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Tuesday
Nov 08 2016

Doc Corner: Slenderman,David Lynch and More at Doc NYC

By Glenn Dunks

Doc NYC begins this week in (where else?) New York City.This year's festival,running from November 10th to November 17th,features 110 feature titles (now on sale),44% of which are from women directors proving that #52FilmsByWomen is perfectly achievable if you're a fan of non-fiction.

After the jump notes on four new titles including a horror movie ready documentary and a look at David Lynch's creativity offscreen...

Irene Taylor Brodsky'sBeware the Slendermanattempts a lot within its two hours.Too much,and this zeitgeisty doc is often too cramped,losing sight of both its central story as well as the moving parts that circle it.Edited at times with little rhyme or reason,fascinating strands are abandoned or introduced seemingly at random.And despite a chillingBlair Witch Project-inspired opening sequence that suggests the Oscar-nominated director (for 2009's doc shortThe Final Inch) might embrace its horror roots to tell its story in a truly fresh and compellingly cinematic way,it ultimately sticks to traditional storytelling that fails to make much of an impact as a work of filmmaking.

The story at its core is certainly fascinating and likely could have inspired any number of forms.In 2014,a young teenage girl was found stabbed multiple times still alive and telling of how her best friends were who did it.The two girls claimed to be obsessed with the myth of Slenderman,a tall,faceless man in a suit who stalks the dreams and eventually the living worlds of his young victims.A modern day boogeyman with echoes of Freddy Krueger and Jack Skellington.

The ritualistic attempted murder by these two teenagers allows Brodsky to look at Slenderman phenomenon alongside the growing online horror community and meme culture more generally,mental illness,bullying,the effects of technology and the internet on children,the shifting face of technology,the effects of crimes on families of the perpetrators,a failing justice system,and more.

The two girls are only seen on camera in police interview video and shackled from behind in court (their faces never clearly shown beyond family photos).Meanwhile,the victim appears to have wisely chosen to not relive her horror on screen.But their absences,coupled with the fact that the trial is still ongoing – the film only covers their efforts to be tried as juveniles,not adults – makes it feels decidedly unfinished.Rushing through all of its other issues doesn't help,nor does watching the likes of Richard Dawkins,‘digital folklorists' and activists on distractingly lo-fi Skype interviews offer their rather mundane thoughts on the matter.As the credits role,there still seems so much left unsaid and it's best sequences are those that show the ingenuity and creativity of the (all too disturbing) Slenderman videos,which you can probably see on YouTube anyway.Beware the Slendermanwill air on HBO in early 2017.

From one form of horror to another: David Lynch's painterly side is explored in Jon Nguyen,Rick Barnes,and Olivia Neegaard-Holm'sDavid Lynch: The Art Life.Ignoring his later career as a director of vividly haunting and boldly visceral works of film,The Art Life focuses almost exclusively on his early work as a painter and sculpter who fell into filmmaking almost as if my accident.Featuring only Lynch (with brief appearances by his toddler daughter),the documentary is a must-see for fans of the legendary filmmaker,offering the closest we will ever get to finding genuine insight from the man himself into his works.

Offering a lot of sequences of Lynch staring wistfully out the windows of his Hollywood Hills art studio as he recalls moments of youthful importance,the strength of the film beyond the peeks into a master's mind is how at ease Lynch appears.No doubt thanks to his relationship to Nguyen who had earlier produced Lynch (One),David Lynch: The Art Life strips the man's story of all the surreal frou frou that tends to colour conversation about him.It's low on drama,but a keen and rare insight into one of modern art's most fascinating people.

Should you get to seeRikers,it will play in many ways as a sister film to Ava DuVernay's13th.This one-hour doc lacks flash or excess,simply interviewing people who found themselves drawn into the system of incarceration that is Rikers Island Jail in New York.The film raises some very shocking stories,but is definitely more akin to a television investigation or a DVD extra than a fully fleshed out film.Some of its subjects,however,are potent on screen forces.

Many will findThe Islands and the Whalesa difficult film to push through with given that its open scene is of a whale slaughter.But whereas films likeThe Cove,VirungaandThe Ivory Game present animal cruelty in the efforts of shedding a light on its barbarianism,Mike Day has an altogether different story to tell.Set on the Nordic Faroe Islands (smack in the middle of Denmark,Iceland,and the UK),Day's film looks at how these people have had to adapt their sustainable fishing and hunting practices (so many dead seabirds!) to an increasingly globalized world that doesn't see their way of life as in line with modern norms.Even Pamela Anderson shows up,but does so without answers of where these people should source their food from otherwise (livestock can't live there and the dirt cannot host fruit and vegetables)!However,the Faroe Islanders must confront their eating habits even further when a local doctor alerts them to the rising levels of mercury in the pilot whales that form such a staple of their diets.

Beautifully lensed by Day,the film's stunning beauty takes full advantage of the Islands' steep chalk cliffs and permanent foggy haze.It's true that it is hard to watch at times,its violence against animals ought to be something we morally disagree with.But the film's strength is that these Islanders are rarely made out to be villains.Rather they are the unwilling participants in a dangerous race to extinction that they had no real part in and the very real consequences they face from having avoided the larger outside world for so long.

Lastly,I wanted to give a shoutout toWinter at Westbeth,which is getting its North American premiere at the festival.The film byAll the Way Through Evening's Rohan Spong is such a special film andwe reviewed it a couple of months ago.Do go see it if you get the chance.You won't regret it.

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  • Response
    Korban pembunuhan dan mutilasi yang ditemukan oleh warga Dusun Ciranggon,Majalaya,Karawang,Jawa Barat pada 7 Desember 2017 belum menemui titik terang.Mayat korban yang ditemukan dalam kondisi terbakar,tanpa kepala,dan bagian kaki dari lutut ke bawah juga menghilang.

Reader Comments (2)

There's so much to that Slenderman case that could make a good documentary - the perpetrators were so young (I believe one of them was celebrating her 13th birthday),and I'm with the ACLU in that people that young should perhaps never be tried as adults;moreover,there is significant evidence that if they are tried as juveniles and sent to a detention facility rather than prison,girls that young can be rehabilitated (the girls in the "Heavenly Creatures"case,among others,were rehabilitated).Additionally,there is significant evidence that they were mentally ill (after the attempted murder,they set out to walk to the North Woods to meet with Slenderman),but a lot of the mental illness evidence isn't being allowed in the case.It's too bad that the documentary that should have been made about the case isn't being made,because it could open people's eyes to some of the problems with trying juveniles as adults in the U.S.

November 8,2016 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

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January 31,2018 | Unregistered Commenterالشركة السعودية

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