Best Documentary Movies of 1976
Edie Bouvier Beale and her mother, Edith, two aging, eccentric relatives of Jackie Kennedy Onassis, are the sole inhabitants of a Long Island estate. The women reveal themselves to be misfits with outsized, engaging personalities. Much of the conversation is centered on their pasts, as mother and daughter now rarely leave home.
The Song Remains the Same
The best of Led Zeppelin's legendary 1973 appearances at Madison Square Garden. Interspersed throughout the concert footage are behind-the-scenes moments with the band. The Song Remains the Same is Led Zeppelin at Madison Square Garden in NYC concert footage colorfully enhanced by sequences which are supposed to reflect each band member's individual fantasies and hallucinations. Includes blistering live renditions of "Black Dog," "Dazed and Confused," "Stairway to Heaven," "Whole Lotta Love," "The Song Remains the Same," and "Rain Song" among others.
Documentary about the military coup in Chile.
That's Entertainment, Part II
Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire present more golden moments from the MGM film library, this time including comedy and drama as well as classic musical numbers.
The Memory of Justice
This exceptional, disturbing and thought-provoking documentary compares the atrocities committed by the Nazis as revealed during the Nuremberg trials to those committed by the French in Algeria and those done by the Americans in Vietnam. The four hour epic questions the right of any country to pass self-righteous moral judgements upon the actions of another country.
In this performance documentary highlighting several Country and Western music artists, the director James Szalapski has decided to let the music speak for itself, eschewing narration and interviews. A little comic relief is provided by a rambling, humorous introduction to a song sung by Gamble Rogers, and there are some down-home shots of the folks in Wigwam Tavern in Nashville. Many of the singers are entertaining in their own right, and there are interesting segments, such as one sequence in the Tennessee State Prison during a performance by David Allan Coe. Although filmed in 1976, the documentary was not released until 1981.
Chelsea Girls with Andy Warhol
In 1969 Michel Auder began a series of video diaries that chronicled the art scene in downtown New York. In Chelsea Girls with Andy Warhol, Auder captures revealing moments in Warhol's public and private life: the opening of the 1970 Whitney Museum retrospective, a party held at John Lennon and Yoko Ono's home, a heated telephone conversation between Warhol, Viva and Brigid Berlin, and an illuminating interview conducted with Larry Rivers, the grandfather of Pop Art, following the publication of The Philosophy of Andy Warhol in 1975. The issue of money is a consistent topic of conversation with Viva, who after departing the Factory in 1969 sent Warhol a series of threatening letters demanding money.
Number Our Days
Based on the book by anthropologist Barbara Myerhoff, this Academy Award-winning short documentary offers a tender portrait of a community of elderly yet resilient Jews living, loving, and at times struggling, in Venice, California. From everyday trials to traditional celebrations, this compassionate portrayal of Eastern European survivors cuts straight to the heart of every viewer and reminds us of the joys and realities of long life.
The First Vision
Seeking the true Church of Jesus Christ, 14-year-old Joseph Smith prayed in a grove of trees near his home in Palmyra, New York. In answer to his humble prayer, Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ visited him and told him that he must not join any of the churches on the earth at that time.
Billy Connolly: Big Banana Feet
Billy Connolly was, in the 1970s, a sort of Scottish Lenny Bruce, who, with devastating humour, sliced through the hypocrisies he perceived. This 1976 documentary follows the singer-comic during his 1975 Irish tour. Made in a cinema verité fashion, the performer appears to be completely unaware of the presence of the camera in his off-stage and backstage moments.