Documentary

Jewish International Film Festival Review: Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love is a flawed look at a bohemian love story

November 5, 2019

Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love is a documentary about music’s biggest bohemian and his muse. Poet and songwriter, Leonard Cohen and his lover, Marianne Ihlen had a rich and complex relationship, before they both passed away in 2016. This documentary is like a love letter to their passion; a flawed yet visceral look at […]

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Film Review: How to be Mark Ronson introduces us to the man behind the music

October 20, 2019

“Uptown Funk”, “Shallow”, “Valerie”, “Joanne,” “Late Night Feelings,” and the list goes on. Producer, songwriter, musician and singer, Mark Ronson has contributed to some of the biggest songs and records of modern times. In How to be Mark Ronson, fans are given a taste of the man behind the music and learn that this subject […]

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Melbourne Documentary Film Festival Review: Waiting: The Van Duren Story (Australia, 2019) is a touching film about your new favourite artist

July 18, 2019

The name “Van Duren” may not mean much to most people. But to Greg Carey and Wade Jackson this Memphis musician is king. The pair went on a journey to discover more about this artist. The result, Waiting: The Van Duren Story is like Searching for Sugar Man, because it sees some fans searching for […]

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Melbourne Documentary Film Festival Review: Woodstock At Fifty paints the famous concert with too broad a brush

July 9, 2019

Woodstock was one of the most important concerts in history. This year marks 50 years since those infamous three days of peace, love and music. The film, Woodstock at Fifty is a documentary that gives a rather backstage view to the show thanks to some interviews with various key players. While some parts of this […]

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Melbourne Documentary Film Festival Review: If You Don’t Know Me is a charmed look at the spirit, struggles & sex appeal of Teddy Pendergrass

July 9, 2019

If you don’t know artist, Teddy Pendergrass by now, you certainly will. In the documentary, If You Don’t Know Me we learn all about this R & B singer who was often referred to as “The Black Elvis.” This film is an illuminating look at the life and legacy of this legendary soul man. Pendergrass’ […]

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Melbourne International Documentary Film Festival Review: Boom! is a rocking trip along some sonic highways

June 22, 2019

Boom! A Film about the Sonics is a documentary that is cut from the same cloth as Searching for Sugar Man and Waiting: The Van Duren Story. You may not have heard about American group, The Sonics but chances are you’ve heard their influence through other people’s music. This film is an overwhelmingly positive one […]

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Sydney Film Festival Review: The Chills: The Triumph & Tragedy of Martin Phillipps is a love letter to a brave, post-punk poet

June 19, 2019

Martin Phillipps is a brave, post-punk poet. The leader of the New Zealand band, The Chills has had a long and varied career writing heavenly pop tunes that are filled with dark undercurrents. The Chills: The Triumph and Tragedy of Martin Phillipps is a revealing look at an eccentric protagonist in his own tragicomic story. […]

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Sydney Film Festival Review: XY Chelsea is barely the first chapter in Manning’s story

June 17, 2019

You get the sense that the stage was set for a great documentary about Chelsea Manning. It was May 2017 when the former US army soldier and intelligence analyst had her sentence commuted by President Barack Obama. She also granted a documentary film crew unfettered access to her life. And yet what follows is a […]

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Sydney Film Festival Review: Amazing Grace makes you want to sing hallelujah with Aretha Franklin

June 10, 2019

There is no question that the late, great Aretha Franklin was the Queen of Soul. But what you may not know is that she was also an accomplished gospel singer; the daughter of a preacher who first developed her musical chops at church. Amazing Grace is a homage to Franklin’s past, a 1972 concert film […]

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Sydney Film Festival Review: My Nudity Means Nothing bares all and nothing at all

June 8, 2019

It should come as no surprise that in My Nudity Means Nothing (Ma nudité ne sert à rien) the protagonist is naked. In this case, it is the French, Underground filmmaker, Marina de Van. She holes herself up in her flat and flitters between existential angst and some serious naval gazing. All this and absolutely […]

