Archive for the ‘Documentary’ Category

Photo by Robin Locke Monda

Pat Buchanan’s recurring role on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” has got to be some kind of border violation. And I mean that in the best possible way! It’s great to watch Buchanan trying to apply nuance to his irrational, nativist positions in the face of thinking, intelligent people from both the left and the right. The “Morning Joe” show is proof that, (1) not all Republicans are nut jobs, and (2) not all Democrats shoot themselves in the foot.

MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” models Democrats and Republicans communicating with intelligence, humor and a willingness to listen. Think what could be accomplished in a truly cooperative congressional environment! We could disarm the big mouths of the radical right while repairing America’s foundation and its vision for the future. (more…)

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Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow

—The Hollow Men, T.S. Eliot

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I recently viewed Amir Bar-Lev’s 2007 documentary, My Kid Could Paint That. It’s a compelling work that’s as painful to watch as a car wreck. It starts out as a fairly straight-forward narrative of how one anonymous little girl becomes the center of a scary media circus. However, more is afoot. Is it a story about the myth of genius? Is it a story about the meaning of abstract art? Is it a story about the role of media in the selling of art? Is it a story about art market mythology? Is it a story about parents manipulating their kid? Is it the story of a kid whose behavior changes because the camera is there? Is it a story about how the media exploits the story to create more stories? Is it a story where there is no “true” story? Is it a story about the documentarian who becomes part of the story? Is it a story about the failure of the documentary to fulfill its ethical mandate? Yes. (more…)

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One of my fellow students in the Integrated Media Arts MFA program at Hunter College, Jonas Pariente, is in India this year to document a remarkable Jewish community, Bene Israel. The community has been in continuous residence for over 2,000 years and is believed to be the oldest of its kind in India. They claim descendence from 14 Palestinian Jews who came to India after their ship was wrecked in 175 B.C.E. Not surprisingly, Bene Israel’s connection to Jewish traditions and practices became attenuated over the centuries. In the 1700s, British missionaries discovered them and reported on the community’s observance of three basic Jewish practices: circumcision, observing Saturday as a day of rest and the recitation of a portion of “Shema Israel.” (more…)

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