“The Stranger” was awarded the top prize against eight finalists in the Viewfinders competition, chosen by the programmers for its distinct directorial vision. The film follows a 25-year-old single mother who meets the man of her dreams on Facebook, but soon discovers that the charming man has secrets.
“David Bowie: The Last Five Years,” which premiered Nov. 10 at the DOC NYC film festival, is a singular and haunting pop documentary.
It’s a companion piece to “David Bowie: Five Years,” the 2013 documentary in which director Francis Whately meditated on the pivotal period of Bowie’s fame, from 1970 to 1975. That movie dug deep into the heady fascination of the first rock star who was passionate and Warholian at the same time — an image junkie who kept rotating his look and aspect, and did it as casually as most of us change underwear.
“The Last Five Years,” also directed by Whately, was assembled under the shadow of Bowie’s death (he died on Jan. 10, 2016). It’s about a very different man: one who remained, to the end, a committed artist even as he was living as a retired pop star.
Bowie’s exit from the spotlight of celebrity happened quite suddenly on his 2004 Reality Tour. During that series of arena shows, he had never been more joyful or unironic on stage — an ageless satyr-prince, one who was now willing to just stand up and boogie, reveling in the glory of his golden years. But during one show, he collapsed and had to be helped off stage; it turned out he had suffered a minor heart attack. That’s when Bowie called it quits, withdrawing into a meditative New York existence with his wife, Iman.
“David Bowie: The Last Five Years” premieres on HBO in January.
Non-fiction — as in the joy, drama, and wonder of the real — is in the spotlight beginning today at DOC NYC, America’s largest documentary film festival.
Held in New York City from November 9 to 16, DOC NYC includes more than 250 feature and short films — many of them local, U.S. or world premieres — as well as special events, including panel discussions and networking sessions for aspiring filmmakers.
The festival’s lineup of films is curated into several sections or themes, including science, performance art, design, domestic and international politics, family, activism, true crime, and New York City itself.
Over its five-day run it featured screenings of 34 films, including four world premieres, a short virtual reality documentary about the enduring influence of Buckminster Fuller, and plenty of post-screening panels and conversations.
Perhaps the most important question asked at this year’s Morelia International Film Festival in Mexico was made by a young teacher in the Impulso Morelia pix-in-post program doc, “Ayotzinapa, the Turtle’s Pace.”
“Since when is it more dangerous to be a rural teacher than a drug-trafficker?”
The question has been asked constantly in Guerrero, Mexico since Sept. 26, 2014. On that night, five buses of students from a local teaching college, on their way to Mexico City to commemorate the anniversary of the 1968 Tlatelolco Massacre, were redirected to Iguala, a nearby city.
Once they arrived, local authorities laid siege to the buses and opened fire on the unarmed students. When the sun rose the next day three were dead and 43 were missing.
The night’s events have had countless official explanations by local and federal governments alike. Investigations have been conducted and findings presented, but the documentary is the first time that the story is being told from the point of view of those who experienced it, and the friends and family of those who were taken.