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Sydney Film Festival Review: The Amazing Johnathan Documentary is like a film directed by Puff the Magic Dragon

June 7, 2019

Most documentaries are good at providing observations about a subject. They are often unobtrusive and just like a fly-on-the-wall. But what do you do when you’ve chosen to chronicle an individual who is an illusionist and expert prankster by day? TV director, Ben Berman grapples with this as well as the notion of the truth […]

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Sydney Film Festival Review: A Dog Called Money sees the worlds of music and video collide

June 5, 2019

Inspiration can strike at any time. But if you’re an artist like PJ Harvey you may choose to go in search of this illusiveness. A Dog Called Money is a music documentary that depicts the process that spawned the album, The Hope 6 Demolition Project. The result is a beautifully-shot film that can be uneven […]

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SXSW Film Review: Human Nature (USA, 2019) describes powerful science & possibilities from tomorrow

March 10, 2019

At SXSW 2017, American biochemist, Jennifer Doudna was telling everybody about CRISPR. Allow me one last Human Nature reference… Doudna was telling the last ones to know about a new technology that has the potential to alter genes. Human Nature is a documentary that takes a deep dive into this fascinating scientific world, and chronicles […]

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SXSW Film Review: Well Groomed (USA, 2019) is well intentioned, oddly emotionally investing, and full of heart

March 10, 2019

As new dog grooming business owner (and one of Well Groomed‘s fascinating human subjects) Nicole Beckman states during her introduction that competitive dog grooming was always something she thought as being “just silly” before entering the competitive stakes herself, her initial thoughts are likely to be mirrored by many unversed in the ways of competitive […]

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Film Review: Maria by Callas (France, 2017) is a rich documentary that overstays its curtain call

February 4, 2019

Maria Callas is a legendary opera singer whose life often resembled a Greek tragedy. The documentary, Maria by Callas, captures some of this sadness and heartbreak in its two-hour runtime. This film is a complex and detailed one about an infamous prima donna that should appeal to opera aficionados. This documentary is directed by Tom […]

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Film Review: Free Solo (USA, 2018) an unflinching look at scaling a 3200 foot rock without a rope

January 11, 2019

Whether it be physical or academic it is without a doubt that greatness and feats of greatness require a certain level of determination, mental grit and skill that very few are willing to foster within themselves. Alex Honnold however meets those qualities in the unlikeliest of ways in documentary/semi biopic Free Solo, a story of […]

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Film Review: Fahrenheit 11/9 (USA, 2018) is a rousing call to action to take the world back from the dark side

November 2, 2018

Based on your personal feelings towards Donald Trump and the Republican Party, your reaction to (and presumably interest in) Fahrenheit 11/9, Michael Moore‘s latest bombastic documentary, is likely already predetermined. If you consider Trump to be a crusading saviour of the people and his presidency really is making America great again, maybe sit this one […]

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Jewish International Film Festival Review: The Twinning Reaction (USA, 2017) will leave you seeing red once you’ve seen double

October 27, 2018

Try to imagine something that could be your biggest joy and greatest nightmare. It’s not easy. But finding out you have an identical twin sibling has got to be up there. The Twinning Reaction is a documentary that covers a bizarre and bittersweet example of this with brutal honesty. The results are not what you’d […]

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Film Review: Intelligent Lives (USA, 2018) is a powerful impetus for change that demands your attention

September 21, 2018

At this very moment, there are 6.5 million Americans living with an intellectual disability. Only 15% of adults are gainfully employed with nearly 1 in 3 living below the poverty line. Their access to a proper education during their youth may provide a clue to these damning statistics. 17% of students with an intellectual disability are […]

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Film Review: I Am Paul Walker (USA, 2018) seeks to highlight the kind-natured generosity of a man who was more than his career

September 18, 2018

It goes without saying that Paul Walker was blessed with the type of face destined to be in front of the camera.  And as much as this dedicated documentary, I Am Paul Walker, celebrates his Californian-blessed aesthetics, it seeks more so to highlight that behind the tanned skin, sun-kissed blonde curls and baby blue eyes […]

