FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Five Great Indie Films

by WILLIAM MANDEL

1) “The Cuckoo,” a humanist, pacifist, feminist, indigenist film about a Soviet soldier, his Finnish enemy, and a Lapp woman who takes them both in, when they have each escaped sentences of execution by their respective armies. None of them speaks a language either of the others can understand. There is no preaching by any of them about anything. But when a Russian writer or director wants to be humanist, no one of any other nationality can hold a candle to him.

2) “Camp,” not a documentary but filmed in an actual summer camp for would-be theater and other performers in their teens and younger. As performers they are so extraordinary that I think the casting directors (plural) deserve Oscars. But the film is about adolescents. There isn’t a single false touch.

3) “Whale Rider,” Maori actors depicting their culture. A lead character is as confident that nothing has changed in 2,000 years as the Israeli settlers I’d seen the previous week at the SF Jewish Film Festival, so it takes a miracle to provide a happy ending, which is about as realistic as if Jonah’s whale landed on the beach in Tel Aviv enabling him to provide a solution to the Palestine crisis. Nonetheless, a highly worthwhile film.

4) “Winged Migration.” French documentary. Shot all over the world. Birds is wonderful. Their matching steps in courting dances equal any pas de deux of any ballet company, and I’ve been watching the world’s best ballet companies for over seventy years.

5) “Step into Liquid.” Awful title for the surfing film to end all surfing films. Documentary. Splendid because it does not limit itself to the beauty and unbelievable athleticism of the greatest surfers. It shows duffers on Lake Michigan who just enjoy, and does not make fun of them. It shows stupendous female surfers who differ from men in that the latter are out not to fall off their boards under any circumstances, while the women are out to have fun. Three Irish-Americans introduce surfing to Ireland, and do good by bringing Protestant kids down from the North to surf with Catholics. A professional in Southern California and his buddies regularly assist a teen-ager who broke his back surfing a couple of years ago but still loves the sport. A teen-age girl in Santa Cruz understands that her father’s insistence on surfing several thousand consecutive days, “sun,rain, or tonsillitis,” simply is his life. In short, genuinely a film about human beings, not simply the sport that entrances them. Photography unparalleled and hard to believe.

WILLIAM MANDEL can be reached at: wmmmandel@earthlink.net

 

Weekend Edition
February 5-7, 2016
Jeffrey St. Clair
When Chivalry Fails: St. Bernard and the Machine
Leonard Peltier
My 40 Years in Prison
John Pilger
Freeing Julian Assange: the Final Chapter
Garry Leech
Terrifying Ted and His Ultra-Conservative Vision for America
Andrew Levine
Smash Clintonism: Why Democrats, Not Republicans, are the Problem
William Blum
Is Bernie Sanders a “Socialist”?
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
We Can’t Afford These Billionaires
Enrique C. Ochoa
Super Bowl 50: American Inequality on Display
Jonathan Cook
The Liberal Hounding of Julian Assange: From Alex Gibney to The Guardian
George Wuerthner
How the Bundy Gang Won
Mike Whitney
Peace Talks “Paused” After Putin’s Triumph in Aleppo 
Ted Rall
Hillary Clinton: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Gary Leupp
Is a “Socialist” Really Unelectable? The Potential Significance of the Sanders Campaign
Vijay Prashad
The Fault Line of Race in America
Eoin Higgins
Please Clap: the Jeb Bush Campaign Pre-Mortem
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
The Invisible Epidemic: Radiation and Rising Rates of Thyroid Cancer
Andre Vltchek
Europe is Built on Corpses and Plunder
Jack Smith
Obama Readies to Fight in Libya, Again
Robert Fantina
As Goes Iowa, So Goes the Nation?
Dean Baker
Market Turmoil, the Fed and the Presidential Election
John Grant
Israel Moves to Check Its Artists
John Wight
Who Was Cecil Rhodes?
David Macaray
Will There Ever Be Anyone Better Than Bernie Sanders?
Christopher Brauchli
Suffer Little Children: From Brazil to Flint
JP Sottile
Did Fox News Help the GOP Establishment Get Its Groove Back?
Binoy Kampmark
Legalizing Cruelties: the Australian High Court and Indefinite Offshore Detention
John Feffer
Wrestling With Iran
Rob Prince – Ibrahim Kazerooni
Syria Again
Louisa Willcox
Park Service Finally Stands Up for Grizzlies and Us
Farzana Versey
Of Beyoncé, Trudeau and Culture Predators
Pete Dolack
Fanaticism and Fantasy Drive Purported TPP ‘Benefits’
Murray Dobbin
Canada and the TPP
Steve Horn
Army of Lobbyists Push LNG Exports, Methane Hydrates, Coal in Senate Energy Bill
Colin Todhunter
“Lies, Lies and More Lies” – GMOs, Poisoned Agriculture and Toxic Rants
Franklin Lamb
ISIS Erasing Our Cultural Heritage in Syria
David Mihalyfy
#realacademicbios Deserve Real Reform
Graham Peebles
Unjust and Dysfunctional: Asylum in the UK
Yves Engler
On Unions and Class Struggle
Alfredo Lopez
The ‘Bern’ and the Internet
Missy Comley Beattie
Super Propaganda
Ed Rampell
Great Caesar’s Ghost!: A Specter Haunts Hollywood in the Coen’s Anti-Anti-Commie Goofball Comedy
Cesar Chelala
The Public Health Impact of Domestic Violence
Ron Jacobs
Cold Weather Comforts of a Certain Sort
Charles Komanoff
On the Passing of the Jefferson Airplane
Charles R. Larson
Can One Survive the Holocaust?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail