Sunday, March 2, 2014

Discovery News on this year's nominated documentaries

The Academy Awards are tonight, which means it's time for me to share either my take or someone elses on the nominees in the categories and genres I care about.  I'll start with the nominees for Best Documentary Feature and pass along what Discovery News had to say about three films up for that award, "The Square," "The Act of Killing," and "Cutie and the Boxer."

First, Screening Room: Egypt's Fight for "The Square."

The Oscar-nominated movie "The Square" captures the events that took place when a group of Egyptian activists demanded for President Mubarak to step down.

Since then, the Egyptian Revolution has become a different revolution to many. Not only is this happening during our lifetime, but much of it is broadcasted on the internet for the world to see. Laci took time out to watch this intense documentary and tells you why it's so historic.
This looks familiar, as the recent revolution in the Ukraine followed a very similar path.  The difference is that a neighboring major power didn't interfere in a very visible way, such as Russia is doing right now.  On that note, follow over the jump for part of a relevant press release I included in last night's Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday (715 New Exoplanets) on Daily Kos, followed by DNews's reviews of the other two films and my opinions on this category.

Here's the link and excerpt from Michigan State University: With friends like these, who needs democracy?
From Ethiopia to Nicaragua, countries that go through civil war are much less likely to become democratic if the winning side gets help from rival nations, a Michigan State University political scientist argues.

In a new study examining democratization after civil wars since World War II, Michael Colaresi found the vast majority of groups that eventually took power failed to establish democratic governments if those groups took money or weapons from a foreign enemy during the war.

Receiving such aid can create mistrust among the nation’s citizens and make it more difficult for the new regime to institute a democracy, which requires public consent for effective governance, said Colaresi, professor of political science.

“Leaders want to stay in power,” Colaresi said. “If they try to build democratic institutions, they would then need public support and trust to continue to govern, which is no easy task if you have received support from enemies the public does not trust.”
This does not bode well for Ukraine.

Next, Reliving Genocide in "The Act Of Killing" -Screening Room.

The documentary "The Act of Killing" follows the stories of some of the top death-squad leaders as they reenact the Indonesian killings of 1965-66. This critically acclaimed film is hard to watch, as these individuals are celebrated as heroes today, so Trace took some time to watch and review the documentary on this week's Screening Room.
Tying this film into the latest research on sociopathy and psychopathy is a clever touch and puts the film in the proper scientific light for DNews, if not for the politics.

This concludes the political documentaries that DNews reviewed.  Too bad, as I would be very interested in their take on the use of technology in "Dirty Wars."  However, it's not the last film they reviewed.  Trace promised a review of a happy film.  This isn't it, but it's close: Screening Room: The Crazy World of "Cutie and the Boxer."

The Academy Award nominated documentary, "Cutie and the Boxer," explores the life and marriage of artist Ushio Shinohara and his wife Noriko. Almost 40 years later, Noriko is tired of living in poverty and having her own art pushed aside. This week on Screening Room, Anthony watches and reviews this critically acclaimed film.
Out of the three films DNews has reviewed, I'd pick "The Square."  However, the one nominee I haven't mentioned, "20 Feet from Stardom," which is about the lives of backup singers and the biggest box office hit of the bunch, is the one I think will win.  Indiewire's opinion is very close to mine in this category.
Will win: “The Square” Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer
Could win: “20 Feet from Stardom” Nominees to be determined
Should win: “The Act of Killing”Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sørensen
Shoulda been here: "Stories We Tell"
My major disagreement is what film should have been here.  It's "Blackfish."  That should come as no surprise to readers of this blog.

No comments:

Post a Comment