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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Child Exploitation > Vietnam > Children Of The Mist (2021/Film Movement)/Kentridge & Dumas In Conversation (2009/Icarus)/Ruth Weiss: One More Step West Is The Sea (2021/IndiePix/all DVDs)

Children Of The Mist (2021/Film Movement)/Kentridge & Dumas In Conversation (2009/Icarus)/Ruth Weiss: One More Step West Is The Sea (2021/IndiePix/all DVDs)

Picture: C Sound: C/C+/C+ Extras: C+/C+/C- Documentaries: B-/C+/C+

Here's the latest in documentary releases...

Ha Le Diem's Children Of The Mist (2021) is a documentary that is more of a docudrama as we see the life of a young 12-year-old gal, its ups and downs, but with the ugly twist of a horrific thing called 'bride kidnapping' with underage females being abducted and used. There is much to say and much that is obvious, but all societies have child exploitation, yet it tends to be more accepted in certain cultures and especially where females are involved.

The director actually stays with the young gal's family for three years to show, reveal and expose all the ups, downs and madness that ensues. The result is an honest, live and alive work that brings light to things hidden for far too long and I can see why this has had the positive, welcome reaction it has. This could help change things for the better, but more people need to see and hear about this one. Definitely try to see it if you can handle it and tell everyone you know about it, because it is that important.

Catherine Meyburgh's Kentridge & Dumas In Conversation (2009) has contemporary artists Marlene Dumas and William Kentridge hanging together, starting by just eating and talking, then really getting into detailed discussions about work, art and life. In most cases, two people talking for 72 minutes (and it was much longer to make this) could run into boredom and repetitiveness, but they actually have many t hings to say and share, so it is one of those cases where some may feel like they are eavesdropping.

Despite knowing the camera is there, they never worry about what they say, never act fake or phony and the result has its moments. We also see their work and the process to where they get to it, so it is worth a look for those interested. Some of the ground they cover has come up before in past documentaries on the art and art in particular, but especially as we post, their observations are suddenly even more valuable and important than when this was first released.

Finally, we have Thomas Antonic's Ruth Weiss: One More Step West Is The Sea (2021) covering the later life of one of the final survivors and artists of The Beat Generation, still doing her poetry readings, other art and even getting into a filmmaking project she made when she was much younger in the 1960s. A key portrait of the counterculture at a time when some are trying to erase its very existence, she speakers her mind.

Escaping the Nazis and coming to the U.S in the 1930s, she also has plenty of stories to tell, including how she knew all the other major, well-known counterculture figures and very well. It also gives us rare insight into that time and is a rare story of the women who were their, even contributing and not as well-remembered. Just, it was still a boy's club and that likely helped end its effectiveness, even down to giving us the dark side of the 1980s.

She was 90 when this was made.

Now for playback performance. The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on all three releases have good color, but also have detail issues, limits, some motion blur and other minor issues that make them a bit weak. All three also offer lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo mixes, sounding good. However, Mist (which has two of the same French soundtrack) is a little weaker, but has subtitles. I will add that under the circumstances, some of this plays better than it might have considering location audio issues and unexpected things that can pop up when being a documentarian.

Extras on all three releases offer trailers for other releases, save one for Ruth for itself, plus Mist adds one for itself, plus a director's Q&A.

- Nicholas Sheffo


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