Best Documentary Movies of 1989
For All Mankind
A testament to NASA's Apollo program of the 1960s and '70s. Composed of actual NASA footage of the missions and astronaut interviews, the documentary offers the viewpoint of the individuals who braved the remarkable journey to the moon and back.
Depeche Mode: 101
A fascinating documentary focusing on backstage realities of art and business during the British synthesizer band's 1988 American tour.
The World at War: The Making of the Series
The making of 'The World At War'. Each film in the 26 episode series had to be an essay on an aspect of the war, because the length and separate aspects of the war was far too much to cover in detail. Jeremy Isaacs talks about the production process and the aims of the project. The intention of the crew that were involved with the various skills in making 'The World at War' had no desire to use film from British, German, French, Polish, Russian, Japanese, or the Americans because of their specific means of showing the winning side of a specific action. Rather, an effort was made to interview people who were not part of the establishment, but rather the common people or assistants and secretaries of historical persons. Film was researched for those films from cameras where there was no special subject, but those that would allow the viewer to make their own decisions about what they had just seen and heard.
Dance of Darkness
The dark sensibilities and cultural resonances of Butoh, the radical Japanese dance movement, are explored in this multilayered work. Profoundly rooted in both traditional and contemporary Japanese culture, Butoh arose in a spirit of revolt in the early 1960s. Characterized by frank sexuality and bodily distortions, Butoh transforms traditional dance movements into new forms, stripping away the taboos of contemporary Japanese culture to reveal a secret world of darkness and irrationality.
Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt
On the eve of 1987's Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, surviving families and friends of people who have died of AIDS prepare panels to be added to a large-scale memorial quilt project. Drawing from the sea of names memorialized, director Robert Epstein focuses on the lives of six people. Alongside the intimate profiles offered, through news footage and interviews, Epstein puts the AIDS crisis in the larger context of social and government response to the disease.
The special is hosted by Tony Danza and Annie Potts celebrating 50 years of William Hanna and Joseph Barbera's partnership in animation. This is the first animated project to be broadcast in Dolby Surround sound system.
Thomas Hart Benton
Thomas Hart Benton's paintings were energetic and uncompromising. Today his works are in museums, but Benton hung them in saloons for ordinary people to appreciate.
Bugs and Daffy: The Wartime Cartoons
Leonard Maltin introduces us to and takes us back to a theatre showing Wartime cartoon shorts and explains how Bugs and Daffy and the gang, through a collection/sampling of 11 cartoon shorts which served the war effort.
The Heat Is On: The Making of Miss Saigon
A behind-the-scenes look at the putting on of the successful West End stage musical, including footage of the cast rehearsing and the triumphant first night.
Route One is the first major U.S. highway. 5000 km along the Atlantic coast, from the Canadian border to the tip of Florida. Doc, a physician who spent many years in Africa, returns to the U.S. and decides to reconnect with his home country by walking the legendary Route One.