Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Just came back from the first press screenings for the Documentary sidebar to the annual Rendezvous With French Cinema series that has become an annual event at the Walter Reade Theater. The two docs screened today were: "Le Filmeur" by Alain Cavalier, and "La Moindre des choses" by Nicolas Philibert. They proved to be fascinating, especially in conjunction with each other, because they showed how "documentary" can be such an elastic term. "Le Filmeur" was more a diary film, a very intimate look at the filmmaker's life, especially as he battles with skin cancer. And Cavalier uses a digital camera for its immediacy and intimacy. With "La Moindre des choses," Philibert's approach is more "traditional," in that he uses 16mm equipment (with a small crew) to film a specific "event" (in this case, the staging of a play by the inmates of La Borde, one of the most famous psychiatric institutes in France).

Interesting to see how documentary is changing because of technology. ("Le Filmeur" was made in 2005; "La Moindre des choses" was made in 1996.) This sidebar series, "To Reality and Back: Classic and Contemporary French Documentaries," in addition to The Museum of Modern Art's annual "Documentary Fortnight," should prove to be a really enlightening look at how "reality" is being seen in today's media (rather than exploited by the commercial media). So that's what's on the agenda for the next few weeks.


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