Documentary

Meet the Directors of a Documentary About Men Who Love Cats

The Internet loves nothing more than cats, but it’s rare that we look beyond the cute photos and memes to more seriously consider their place in our world. Flavorwire’s Highbrow Cat Week is an attempt to remedy that, with a series of pieces devoted to analyzing their impact on the cultural realm.

The crazy cat lady is one of the oldest and most persistent cat-related cultural stereotypes — the eccentric old spinster with a bazillion cats whose company she prefers to that of her fellow humans. Cats are traditionally identified as feminine, and they’re generally characterized as pets for women, while men have dogs. If this was ever reflective of reality, it certainly isn’t in the 21st century, but cat-loving men remain curiously underrepresented in both the media and in popular culture. Into this breach step Australian filmmakers Cam McCulloch and Ben John Smith, who are in the process of making a feature-length documentary called Cat Men. The film explores the relationship between male cat fanatics and their pets, and it promises to be fascinating viewing. Flavorwire spoke to the duo about machismo, stereotyping, and the folly of talking to deaf cats. … Read More

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Flavorpill Guide to This Week’s Top 10 New York Events

For our (unconscionably high) rent money, the best thing about living in NYC is its endless supply of fun, odd, and inspired cultural events — especially during the summer months. But with so many options, it can be hard to know where to even begin. To help you make sense of it all, Flavorpill Deputy Editor Mindy Bond shares the very best of what’s on offer this week. It’s just a taste of what you can find on the new Flavorpill, so if you like what you see, be sure to sign up… Read More

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‘The Source Family’ Documents a Counterculture Cult

In the late 1960s, the Source restaurant on Hollywood’s Sunset Strip became one of the most successful health-food eateries in the country, catering to free-spirited bohemians and public figures alike. The legendary SoCal establishment was the brainchild of Jim Baker, a force of nature who killed a man with his bare hands before he pulled a 180 and changed his name to Father Yod and later to Yahowa, “the sacred name of God.” It didn’t take long before the charismatic founding father of the spiritually inclined health-food movement attracted hordes of hippies who collectively created a full-fledged cult, not to mention a rock band. … Read More

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Eddie Murphy Is “Never Gonna Be Richard Pryor”: The Comedian’s Widow on Pryor’s Rivalries (And a Threesome)

If you invite Tracy Morgan to your panel discussion, you’ve gotta know what you’re getting into. The comic, actor, and general crazy person was one of five interesting folks who assembled after the Tribeca Film Festival’s Wednesday screening of the wonderful new documentary Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic; he was joined by The Daily Show’s Wyatt Cenac, author Walter Mosley, Pryor’s widow Jennifer Lee Pryor (or “J,” as Morgan affectionately called her), and the film’s director, Marina Zenovich. But Morgan dominated the talk, with jokes and peculiar sidebars — until Jennifer Pryor got going, and proved as raw, candid, and devil-may-care as her late husband. … Read More

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Flavorwire Interview: Sebastian Junger on Documenting the Life of His Friend Tim Hetherington

Journalist Sebastian Junger (The Perfect Storm) first met Tim Hetherington in 2007. “I was doing this project for Vanity Fair,” he recalls. “I was following a platoon for a year in combat and I also wanted to make a documentary film, and so I got a video camera and started shooting video for ABC News and for my own purposes. And I wanted to write a book. After my first trip in there, the photographer I was working with just wasn’t working out, and Vanity Fair suggested some other names, and we went through the list and Tim was clearly a really good pick.” The resulting book was the bestseller War; the film became Restrepo, which got the first-time directors an Oscar nomination for Best Director. Hetherington and Junger became friends as well as colleagues. “He was just very open and engaged and curious about the world,” Junger says. “His openness invited and required you to be open. Everyone felt like his best friend.” So when Hetherington was killed while reporting from Libya in 2011, Junger felt an obligation to honor his friend. … Read More

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Flavorwire’s Guide to Movies You Need to Stream This Week

Welcome to Flavorwire’s streaming movie guide, in which we help you sift through the scores of movies streaming on Netflix, Hulu, and other services to find the best of the recently available, freshly relevant, or soon to expire. This week, we’ve got new films starring Kristen Wiig, Jon Hamm, Matthew McConaughey, Olivia Wilde, Adam Scott, Richard Pryor, Megan Fox, Eric Bana, Harvey Keitel, Charlie Hunnam, Kate Mara, Richard Dreyfuss, Bette Midler, Keanu Reeves, and Nick Nolte, plus a pair of our favorite recent documentaries. Check them all out after the jump, and follow the title links to watch them right now. … Read More

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‘The Punk Singer’ Solves the Mystery — And Celebrates the History — Of Kathleen Hanna

AUSTIN, TX: Early in The Punk Singer, the terrific new documentary by Sini Anderson, Kathleen Hanna remembers being asked why she wanted to write. “Because nobody has ever listened to me, my entire life.” Her work burns with that kind of intensity, with an insistence that she — and the things she had to say — had importance, value, meaning. That same intensity is present in The Punk Singer, which is both a captivating personal story and a history of a moment — as the best rock documentaries are. … Read More

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15 Things We Learned from ‘Beyoncé: Life Is But a Dream’

Last night, Beyoncé offered more insight into her career and personal life in the “revealing,” self-produced HBO documentary Life Is But a Dream. It was the Stefon of documentaries: there was crying, singing, dancing, and weird Terrence Malick-style shots of trees. Bey opened up about her miscarriage, discussed her intense love and admiration for husband Jay-Z, gave us a peek at daughter Blue Ivy Carter, and talked to her computer while we wondered how she wakes up in the middle of the night with such perfect hair. While the arguments that Life Is But a Dream was a little too polished dart back and forth, we’re sharing 15 things we learned about Bey after the break. Leave us your review of the film in the comments section. … Read More

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10 Great Movies Inspired by Operas

There’s plenty of drama to spare when it comes to the world of opera. Occasionally, filmmakers have been directly inspired by the songbooks of classical composers, while others have looked to the performances and thundering music to create symbolic, contemporary interpretations. Opera is rich, profound source material. The opulent costumes and staging, the history, and the emotional stories are ripe for cinematic adaptations. We’ve collected a few of our favorites for your perusal in celebration of the 109th anniversary of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly and the Blu-ray release of Don Giovanni. See what a behind-the-scenes documentary, a Werner Herzog epic, and other retellings of opera’s theatrical tales have to offer after the jump. … Read More

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Meditative Movies That Will Help You Find Yourself

Director Ron Fricke and producer Mark Magidson (the creators of Baraka) traveled to 25 countries over the span of five years, filming the 2011 non-narrative documentary, Samsara. The stunning movie arrives on Blu-ray tomorrow. Described as “a nonverbal, guided meditation,” the film was shot on 70mm and explores the interconnectedness that humanity shares with the rest of nature — from the world’s most sacred spaces, to industrial sites populated with machines. It’s the wheel of life and human experience captured with breathtaking photography. These types of contemplative, non-narrative features allow audiences to traverse every corner of the earth, immersed in a powerful, transcendent journey of self-discovery. See our picks for similar meditative movies, below. … Read More

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