(2014*)/Milestones + Ice
(1975, 1969/*both Icarus DVD Sets)/Revolution:
Art For A New World
(2018/Film Movement DVD)/Water
Wars (2010/Cinema Libre
B (DVDs: C+) Sound: B- (DVDs: C+) Extras: C-/C/D/C/C Main
Programs: B- (DVDs: B)
group of documentaries take a raw look at our world, span several
decades and tend to be ahead of their time in seeing where we are
going and not always in a good way....
(2019) comes from Russia, but us shot in several locales (including
Miami in the middle of one of its many storms), yet has no dialogue
and is trying to make a point of today of how the material that
covers most of the surface of planet earth is coming and going versus
how it might have even been ten years before. This includes plenty
of ice (still and breaking up) and is not trying to be Nanook
Of The North,
but cannot escape its shadow at times.
90 minutes, it is not the first time a mostly wordless
documentary/special interest release like this has happened in the
sound film era, et al, but it is interesting to watch and is worth a
look if you think you can enjoy the silence.
(2014) is a remarkable six-part documentary series that examines in
great detail, the rise of free markets, commodification, its various
implementations and the ideologies behind them. Very diverse and
wide-ranging, James Kenneth Galbraith and Noam Chomsky are among the
many great, smart and informative interviewees as the program also
has plenty of stills, vintage stock footage and history to tell you
most everything you could imagine.
one runs over 300 minutes, so make sure you have the time. Once you
start watching, it will be hard to stop, so well is this one done.
Despite being 15 years old, it holds up very well, but IO wonder if
it is time for a seventh episode.
are two works from the counterculture era that are very interesting
and worth revisiting. This single release set offers the mini-series
Robert Kramer & John Douglas' Milestones
(1975) about what happened when the 1960s and its ideology ended and
what those pushing for change did, though many were rightly still
pushing for the end of Vietnam and Civil Rights, even with Nixon in
the White House and of course, that was about to change. It is a
very important time capsule and is amazing these people were able to
allow their private lives top be captured and not get 'camera
frightened' or 'fake' like the so-called 'reality TV' we see today.
(1969) arrived a few years before and is part of a series of
fictional works (some of which were actually science fiction, but not
this one) imagines how a now/near-future New York City is out of
quasi-fascist control and how the revolutionaries are about to
finally over throw the (then-analog) federal U.S. government, how
that will happen, but also how they are at odds with each other
within the revolution to pull it off. It holds its own for 128
minutes, it shows its age in parts, but boldness all the way when
things were so bad via the Vietnam era that who knew what would
happen next. It makes sense to pair these two and not just because
of their director.
Art For A New World
(2018) offers the new art movement in the once-new Soviet Union and
how for the 15 years before Josef Stalin came to power and destroyed
everything, the Soviet Avant-Garde movement defined the alternate
world the USSR was trying to build in opposition to The West,
Capitalism and any other state (including third world countries) as a
beacon of a possible 'success' that would show the rest of the world
a 'better' way to a 'better' tomorrow' and from what we see, many of
its artists believed it.
of what they did (including extending to early Soviet Cinema) is
still influential today and might look familiar at times, this
documentary has many great surviving archival examples of a world
that was disrupted by WWII forever and whose lost ideas likely even
allowed the Soviet Union to eventually collapse as it would a few
decades after Stalin's reign of terror. This runs 85 minutes and is
always interesting. The art is a plus and some of it, elaborate.
we have Jim Burrough's Water
(2010) was mostly shot in Bangladesh before the current, horrific
nightmare of events that are happening in late 2019 as we post this
coverage started to happen, they were always dealing with poverty (as
The Beatles' George Harrison made known) and this is the country most
immediately affected by a crisis that has grown much worse in the
decade since this first went into production.
Sheen narrates the impactful 55 minutes (this ought to be expanded
and updated, with Sheen adding more narration) and was more
surprising then when it first arrived. Now that it is a more
well-known international problem for places all over the place, it
becomes an important record and not just another 'I told you so'
work, though it was ahead of many on the subject. Especially at its
short length, it is worth checking out.
1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Aquarela
is a new HD shoot and easily the best transfer on this list, though
it could have even better color range and detail, while the
anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Capitalism
and anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on Revolution
more than hold their own as more recent productions.
rest of the DVDs are here in 1.33 X 1 framing with Milestones
both shot on 16mm film and Water
on digital standard-definition video. Despite all those differences
between DVDs, they are even out in playback performance with good
shots at times and off shots in others, including archival vintage
stock film and analog & digital videotape footage. The film can
have scratches and some light debris, while the video can have flaws
that include video noise, video banding, telecine flicker, tape
scratching, cross color, faded color and tape damage.
for sound, Aquarela
actually has a Dolby Atmos 11.1 (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 for older systems)
lossless mix and though we get no dialogue, little music and location
audio, it is an interesting choice that has its moments and outdoes
the lossy Dolby Digital sound on all the DVDs. Capitalism
(better in this edition with the red and white cover versus an older
edition) and Water
has lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound, Milestones
have older monophonic sound represented here in lossy Dolby Digital
2.0 Mono and Revolution
has both lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 and somewhat lesser, lossy Dolby
Digital 2.0 Stereo.
include a nicely illustrated booklet on the Capitalism
mini-series in its DVD case, Aquarela
adds a Trailer, Revolution
has 20 minutes of Bonus Footage and Water
adda an Original Theatrical Trailer, Video Bio of Kazi Nazrul Islam
(National Poet of Bangladesh and author of Oh
My Deep River),
Music Video for Earth
and a Behind The Scenes featurette on how this was made.