Biographical, Historical/Period, Literary
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With sly humor, director Vanessa Gould (Between the Folds) lovingly demonstrates the process of writing obituaries at The New York Times while delivering a paean to days of journalism gone by, when newspapers could afford to hire as many as 30 people to work in the “morgue,” or clippings room, and assign several staffers to report on lives that “had an impact,” large or small.
Punctuated by rapid-fire series of clips, the heart of the documentary rests in Gould’s fly-on-the-wall observation, as Ben Wolf’s camera captures editorial meetings about who warrants coverage, closes in on Bruce Weber quizzing the bereaved or carefully frames Margalit Fox describing how to sum up a life. These writers make the case that their articles merely acknowledge death on the way to celebrating life—and they do it convincingly: word nerds will love their dissection of the lede, and it’s impossible not to share Jeff Roth’s passion for the archives as he pulls out an obscure 1921 photo of Pete Seeger as a child.
Made by her son, this engrossing documentary makes sense of Franca Sozzani’s life and work as the controversial editor of Vogue Italia. Pithy commentary from Karl Lagerfeld, Baz Luhrmann and others punctuates the conversations between the filmmaker and his mother.
The Pulitzer Prize turns 100 this year. This fascinating documentary from Oscar and Emmy winner Kirk Simon examines how one of the world’s most prestigious awards got its start while sharing the work of the authors, journalists, playwrights, musicians and photographers who have been its recipients.
Legalized gaming on reservations has proven an effective tool for Native Americans to achieve self-sufficiency, and its instigator was longtime Seminole chairman James E. Billie. This documentary captures Billie as he deployed charm, physical bravado and grit to assert tribal sovereignty.