documentary

[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


Sherpa

March 31, 2016

One wonders if our addiction to the ludicrous disaster fantasies of superhero films makes us more or less susceptible to real disaster stories? Jennifer Peedom’s documentary, Sherpa, was filmed one year before the earthquake that struck Nepal on 25 April 2015, but it shows a community that had already endured its share of trauma. Peedom … More


How to Change the World

September 19, 2015

There are some big egos and life-changing traumas on display in How to Change the World, a documentary about the early years of Greenpeace, which focuses on the group’s first leader, the late Robert Hunter. For the most part Jerry Rothwell’s film celebrates the idealism, and surprising successes, of a group of young people who … More


Fabergé – A Life of its Own

August 22, 2015

And now, a word from our sponsor. That could be the opening line of Fabergé: A Life of its Own, an overview of a fascinating subject that manages to sound like an extended advertisement for the brand. The film is credited to no fewer than seven countries – the home nations of leading Fabergé collectors. … More