Our favorite of this week’s several fine indie releases is Searching for Sugar Man, Swedish filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul’s investigative profile of Sixto Rodriguez, a singer/songwriter who should have been a giant star in the early 1970s and instead faded into obscurity (and then became a cult sensation in New Zealand, Australia, and apartheid-era South Africa). Bendjelloul’s warm, kind film is both a showcase for terrific music and a compelling human interest story; it deserves a place alongside the best music documentaries, and since it reminded us of them, we thought we’d compile a list of our favorite music docs. It’s a list that’s constantly in flux, so we’ve included some alternates (as well as where you can see them); we’d love to hear yours as well. Check it out after the jump. … Read More
Documentary fans the world over are mourning the passing of the great Richard Leacock, who died yesterday at 89. Leacock, known as “Ricky” to his friends and colleagues, was best known as one of the founding fathers of the “direct cinema” movement. Direct cinema (often conflated with cinéma vérité, though there are subtle differences between the two forms) was the groundbreaking documentary technique that utilized handheld cameras and portable sound recording equipment to create observational, fly-on-the-wall works — films that “directly” captured their subjects, without the interference of the filmmaker.
This might sound like a no-brainer, since the direct cinema style has become our most immediate notion of what a documentary is, from the films of Leacock and his contemporaries right down to the reality shows of today. But before these groundbreakers, most documentaries were just talking-head-and-archival-footage jobs — films that explained the past, rather than capturing the present. The direct cinema directors and cameramen saw the development of lightweight 16mm Arriflex film cameras and Nagra’s mobile audio gear in the late 1950s and early 1960s as a way to shake all of that up. In the process, they created a vital new film form. In honor of Leacock, join us after the jump for a look at a few of the touchstones of the movement. … Read More
It doesn’t matter how many times a certain person or event turns up in pop culture, as long as each new movie, TV show, song, video game, fashion line, etc. has some kind of artistic (or at least entertainment) value. At least, that’s what we thought until we heard the news that there’s a 100th-anniversary Titanic miniseries in the works and something just snapped in us. No, damn it, we don’t care how good it turns out to be. There is no way we’re watching that ship sink again. And while we’re at it, there are a few other historical figures and events we’re pretty sure pop culture has exhausted. Check them out after the jump, and add your own suggestions and complaints in the comments. … Read More
A photographer of magical people and mystical places, David Benjamin Sherry makes darkroom images in a digital age.
Raised by hippies in Woodstock, Sherry attended raves and assisted David LaChapelle in his teens, then earned degrees from RISD and Yale, while establishing himself in NYC’s downtown art scene. His psychedelic mix of fashion and fantasy has made him an international favorite in magazines and galleries. … Read More
Today at Flavorpill, we were surprised to hear that the Mona Lisa almost took a bath. We wondered if we’d sleep better on a Twitter pillow. We were blown away by these photographs of thousands of soldiers in formation taken by Arthur S. Mole and John D. Thomas. We got the inside scoop on the Apple logo from designer Rob Janoff. We read about the rarely discussed negative aspects of Woodstock. We were excited by the New York Film Festival’s star-lite line-up this year. We read Jeffrey Wells’ scathing review of Inglourious Basterds. We weren’t surprised to discover that the Obama baby boom never happened — do the people who think up these things remember that the economy was tanking? We rocked out to Thomas Pychon’s playlist (we share a love of The Beach Boys). And finally, we wasted way too much time pouring over Mr. Skin’s the Top 100 Celebrity Nude Scenes of all time. Sadly, it’s all… Read More
Almost exactly forty years ago, a music festival of some note was held in the rural town of Bethel, New York. Okay, who are we kidding? The Woodstock Music and Arts Fair, three days of peace and music, turned into what is commonly agreed upon as the greatest music festival ever, and the close out of the “hippie” decade. Janice Joplin, Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, Santana, the Grateful Dead, the Who, and the Jimmy Hewndrix Experience were just a few of the bands that showed up to play the festival. A documentary, called simply Woodstock, was made about the festival and released in 1970. However, since then, there have been no high budget or widely released films about the rainy weekend that immortalized an entire generation. Not until now, anyways. Read on past the jump to find out about this August’s way overdue tribute to the men behind the greatest music festival that almost never… Read More