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My Crasy Life
Directed by Jean-Pierre Gorin
1992

Part of Criterion’s Eclipse series Three Popular Films by Jean-Pierre Gorin, My Crasy Life is a documentary about the S.O.S. “Sons of Samoa” gang based in Long Beach, CA. 

Prior to his documentaries on Southern California, Gorin was known for collabing with fellow New Wave director Jean-Luc Godard during his radical lefty phase as part of the “Dziga Vertov Group”. Together they put out the film Tout Va Bien starring Jane Fonda, as well as the short film Letter To Jane, where both he and Godard literally just show a photo of Jane Fonda in Vietnam and they talk about it for like an hour. Fortunately, this documentary is nowhere near as pretentious and is pretty much the total opposite.

The documentary itself is a mix of candid interviews, COPS style footage, a bizarre HAL-9000 talking cop car (?) and staged events where the gang cheeses in front of the camera and tries to look like their life is a never-ending Snoop video. There’s even a scene, arguably the best scene, where they’re like 20 deep in a recording studio and then after a few bars go into an a capella of “Teenager In Love" which instantly makes them the most adorable thugs second to this photo of Tupac holding a puppy.

I loved this movie because it does what great documentaries do and that’s shed a light on a particular topic or subject that would normally go unnoticed and captures it in the most vivid of detail. In this case, it takes the subject of 90’s South Central L.A. crips but shows it in the perspective of Samoans in Long Beach. This film also might be the most hood thing Criterion has put out and for that alone, it’s great. It makes me wish that somewhere out there exists a similar artsy documentary on the Freaknik concerts but sadly I don’t think there is.

Before D.A. Pennebaker gave us an insider look at Bill Clinton’s 1992 Presidential campaign with The War Room, he, along with fellow documentarians Richard Leacock and Albert Maysles, introduced the world to their “direct cinema" approach of filmmaking with Primary: a fly-on-the-wall documentary about the 1960 Wisconsin primary election between John F. Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey. 

Primary was highly groundbreaking for being the first film or news media to have such unfettered access and journalistic coverage of the operations behind a Presidential campaign.

The War Room comes out on blu-ray today meaning you can now take in James Carville’s swag in glorious 1080p HD
(more info via Criterion)

The War Room comes out on blu-ray today meaning you can now take in James Carville’s swag in glorious 1080p HD

(more info via Criterion)

Soul Train: The Hippest Trip in America
2010

Soul Train was the best. RIP Don Cornelius!

Culture Hip Hop à New York
1994

French documentary on 90’s NY hip-hop culture. Mandatory viewing!

via egotripland

Page One: Inside the New York TimesDirected by Andrew Rossi2011 
Hey this movie is very relevant to our times in how we create and distribute media and the role of the journalist in the digital age. Go see it!
more info via Magnolia Pictures

Page One: Inside the New York Times
Directed by Andrew Rossi
2011 

Hey this movie is very relevant to our times in how we create and distribute media and the role of the journalist in the digital age. Go see it!

more info via Magnolia Pictures

And if you haven’t seen it yet, Astra Taylor’s 2005 documentary ZIZEK! is available online for free on Google Video. As the kids say, swag him the fuck out.

And if you haven’t seen it yet, Astra Taylor’s 2005 documentary ZIZEK! is available online for free on Google Video. As the kids say, swag him the fuck out.

How to Eat Your Watermelon in White Company (and Enjoy It) Trailer

EVERYONE SHOULD SEE THIS. THIS MAN IS INCREDIBLE. Also: best documentary name ever?

The Mona Lisa Curse
by Robert Hughes
2008

Forget art school. Save your money for art supplies and drugs and just watch this documentary instead. WARNING: After seeing this you will most likely become an even more jaded starving artist.

JUDAS!
via fuckyeahsubtitles

JUDAS!

via fuckyeahsubtitles

Objectified lost posterdesigned by Build
I regret not seeing this while I was in SXSW earlier this year. Oh well, $20 pre-order with a free tote is a great deal though.
via Objectified / buy it HERE

Objectified lost poster
designed by Build

I regret not seeing this while I was in SXSW earlier this year. Oh well, $20 pre-order with a free tote is a great deal though.

via Objectified / buy it HERE

Advertisement for the Rolling Stones documentary Gimme Shelter
via babylonfalling

Advertisement for the Rolling Stones documentary Gimme Shelter

via babylonfalling

Gimme ShelterDirector(s): Albert and David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin1970
Finally picked this up a few weeks ago when B&N had their 50% off Criterion DVD’s sale. This, along with their other film Salesman, are absolute essential documentaries.
via pdvmorris

Gimme Shelter
Director(s): Albert and David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin
1970

Finally picked this up a few weeks ago when B&N had their 50% off Criterion DVD’s sale. This, along with their other film Salesman, are absolute essential documentaries.

via pdvmorris