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Jane

Recently on Twitter, a user asked their followers to name the best documentaries of the decade.  Instead, I named three notable documentarians who have produced excellent work.  One of those mentioned filmmakers was Brett Morgen.  Morgen has made one of the best docs about Hollywood history (The Kid Stays in the Picture), one of the best docs about music history (Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck), and with his latest project Jane, he’s made one of the best…

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On Putin’s Blacklist

In this current political climate, Russian president Vladimir Putin – along with his government – has frequently been held suspect for unethical ideologies.  On Putin’s Blacklist, a Canadian-produced documentary directed by Boris Ivanov, exposes more of these unorthodox decisions while also linking these rippling effects to possible ideas of Putin’s personality.

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Ex Libris: The New York Public Library

By: Jessica Goddard Frederick Wiseman’s Ex Libris: The New York Public Library is a slow and detailed documentary about the vast institution of the New York Public Library (not to be confused with its famous headquarters in Midtown Manhattan).  The film focuses on the NYPL’s many branches and services and functions, offering long samples of footage of what goes on from day-to-day in different branches, ranging from the micro to the macro.  Famous speakers and…

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Unarmed Verses

Signs posted around a low-income housing block in Toronto announcing “new developments” promises desirable changes, but it’s the community who are woefully anticipating the shift.  This upcoming demolition, in pending stages of growth, means permanent relocation for these residents.  Kids and teenagers are encouraged to direct their focus on other, less stressful interests, such as poetry and music.

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School Life

Neasa Ní Chianáin and David Rane’s observational documentary, School Life, is an intimate look at the daily life at Headfort, a centuries old primary Irish boarding school.  The school is run by John and Amanda Leydon, who instruct their young students on a the usual range of disciplines – math, science, languages, sport, and music.

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Long Time Running

A documentary about The Tragically Hip’s Man Machine Poem Tour needed to be made.  After all, it was a pivotal imprint in modern Canadian culture as the entire nation collectively considered the band’s timeless legacy and paid respects to terminally ill musician Gord Downie.  Finding filmmakers to handle such sensitive subject matter would be an intimidating order, yet Jennifer Baichwal (Watermark) and Nicholas de Pencier (cinematographer on The Ghosts in Our Machine) rise to the occasion and exceed…