Best Documentary Movies of 1962
Prelude: Dog Star Man
A creation myth realized in light, patterns, images superimposed, rapid cutting, and silence. A black screen, then streaks of light, then an explosion of color and squiggles and happenstance. Next, images of small circles emerge then of the Sun. Images of our Earth appear, woods, a part of a body, a nude woman perhaps giving birth. Imagery evokes movement across time.
Dog Star Man: Part I
From a murky landscape, a wooded mountain emerges. We watch the sun. We see a bearded man climbing up the mountain through the snow. He carries an ax, and he's accompanied by a dog. His labors continue. There is no soundtrack. Images rush past - water, trees, and surfaces too close up to distinguish. He struggles. A fire burns. Nature, in long shots and magnified, is formidable and silent. It's tough going; he carries on. In a capillary, blood flows.
Elgar: Portrait of a Composer
A partly dramatised account of the life of Sir Edward Elgar classical composer. Huw Wheldon narrates the life story over backdrops of beautiful mountain scenery, especially memorable is the image of young Elgar riding his horse around Malvern Hills.
In the film, we see subjects instructed to administer electric shocks of increasing severity to another person, and observe both obedient and defiant reactions. After the experiment, we witness subjects explain firsthand their actions. Obedience is as relevant today as it was at its publication. As we as a society witness suicide bombings, torture, and gang atrocities, we wonder just how far people will go. Fifty years later, this experiment still resonates as people ask themselves, “Would I pull that lethal switch?” This is the only authentic film footage of Milgram’s famous experiment and is essential to all foundational work in social psychology at the graduate, undergraduate, and high school level.
Documentary focusing on 25 year-old actress Jane Fonda as she and her director Andreas Voutsinas prepare a stage play called The Fun Couple for Broadway.
Discovered in summer of 1985, of a set of “haiku-imagistic films” I did before coming to my characteristic style, as in Ray Gun Virus; I thought I’d destroyed all these pre-pure films, in about 1969-1970, the time of my separation from my first marriage. The film concerns my marriage, which lasted seven years; it was shot during its first year, when I was a painting student at the University of Denver. It is full of apprehensions, in a montage style which counterposes “opposites”: sexuality and religion; seasonal opposites; hopefulness undercut by fears of eventual separation (the image of a statue of two women, arm in arm, reading a book). I find it visually and kinetically interesting, after all these years. (Paul Sharits) —Canyon Cinema
This short, silent film captures a Sunday afternoon at a community skating rink. Iconic Quebec director Gilles Carle has the camera follow toddlers learning to skate, young girls flashing their skates and boys decked out in the colours of their favourite hockey teams. A picture perfect moment on a bright winter's day.
The "Fellini of Foam's" fifth and last film before "The Endless Summer," "Water Logged" is made up of highlights from Bruce Brown's four previous films: "Slippery When Wet," "Surf Crazy," "Barefoot Adventure" and "Surfing Hollow Days." This film features the best of four years of surf photography.
Four People: A Ballad Film
Part of BFI collection "Shadows of Progress."
Impressions of a typical weekend in Blackburn in the early 1960s.