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Jimmy Barnes just broke another Australian record (thanks to his new film)

August 27, 2018

After its world premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival, the new feature Jimmy Barnes: Working Class Boy was released on 220 Australian cinema screens last week, making it the biggest documentary release since Michael Jackson’s This Is It back in 2009, and the biggest ever release for an Australian documentary. From acclaimed director Mark Joffe (Jack […]

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ABC and Screen Australia announce four Art Bites projects

August 24, 2018

ABC and Screen Australia have announced four short-form documentary projects have received funding through ABC and Screen Australia’s Art Bites Initiative. This initiative is currently in its third year, encouraging filmmakers to produce a total of 6 x 5-minute documentary series for ABC’s online viewing platform ABC iView, based around art. Each team will receive […]

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Film Review: Whitney (UK/USA, 2018) is a bittersweet love letter celebrating the enigmatic star’s rise & tragic downfall

July 24, 2018

Whitney may not be the most necessary film but it’s certainly an entertaining one. This documentary comes hot on the heels of Whitney: Can I Be Me, but where this latest offering differs is in its unprecedented access to Whitney Houston’s family and friends. The result is an intimate and bittersweet portrait of her meteoric […]

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Film Review: Her Sound, Her Story (Australia, 2018) is an eye-opening look at women in Australian music

July 16, 2018

In the nineties, The Go-Betweens’ Lindy Morrison made the documentary, Australian Women In Rock & Pop Music- Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves. Fast forward to 2018 and the film Her Sound, Her Story documents many of the same issues that are still relevant. Gender disparity in the music industry is a pervasive issue with […]

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Sydney Film Festival Review: McQueen (UK, 2018) is a heart-breaking work of staggering genius

June 18, 2018

Fashion designer (Lee) Alexander McQueen was a true artist. He would say, “If you want to know me, look at my work.” The documentary, McQueen captures some of his enigma by looking behind-the-scenes at his extraordinary talent and story. While you get some sense of what this artistic genius was like you also get the […]

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Netflix announces two new True Crime Documentary Series

April 23, 2018

Following the wildly popular Netflix documentary series Wild Wild Country, comes two brand new true crime original documentary series, in Evil Genius: The True Story of America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist, and brand new episodes of the critically acclaimed series The Staircase, which will expand upon the exisiting original ten episodes. The Staircase will premiere […]

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Australian director Leigh Whannell among winners of the SXSW Film Festival Audience Awards

March 19, 2018

Taking place between 9-18 March, the 2018 South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference and Festival in Austin, Texas has come to a close, and with that, the Audience Award winners have officially been announced. The awards cover a range of categories, from documentary features to outstanding narrative structure and creativity. Amongst the list includes Australia director […]

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Screen Australia to fund an adaptation of Jimmy Barnes’ memoir Working Class Boy and 11 other Documentary projects

January 22, 2018

Screen Australia has announced funding for 12 documentary projects through the Documentary Producer and Commissioned programs. The list of projects includes an adaptation of Jimmy Barnes’ memoir Working Class Boy, The Fight, a feature length version of Violeta Ayala and Daniel Fallshaw’s award-winning short film of the same name, and a second season of Filthy […]

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Film Review: Big in Japan (Australia, 2017) is far more than one man’s vainglorious pursuit

December 26, 2017

Where most foreigners settling in Japan pass their time in Japanese pubs, English schools or seeking out every piece of longstanding architecture, David Elliot-Jones spent his trying to become famous. And you’ve probably never heard of the guy, but that doesn’t mean he failed. Big in Japan opens with a preface about the seemingly endless […]

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AMW Film Fest Review: Take Me To The River (USA, 2015) is a soaring celebration of blues, rap and soul music

November 1, 2017

If American music has a heart and soul then you would find it nestled between Memphis and the Mississippi Delta. The documentary film, Take Me To The River realises this and pays homage to the soul men and women that created those passionate and influential hits for the likes of Stax Records and their ilk. […]

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