Best Documentary Movies of 1957
Lively holiday in Blackpool, with jazz accompaniment.
Rembrandt, Painter of Man
In Rembrandt, Haanstra shows that it is possible to make a fascinating film only with images from paintings. He had to travel though all over Europe to numerous museums and private owners in order to film the works of art. In the work of the great painter, Haanstra recognizes his particular interest in man as an individual human being, cutting straight through all the religious motives. And Haanstra also wants to see Rembrandt as an individual.
On the Bowery
A mix of documentary and scripted footage on the Bowery, New York City's skid row. Against a backdrop of men (and a few women) drinking in bars, talking and arguing, and sleeping on sidewalks, we have the story of Ray.
A day in the life of the city and citizens of New York as seen through the fantastic eye, and the incredibly distorted optic lenses, of filmmaker Francis Thompson.
After the Ball
The life and loves of Music hall singer Vesta Tilley, who married into the nobility
A montage of the night-life of Piccadilly Circus across the hours, from early evening to the last lingering passers-by.
Every Day Except Christmas
Every Day Except Christmas is a 37-minute documentary film filmed in 1957 at the Covent Garden fruit, vegetable and flower market, then located in the Covent Garden area of East central London. It was directed by Lindsay Anderson and produced by Karel Reisz and Leon Clore under the sponsorship of Ford of Britain, the first of the company's "Look At Britain" series.
An ethnographic film that documents the efforts of four !Kung men (also known as Ju/'hoansi or Bushmen) to hunt a giraffe in the Kalahari Desert of Namibia. The footage was shot by John Marshall during a Smithsonian-Harvard Peabody sponsored expedition in 1952–53. In addition to the giraffe hunt, the film shows other aspects of !Kung life at that time, including family relationships, socializing and storytelling, and the hard work of gathering plant foods and hunting for small game.
One Potato, Two Potato
A study of games played by London schoolchildren in the streets and playgrounds. The games range from the traditional to the contemporary.
Intended as a publicity film for Chrysler, Rhythm uses rapid editing to speed up the assembly of a car, synchronizing it to African drum music. The sponsor was horrified by the music and suspicious of the way a worker was shown winking at the camera; although Rhythm won first prize at a New York advertising festival, it was disqualified because Chrysler had never given it a television screening. P. Adams Sitney wrote, “Although his reputation has been sustained by the invention of direct painting on film, Lye deserves equal credit as one of the great masters of montage.” And in Film Culture, Jonas Mekas said to Peter Kubelka, “Have you seen Len Lye’s 50-second automobile commercial? Nothing happens there…except that it’s filled with some kind of secret action of cinema.” - Harvard Film Archive