documentary

Fahrenheit 11/9

October 25, 2018

Godwin’s Law states that the longer an on-line discussion continues the more likely it is that someone will mention Hitler. In Fahrenheit 11/9 it takes Michael Moore an hour-and-a-half to invoke Der Führer, but when he does there’s no holding back. We get newsreel footage of Hitler addressing a rally, but the voiceover comes from … More


Whitney

July 27, 2018

Whitney Houston’s story is horribly familiar – which doesn’t make it any less compelling. We’ve been to a very similar place with Amy (2015), Asif Kapadia’s documentary about doomed pop star, Amy Winehouse. We’ve been there with Whitney herself only last year, with Whitney: Can I Be Me, a documentary by Nick Broomfield and Rudi … More


The Gospel According to André

July 13, 2018

Those who watched The September Issue – the 2009 documentary that sparked a wave of fashion movies, will remember André Leon Talley as a larger-than-life presence in Vogue magazine’s inner circle. Loud, camp and flamboyant, Talley is the big black guy who seems to hang around the office doing nothing in particular. If Vogue’s uptight … More


[CENSORED]

June 15, 2018

One of the most intriguing entries in this year’s Sydney Film Festival was a documentary called [CENSORED]. It consists of 63 minutes of footage stitched together from bits cut out of films by the Australian censorship office from 1958 to 1971. Director, Sari Braithwaite, rummaged through almost 2,000 clips preserved and digitised at the National … More


Human Flow

March 16, 2018

Human Flow is a relentless film about a relentless problem. There have always been refugees – people displaced from their homes by war, persecution or natural disaster – but we are living through an era when this activity has accelerated in many different parts of the world. Ai Weiwei takes us on a global tour … More


Whiteley

May 13, 2017

It’s a happy fluke that the release of James Bogle’s documentary on Brett Whiteley coincides with an exhibition by Vincent Van Gogh at the National Gallery of Victoria. Of the many artists Whiteley idolised and copied, Van Gogh was his all-time favourite. They were on first-name terms, with Whiteley always referring to his hero as … More


The Beatles: Eight Days a Week

September 16, 2016

Apart from a one-off appearance on the rooftop of their London offices in 1969, the Beatles played their last gig at Candlestick Park, San Francisco, on 29 August 1966. It was a shambles, coming at the end of a tour that had destroyed the group’s appetite for live performance. They had become tired of the … More


Highly Strung

May 19, 2016

In the rarefied world of classical music the blood-letting is not so obvious, but it can still get nasty, as shown by Scott Hicks’s documentary, Highly Strung. This film has at least four different narratives that don’t always interact smoothly. The first is a portrait of the Australian String Quartet, beginning in late 2013, when … More


Wide Open Sky

April 14, 2016

It would be a shame not to mention a new Australian documentary released this week. Lisa Nicol’s Wide Open Sky, follows the indomitable Michelle Leonard, as she rounds up country children to take part in her annual choir project, the Moorambilla Voices. It’s a completely hands-on activity that sees Leonard not only conducting the choir, … More


Where to Invade Next

April 7, 2016

Donald Trump says he will make America great again. Michael Moore has plenty of suggestions about where to start. In the fanciful opening to Where to Invade Next, it’s not Trump that asks Moore for advice, but the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who are concerned that they’ve bungled every engagement since 1945. They need a … More