Full Frame Documentary Film Fest 2009: Day Two

The sky cleared and the sun came out for the 2nd day of the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in downtown Durham. Bigger crowds came out too as it was Friday and more folks were free for the weekend. My post for the day will be shorter and not very in depth because it’s been a long day and I’m very tired. I’ll post full reviews of particular notable films in the near future (or at least a little more in depth than here) so please stay tuned. For now though these are my highlights for Day Two:

THE KINDA SUTRA (Dir. Jessica Wu, 2008)

This 8 minute short isn’t really a documentary but a half animated featurette built around interviews with various people about how they first understood sex as children. Too cutesy for my taste really, but amusing nonetheless.

SAINT MISBEHAVIN’: THE WAVY GRAVY MOVIE (Dir. Michelle Esrick, 2008) Now this is more like it! Upon entering the theater (Fletcher Hall) I was handed a red styrofoam clown nose. A suitable piece of swag for this rollicking (and rocking) bio-doc of the infamous poet turned Merry Prankster turned wacky activist/clown. Absolutely a gloriously funny and educating portrait from start to finish, it was capped off by having the man himself (below, 3rd from right) appear onstage with his wife (Jahanara Romney), director Esrick, cinematographer Daniel B. Gold, composer Daniel B. Gold, and documentatian God D.A. Pennebaker (who executive produced). Expect more bloggin’ ’bout this soon because it stands as one of my favorites of the festival.

THE YES MEN FIX THE WORLD (Dirs. Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno, 2009) A great afternoon of premium infotainment continued with this hilarious docu romp through the anti-globalization activist antics of the Yes Men (Bichlbaum & Bonanno). Maskuerading as spokespeople for corporations or government run businesses they believe are corrupt (Dow Chemical, HUD, ExxonMobil, etc.) provides a puncheant platform for skyscraping satire. Definitely so far the film in the Fest with the biggest laughs I’ve seen as the riotous audience proved over and over.

SNEAK PREVIEW: FIXER: THE TAKING OF AJMAL NAQSHBANDI (Dir. Ian Olds, 2009) A straight forward telling of the Taliban kidnapping “fixer” (someone hired by foreign journalists to facilitate, translate, and gain access for their stories) Ajmal Naqshbandi and an Italian journalist. Much casual footage of Naqshbandi was taken in the months before his murder which made for a compelling, if at times hard to stomach, viewing (several people walked out).

BEETLE QUEEN CONQUERS TOYKO (Dir. Jessica Oreck, 2009) Beautiful but boring. The question of why the Japanese are so fascinated with beetles is answered with an attempt at visual poetry that while lush was severely sleep inducing – which is where I should be now.

Okay! I have now got to get some rest for tomorrow. Day Three of Full Frame looks pretty promising – will let you know how it goes.

More later…
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