Sundance Diary, Part 3: Documentaries that do not disappoint

AO Scott, our critic at large, is keeping a diary as he participates in the Virtual Sundance Film Festival, which runs from Wednesday. Read part 1 And part 2.

Saturday, 12 noon It is currently two degrees warmer in Brooklyn than Park City. In theory, who can stay at home Beauty The experience feels more authentic, but on the other hand I have not left home since the festival started. It is not a completely solitary undertaking. My wife is a hardcore screening partner until she gets out of sleep. Sometimes our daughter joins us. Dogs go through everything. Cat hates movies.

Every film festival is self-curated to some extent. No one can see everything, and the broad judgments and thematic statements that characterize the coverage of these events are always based on partial information. Perhaps it is the absence of audio discussion, a familiar domestic setting or technique, but this version of Sundance seems particularly subjective.

For whatever reason, I have watched most of the documentaries in the last 24 hours. That was not the plan at all, but on Friday there was a way to fire from Zimbabwe to Sweden to California and from politics to celebrity. And every time I had a choice between fantasy and reality, a window on the world because it curiously felt like a more appealing form of escapism.

I started with camilla nielsendirector, About the Zimbabwe presidential election of 2018, for the first time since the fall Robert Mugabe, Who ruled the South African country since 1980. Mugabe’s party, the Zenu-PF, remained under the control of both the government and the Election Commission. Nielsen and his crew followed their 40-year-old candidate with the opposition MDC Party, embedded with the theme of his former film “Democrat” Nelson Chamisa, Through meetings, rallies and an acute crisis. The way the film tackles the fragility of democracy and the increasing possibility of violence is a sort of home for this American viewer, who was both disturbing and humble.

I met “The most beautiful boy in the world“Sata, even more surprised. Directed by Christina Lindstrom and Christiane Petrie, this is a psychologically tested portrait of Bj√∂rn Andresen, who was cast as a teenager.Death in venice, Luchino Visconi’s 1971 adaptation of Thomas Mann Novella. The film presents a somber chronicle of drift and disaster, much of which is attributed – provocative, if not always persuasive – to the trauma of Andresen’s early fame. In search of how they were exploited and objected to in the name of art, the filmmakers test the boundary between intimacy and invasion, in a morally troubled area.

Friday’s clock ends “Bring your own brigade, “Lucy Walker’s relentless forensic examination into some of California’s most terrifying wild animals. The film’s first segment is an almost unbearable immersion in terror, including 911 calls and cellphone videos that capture real-time death and destruction. Walker, a The British transplant who is sensitive to his external condition is inspired by an effective mix of sympathy and intellectual curiosity as he tries to understand ecology, economics and politics of fire.

As the narrative changes from disaster to the aftermath – which is, essentially, a prelude to the next round of catastrophe – the scope broadens, even as the camera focuses on local events and personal stories. In a way that I can’t quite explain but I think when you see it, I’ll be clear, “Bring Your Own Brigade” strikes me as one of the early, definitive films about the current pandemic , A subject that Walker barely mentions.

As such, the film is not entirely without expectations. This is partly because there is something inherently optimistic, or at least non-pessimistic, in the act of making documentaries. This is a form that often leads to stories of conflict and perseverance, such as when my day began: Pedro’s “Rebellious heart, “About a group of nuns in the 1960s who defined the Archbishop of Los Angeles and the Vatican hierarchy in their determination to link religious commitment to the challenges of the times. Before this film, I made Sisters of I had never heard of The Immaculate Heart of Mary and now I can’t stop thinking about them. So I can continue going with documentaries for a while.

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