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.
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.
Here I Am
A sensitive, low-key portrait of the East Bay Activity Center, a school in Oakland, California, started in the 1950s to help emotionally disturbed children. The atmospheric documentary opens with hilly East Bay streets shrouded in fog. The mist lifts as the film moves to children at play. Often shown in unobtrusive close-up, the youngsters appear as thinking individuals, enjoying the swings, puzzling out problems, or interacting with their teacher in the classroom.
Government propaganda film about the erection of the Berlin Wall.
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
Harold Lloyd's World of Comedy
Hilarious scenes from his silent and sound films as compiled and produced by Harold Lloyd himself.
This short film portrays the story of singer Paul Anka, who rose from obscurity to become the idol of millions of adolescent fans around the world. Taking a candid look at both sides of the footlights, this film examines the marketing machine behind a generation of pop singers. Interviews with Anka and his manager reveal their perspective on the industry.
Francis Combe County Secondary School in Hertfordshire.