4 December 2022 The Irish Film & Television Network
Cork Film Festival Documentary Panorama
12 Oct 2000 :
This years Cork Film Festival Documentary Panorama features some of the finest filmmakers working in the documentary field.

The Alcohol Years
Carol Morley's life is certainly an interesting one, and one that she had to rediscover for herself, since she can't remember much of what happened between 1982 and 1987. What makes her life so interesting is the fact that, if you can believe it, she has one of the wildest reputations in the Manchester music scene of the same period. Having placed an ad in a Manchester paper, asking to meet people who knew her at the time, we follow her through a series of interviews of past lovers as well as past enemies and a few notorious faces in the Manchester music industry.

Always a Bridesmaid
This film, with its rather simple premise, proves far more interesting with a very deft touch from its director - Nina Davenport. Davenport, a wedding videographer, looks at her life and times and wonders why it is so difficult for her to find a long-term partner. With an excellent grasp of narrative, the film builds into a broad meditation on modern relationships and an intimate study of one.

One of the nominations in this year’s Oscars, this is a documentary about what initially seems to be a rather surreal subject. Following Marta Beckett, it studies her rather eccentric nature and balances it with a general theme concerning artistic intent. Marta was once the toast of Broadway, an acclaimed dancer, who left at the height of fame and moved to a pit-stop town in Death Valley. Here, she built her own Opera House where she painted her very own audience on the walls of the auditorium. Every day she dances, with or without an audience, and has become part of Californian folklore and a cultural enigma in the Western states of America.

The Bradfords Tour America
Truly independent documentary filmmaking, The Bradfords Tour America was produced by a lesbian and a gay man who posed as a married couple while touring throughout the states with their fake family, including two sons. With this set-up they gauge reactions within the various communities to their plaintive cries for help when they show caution about their individual boys’ particular friendships. An incisive exploration of prejudice in America, it cuts to the bone with some horrible home truths.

A Brief History of Errol Morris
Kevin MacDonald proves his worth, yet again, as a documentary filmmaker after his phenomenal success with One Day in September. This highly anticipated film, for devotees of Morris (pictured above) in particular, is a well-studied portrait of this innovative director, who changed the face of documentary filmmaking with The Thin Blue Line and Pet Cemetery. Using various methods and styles of Morris, MacDonald evokes the obsessive nature of Morris and of documentary filmmaking itself, often equating Morris with many of his subjects in the process.

The Diplomat
A timely look at the political situation in East Timor, The Diplomat is an impressive production following José Ramos Horta over the past couple of years. Since he left East Timor and Indonesia 24 years ago, Horta has been an ambassador for the country in his attempts to bring attention to the human rights abuses occurring there. The documentary is especially significant in that it captures the most turbulent part of East Timor's history including the fall of Indonesia's President Suharto, the referendum to determine East Timor's future, the overwhelming vote for independence, the devastating carnage that ensued, the intervention of UN Peacekeepers and the triumphant return of Horta to his homeland.

Gaea Girls
A new documentary from respected filmmakers Kim Longinotto and Jano Williams, Gaea Girls makes you feel the sweat and punches as it follows a group of Asian female wrestlers. Far from the operatic antics of WWF wrestling tournaments, these wrestlers bring a new definition to the word sport. Like Divorce Iranian Style, their previous film, Gaea Girls presents an alternative take on modern femininity in societies that are often perceived as developing.

Good Kurds Bad Kurds
Kevin McKiernan is an American photojournalist who has visited many of the world's troubled regions over the last number of years. His Good Kurds Bad Kurds takes a controversial stance, for American journalism, in discussing Turkey's systematic approach to the ethnic cleansing of Kurdish immigrants. What particularly rancours with McKiernan is the American media's silence over the fact that the US is supplying the Turkish army with the weapons.

One Day in the Life of Andrei Arsenevitch
Chris Marker's labour-of-love documentary takes its time, and with much respect, in studying the genius of Andrei Tarkovsky and his influence on contemporary cinema. While it is an intimate account of his life, the film doesn't deny its fascination with how Tarkovsky works on set. The film itself shows Marker's subtle talents as a filmmaker and documentarian with a commitment to the craft of filmmaking.


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