December 14, 2018

Essential Doc Reads: Week of December 10

US Marines with Company G, 2d Battalion, 7th Marines, direct a concentration of fire at the enemy during the Vietnam War, May 1968. Photo courtesy of US Marines.
Essential Doc Reads is a weekly feature in which the IDA staff recommends recent pieces about the documentary form and its processes. Here we feature think pieces and important news items from around the Internet, and articles from the Documentary magazine archive. We hope you enjoy!

As the world winds down its year-long reflection on 1968, POV Magazine editor Marc Glassman assesses the documentation--both then and 50 years later--of the epochal events of that year.

Marshall McLuhan’s famous assertion that “the medium is the message” may predate 1968 by a year, but that’s alright. We can see it playing out in the films, photos and TV broadcasts of the time.

Time magazine announced its Persons of the Year this week: “The Guardians and the War on Truth” Karl Vick writes about the perilous state of journalism in democracies around the world.

This ought to be a time when democracy leaps forward, an informed citizenry being essential to self-government. Instead, it’s in retreat. Three decades after the Cold War defeat of a blunt and crude autocracy, a more clever brand takes nourishment from the murk that surrounds us. The old-school despot embraced censorship. The modern despot, finding that more difficult, foments mistrust of credible fact, thrives on the confusion loosed by social media and fashions the illusion of legitimacy from supplicants.

The Economist critiques The Owl’s Legacy, Chris Marker’s rarely seen 13-part documentary series from 1989.

Drawing on Plato’s account of the “symposium” as a wide-ranging, wine-fuelled discussion, he shows the contributors gathering round suitably laden tables in various settings: Athens, Paris, Tbilisi, Tokyo and Berkeley, California.

From the Archive: Fall 2017 issue: “In Country: Ken Burns and Lynn Novick Bring Fresh Eyes to ‘The Vietnam War’

"We get distracted by a couple things," Burns observes. "One is, people like to say, 'History repeats itself.' And that's almost like a stiff-arming of history. You don't really have to know it. 'We're condemned to repeat what we don't remember' is a wonderful phrase too, but that's not true either. Human nature remains the same. And human nature superimposes itself over the seemingly random chaos of events, where we perceive patterns and themes and motifs and echoes."

 

In the News

Columbia Journalism School Announces its 2019 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award Winners 

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The LA Film Critics Association Names its Best Films of the Year

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Won't You Be My Neighbor? Snags the Top Documentary Spot on the Toronto Film Critics End-of-year List

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The African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) Award-winners Announced

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Spanish Academy Goya Nominations Revealed

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The Los Angeles Online Film Critics Society Award-winners

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40 Filmmakers Awarded 2019 FilmHouse Residencies from SFFilm

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Brown Girls Doc Mafia Announces New Leadership and Receives a $105,000 Grant From John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

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Steve James and Kartemquin Films Join Forces with Participant Media for  Chicago Story

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ATTN: and the Obama Foundation Partner on a New Docu-series

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Tribeca Film Institute and Pond5 to Launch a Forward-thinking Filmmaking Fund Aimed at Promoting Sustainable Careers for Independent Storytellers

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Fandor Shutters its Doors ahead of Pending Assets Sale

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