Best Documentary Movies of 1963
Zapruder Film of Kennedy Assassination
President John F. Kennedy is shown riding in an open-top car with his wife and several others, waving at crowds on the sidewalk. He is hit by a bullet and clutches his throat as the others react with surprise. Another shot hits Kennedy in the head and he collapses. A Secret Service agent runs up to the car, and Mrs. Kennedy climbs onto the trunk to pull him aboard as the car speeds away.
Dog Star Man: Part II
A man, accompanied by a dog, struggles through snow on a mountain side. We see film stock blister; drawn square shapes appear. Then, we see an infant's face. The images of struggling climber, baby, blurred film stock, large snow flakes, and what may be microscopic details of matter are superimposed on each other, one dominating the frame briefly to be replaced by another. As the man falls in the snow and tries to regain his feet, the baby continues to appear, first with eyes closed. Alternately, images rush by - montages of paper cutouts and life under a microscope.
Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment
During a two-day period before and after the University of Alabama integration crisis, the film uses five camera crews to follow President John F. Kennedy, attorney general Robert F. Kennedy, Alabama governor George Wallace, deputy attorney general Nicholas Katzenbach and the students Vivian Malone and James Hood. As Wallace has promised to personally block the two black students from enrolling in the university, the JFK administration discusses the best way to react to it, without rousing the crowd or making Wallace a martyr for the segregationist cause.
A poetic documentary observation of everyday life in a Latvian fishing village, where centuries-old traditions and wind-hardened men and women live alongside the optimism of new construction and the smiling faces of the new generation.
The Human Dutch
Bert Haanstra paints a portrait of The Netherlands and the Dutch, in his own unparalleled manner. Partly with the aid of a hidden camera he observes people in the most diverse situations. He shows the unusual in the usual and the usual in the unusual. The harsh years of the post war era of reconstruction have passed and for most people life is better than before.
Hollywood Without Make-Up
A collection of behind the scenes and home movies from the golden age of Hollywood.
Comprising train and track footage quickly shot just before a heavy winter's snowfall was melting, the multi-award-winning classic that emerged from the cutting-room compresses British Rail's dedication to blizzard-battling into a thrilling eight-minute montage cut to music. Tough-as-boots workers struggling to keep the line clear are counterpointed with passengers' buffet-car comforts. (BFI)
The film's title is borrowed from a Dani fable that Gardner recounts in voice-over. The Dani people, whom Gardner identifies mysteriously as "a mountain people," believe that there was once a great race between a bird and a snake, which was to determine the lives of human beings. Should men shed their skins and live forever like snakes, or die like birds? The bird won the race, dictating that man must die. The film's plot revolves around two characters, Weyak and Pua. Weyak is a warrior who guards the frontier between the land of his tribe and that of the neighboring tribe. Pua is a young boy whom Gardner depicts as weak and inept.
Ron Rice's Chumlum is one of those films in which the conditions of its construction are integral to the experience of watching it. It is a record of a cadre of creative people having fun on camera, playing dress-up, dancing, flirting, lazing around.
The High Lonesome Sound
John Cohen, founding member of the ‘50s folk troupe the New Lost City Ramblers, started making films in order to bring together the two disciplines he was heavily active in: music and photography. His first film, The High Lonesome Sound, is a love letter to Appalachia and features the amazing banjo picker Roscoe Holcomb as the anchor for this gem of cultural anthropology.