Most Woodstock documentaries have that mental plague of the sixties, of not remembering well. The original Woodstock (1970) directed by Michael Wadleigh was all about sensory experience — mind blowing split screens and a stream of consciousness narrative that barely reflected the chronology of the actual events. It has taken fifty years but Barak Goodman and his PBS American Experience team have artfully done justice to the real Woodstock, not some mythic fantasy in our collective imagination.
Television thrives on the neurotic lunacy of hoarders, but rarely do we experience the passion and purpose of a methodical collector, who really made a difference. Matt Wolf’s masterful documentary, Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project takes us into the visionary psychic and cluttered physical worlds of a woman who turned her acquiring fury into a unique archive of contemporary history. Recorder had its world premiere at Tribeca Film Festival 2019.
Tribeca Film Festival 2019 presents a wide diversity of films, including screenings of branded entertainment. Branded programming is sponsored by a corporate marketing strategy, trying to connect with an audience in a richer way about the brand. On Friday, April 26, Tribeca X explored the intersection of entertainment and advertising. We had the chance to view one of the intriguing Episodic Finalists, History of Memory (Short Documentary), sponsored by The Garage at HP, and talk with the directors Sarah Klein and Tom Mason.
Following up on my previous What-to-See article, which focused on Archival Movies at Tribeca Film Festival, I am listing a few more Top Picks that I could not exclude. Here are some films that grabbed my attention during the pre-festival screenings, and which you cannot fail in seeing. I am recommending two Magic Realism films that are beautiful and dramatic, and two Activism films that are urgently important. Plus, one of the several Music Documentaries that I haven’t seen but is sure to be a winner.
It’s Spring in New York and that means one thing to cinephiles: Tribeca Film Festival. I will offer a select list of films that fall into a category defined by my own tangled and perhaps questionable perspective: Archival Movies. This seems to be an unofficial theme this year – films that begin and end with images of VCR tapes or microfilm, drawers full of old photographs or scrapbooks of newspaper clippings, etc. Archival materials are typical components of well-researched documentaries (and TFF is always wonderfully rich with documentaries), but this year the focus seems to be as much about the archival material itself as it is the subject of that material.
Last night everyone was indulging in the power manipulations of Game of Thrones, for the 8th season premiere. But the show now articulates its power struggles more as spectacle than crafted dialogue. Yes, Westeros has dragons, but Shakespeare has yet to make an appearance in their universe. The truly shocking words of domination last night came not from the Targaryens but from the return of Walter White, Omar of The Wire, and Batman, just an hour later on another HBO show, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.