can be graphic, but also manages not to
become torture porn. However, its journalistic integrity is
undermined in its 112 minutes running time despite good acting and
casting. I also did not like the visual look of the whole thing,
which rang phony and worked against it. Still, it was worth a look
for something different and that it was political at all.
Unfortunately, it is also a bit cliched.
include Theatrical Trailers, a Making Of featurette and a Photo
Noujaim's The Square
(2013) is an Emmy-Winning, Oscar nominated documentary about how bad
thing have really become in Egypt. If you wonder why you've heard
the name President Mubarak discussed often on the news during the
international politics segments, he stepped down from power in 2011
to allow the military to start running the country. Turns out they
are running it into the ground hiding behind Islam (making it a
national religion) and up to torture, kidnapping, murder and much
more. The title refers to the people who gathered at the title
locale and demanded to have their country back... then were tricked.
Should they have stayed until they got what they really wanted?
but it might not matter. We meet protesters, victims of the military
who had been beaten & abused and along with the extras, shows us
the terrible shape Egypt is sadly in. Will things change for the
better? Can a real leader take over and wrestle the country away
from a militarist police state? We'll see, but this is really well
made and a must-see for those interested in the subject. Good to be
include over 90 minutes of Deleted Scenes with more unseen footage.
Suon's The Storm Makers
(2014) is the never-long-enough (at 65 minutes) documentary about
child sexploitation in Cambodia and how authorities there let it
continue, haunted for me in particular by the genocide that followed
the end of the Vietnam fiasco when the Khmer Rouge took over the
country in one of the ugliest reigns of terror (murder, torture, et
al) in our time and all time. It is like the country never recovered
from that, though great people have done great things there to make
nightmare has likely always been going on there (wonder how the Khmer
Rouge handled this on their watch, as if they cared) and this even
has children being sold into slavery in this day and age. That
sounds naïve, but it is from outrage we should never stop having
because of how 100% unacceptable it is. It is a solid place to start
exposing this issue, though it happens all over the U.S., so this is
a worldwide problem still not being addressed enough. We meet
16-year-old Aya, who was one of the children sold, making the case
for the crisis there very explicitly. Well done, I hope this becomes
a series of exposes.
trailer is the only extras.
to the raw low-def (even analog) footage in the documentaries,
playback is often rough as expected to see what is really going on,
so it is odd that the 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image
transfer on Olvidados is the best performer here, but has its
share of issues (raw footage purposely looking degraded, bad black
and white imitation, some phony shots, more darkness in the frame
than their ought to be) that stops it from being the runaway best
entry here, though it still is. Both 1.33 X 1 Hawaiian films
are shot on film (likely 16mm), we get some softness and aliasing
errors holding back what should be two films that eventually deserve
HD upgrades. Square has enough good shots to tie it for
second place, but all the remaining documentaries have sometimes bad
digital copies of older digital or analog video analog
videotape flaws including video noise, video banding, telecine
flicker, tape scratching, cross color issues, faded color and tape
Square, the rest of the DVDs are here in anamorphically
enhanced 1.78 X 1 image presentations, save the 1.33 X 1 on
Frontrunner, which joins Axe and Storm as the
poorest performers, though they remain as for real as anything here.
the releases have lossy sound including the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1
on the Olvidados
Blu-ray and Square
DVD, but Square
is simply spreading the sound around and has location issues, to the
Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Storm
actually sounds better (partly by luck?) and the lossy Dolby Digital
2.0 Stereo on Frontrunner,
for second/last place.