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A weekend for docs

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This weekend was full of my favorite movie genre – documentaries!

As previously mentioned I attended the Alexis Fosse Mackintosh documentary Confessions of a Sorta Str8 Drag King at the 20th Vancouver Queer Film Festival. Unlike other films by Alexis this was a light hearted documentary done “Just for fun” in her own words. Needless to say after watching such a quality doc I walked out of the theater craving more. As a result Sunday night I went to my local video store and picked up a few docs to enjoy with dinner.

The first of three I rented was titled Stupidity The Movie. In this highly entertaining film, documentarian Albert Nerenberg asks one simple question: What is stupidity? It’s much harder to answer than you might think, for, as Einstein theorized, the universe and stupidity are the only things that are infinite–and he had his doubts about the former. Amazingly, there has been no real academic study on stupidity, and there are only a handful of serious books on the topic, but that doesn’t stop the film from blazing forward. The result is a sometimes funny, sometimes terrifying look at the human race and the stupid things it has done over the course of time.

After a an amusing film such as Stupidity I decided to get a little more serious and watch Darwin’s Nightmare. The larger, yet less obvious scope of the story explores the gun trade to Africa. Russian pilots fly guns into Africa, then fly fish back out to Europe. The consequences of this are explored, including the pan-African violence propagated by constant flow of weapons into the continent. If it is a “survival of the fittest” world, as Darwin concluded, then the capitalist interests that fund the gun runners are climbing the evolutionary ladder on the backs of the Africans. Much like the foreseeable extinction of the Lake Victoria perch, and death of Lake Victoria itself, the Africans are in grave jeopardy, even as they survive in the only ways they know how.

Truth be told Darwin’s Nightmare, although and excellent film, is also extremely depressing. Due to this I chose not to explore a new documentary with my third and final choice, but to go back to the film that caused me to truly love documentaries, Fog of War. Although Fog of War is not a ‘feel good movie’ it is so good that, in my humble opinion, no documentary released to date can touch it in terms of quality. In the film Robert S. McNamara discusses his experiences and lessons learned during his tenure as Secretary of Defense under John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. He talks about his work as a bombing statistician during World War II, his brief tenure as president of Ford Motor Company, and the Kennedy administration’s triumph during the Cuban Missle Crisis. However, the film focuses primarily on his failures in Vietnam. The theme of the film are his “eleven lessons” learned during this time. Some of these include improving military efficiency, understanding your enemy, and the frustrations of trying to deal with, and unsuccessfully trying to change, human nature.

If you have never watched a documentary before, or have but never enjoyed one, please by all means rent Fog of War, you wont regret it.

Thanks to IMDB and its contributors, as well as Stupidity The Movie’s website for providing me with synopses for these films.

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3 Responses

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  1. […] Original post by superuwatchers […]

  2. […] August 26th, 2008 Today I was going continue discussing documentaries seeing as I have been on a documentary kick lately. After batting around the idea of discussing green docs (the original title of this blog […]

  3. I loved Stupidity too. Disturbing for sure.

    Bonnie

    August 31, 2008 at 8:39 am


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