Best Documentary Movies of 1971
Bruce Lee: The Lost Interview
A priceless gem from the fine folks at The Internet Archive: Bruce Lee’s only existing television interview, from 1971. Martial arts expert Bruce Lee became world-renowned for his performances in such Kung-fu classics as ENTER THE DRAGON. Now his only interview in English is available. Just after the release of his first film THE BIG BOSS, he spoke in Hong Kong with Canada's premier journalist Pierre Berton. This is the closest one can get to this extraordinary master.
Joe Cocker - Mad Dogs & Englishmen
"Joe Cocker - the Rotating Rocker - and his 42 member communal touring company Mad Dogs & Englishmen with the Master of Space and Time Leon Russell - see them perform in the pleasure palaces of America - it's a moving picture" says the classic film poster. See this spectacular rock 'n' roll tour documentary and get a dramatic visual record that captures the spirit of the hippie era with mind-blowing performances, crazy backstage footage, and spaced-out interviews. Supporting cast includes Claudia Lennear, Rita Coolidge, Sherman Jones reciting "Face on the Barroom Floor," and Canina the dog.
A Blank on the Map
In his now well-known role of narrator of wildlife expeditions, Attenborough accompanies a government-sponsored trek into the central New Guinea highlands to make contact with a group of natives never before seen by Europeans.
"…elegant yet rustic in its simplicity of execution; tugged gently toward different sides of the set by hints of color and motion interactions, positive and negative spaces, etc., and the unyielding delivery on one of the great apotheoses of poetic cinema at fade-out time." – Tony Conrad
The Murder of Fred Hampton
Fred Hampton was the leader of the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party. This film depicts his brutal murder by the Chicago police and its subsequent investigation, but also documents his activities in organizing the Chapter, his public speeches, and the programs he founded for children during the last eighteen months of his life.
La Région Centrale
A 1971 experimental Canadian film directed by Michael Snow. Shot in the Canadian mountains over a period of 24 hours using a robotic arm.
Directed by John Ford
A documentary about the life and films of director John Ford.
Shot during the summer of 1970 at Fort Knox, Kentucky, Frederick Wisemanâ€™s film Basic Training focuses on a group of men going through infantry training, showing how they are turned from civilians into soldiers. As well as being a unique portrait of the US army at work, the film is also a fascinating snapshot of a time and place at a defining moment in American history.
"Touring makes you crazy," Frank Zappa says, explaining that the idea for this film came to him while the Mothers of Invention were touring. The story, interspersed with performances by the Mothers and the Royal Symphony Orchestra, is a tale of life on the road. The band members' main concerns are the search for groupies and the desire to get paid.
Fulton made the film during his brief time at Harvard, where he had been invited to teach by Robert Gardner, his friend and collaborator (Fulton would later serve as a cinematographer on Gardner’s 1981 documentary Deep Hearts, among others). Reality’s Invisible could be described as a portrait of the Carpenter Center, yet it is a portrait of an extremely idiosyncratic and distinctive sort. Fulton moves us through the concrete space of the Center’s Le Corbusier-designed building—the only structure by the architect in North America—but, more centrally, presents us footage of students making and discussing their work alongside figures like Gardner, theorist Rudolf Arnheim, artist Stan Vanderbeek, filmmaker Stan Brakhage, and graphic designer Toshi Katayama.