The narrator/filmmaker is Peter Adair (Word is Out) and the disease is the HIV virus. Adair has asked 11 people - women and men, gay and straight, from all walks of life - to share their stories. Alternately irreverent, candid and soulful, this stirring film is not about being sick; it is about being true to the emotional complexity of being mortal.
Legendary filmmaker Les Blank's newest, toe-tapping film treats us to a portrait of a musical Louisiana couple committed to celebrating and preserving Cajun culture.
"Plena" is in Puerto Rico what the blues are in the U.S.: a musical expression abounding with romance, daily news and personal sagas. As the Puerto Rican community grows on the mainland, the infectious rhythms of Puerto Rico's most original contribution to Caribbean urban music are celebrated with gusto.
Every year 2,500 sets of twins gather in Twinsburg, Ohio for Twins Days. Most are dressed alike, many live together, and all seem to have rhyming names. Standing out amidst the lighthearted contests and games are filmmaker Sue Marcoux and her sister Michele, separated by 3,000 miles and a lifetime of anti-twin behavior.
For 99 years, the residents of Salamanca, N.Y. have rented the land under their homes for an average of $1/year form the Seneca Indians, under the terms of a lease imposed by Congress. Now, as the lease is about to expire, a century of bad business must be renegotiated. Chana Gazit and David Steward's film captures the unfolding drama as the survival of an American town and justice for the Senecas appear to be in conflict.
A West Virginia community is deeply divided over potentially life and death questions. The local chemical plant produces the same deadly toxins that caused the disaster in Bhopal, India and a series of accidents has residents alarmed. The area's fragile economy is dependent on the jobs provided by the plant. The efforts to come to grips with this conflict form the dramatic core of Mimi Pickering and Anne Lewis Johnson's timely, probing film.
The Exxon Valdez disaster left far more than a soiled coastline in its wake. Grief, suspicion, anger and greed oozed through the small, formerly pristine town of Valdez. The human toll of an environmental nightmare is evoked in a haunting film which Exxon and the City of Valdez attempted, unsuccessfully, to suppress.
The camera moves through a Minnesota corn field and finds a photograph of a suburban tract clothes-pinned to a cornstalk. Layered with visual and emotional paradoxes, "Turn Here Sweet Corn" searches for meaning beyond cliches and nostalgia, as a family farm is lost to speculative suburban real estate developers. Helen De Michiel juxtaposes innovative video techniques with slices of a simpler, threatened life, in an emotional and personal reflection on the colonization of cornfields by shopping malls.
Marlon Rigg' "Tongues Untied" rises above the 'deeply personal' - far above it - in exploring what it means to be black and gay. Angry, funny, erotic and poetic by turns ( and sometimes all at once), it jumps from interview to confession, music video to documentary to poem. Craig Seligman, San Francisco Examiner A daring, visionary work that speaks with the eloquence of barbed wire. Steve Dollar, Atlanta Journal Constitution
From the Free Speech Movement to the anti-war protests to the last stand over People's Park, Berkeley California became synonymous with a generation's quest for social, political, and cultural transformation. Six years in the making, Mark Kitchell's extraordinary chronicle of those years was named Best Documentary of 1990 by the National Society of Film Critics and was nominated for an Oscar in 1991.
In "A Little Vicious", a pit bull, his elderly master and a dog trainer/philosopher form a curious love triangle. Elegantly crafted, wryly narrated by Kevin Bacon, and infused with a blend of humor and pathos, Immy Humes' dog-umentary is a quirky, off-beat gem of a film.
Whether the subject is sex, death, madness or God, "The Big Bang" never lets up in its weird and wonderful search for the meaning of it all.
"Maria's Story" introduces us to a remarkable and engaging woman, a dynamic 39 year-old Salvadoran peasant - a wife and mother of three who has become a charismatic guerrilla leader. Short and stocky, possessed of an inner radiance, a ready wit, a healing touch, a strong intellect and matter-of-fact common sense, Maria Serrano is a kind of ultimate earth mother, a natural poet who can compare the flowering of revolution with giving birth. Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times
Ten million families were separated between North and South Korea when the Korean War ended in 1953. Beginning with the story of one man's journey to reunite with his sister in North Korea, award-winning filmmakers Christine Choy (Who Killed Vincent Chin?) and JT Takagi reveal the personal, social and political dimensions of the last divided nation on earth.
Romance novels comprise nearly half the paperback books sold in America. Chiffon-shrouded, jewel-laden, flower-bedecked Barbara Cartland has written hundreds of them. And filmmaker George Csicsery has given his heart to this fascinating subculture where all the women are beautiful, all the men are mysterious and all the endings are happy.
Some of the best examples of the recent crop of provocative short films.