This ongoing series showcases new documentaries that address contemporary issues and ideas, films that will provoke discussion, often times about subjects that are underrepresented in the mass media. First up is the return of cultural theorist Slavoj Žižek in Sophie Fienne’s The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology—a follow-up to the wild, and wildly popular The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema. Legendary documentarian Frederick Wiseman provides an inside and in-depth look at a bastion of higher learning and research in At Berkeley. Blackfish, short-listed for the 2013 Best Documentary Oscar, shows a darker side of the animal entertainment industry, and one of the SeaWorld trainers featured in the film, Samantha Berg ’89, will tune in for a Skype interview following the screening. Another short-listed nominee, but for Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, and winner of this year’s Un Certain Regard at Cannes, The Missing Picture, will be shown. It is Rithy Panh’s extraordinarily original cinematic reworking of the Khmer Rouge’s takeover of Cambodia. A post-screening discussion led by Arnika Fuhrmann (Asian Studies) and Andrew Mertha (Government) will further enlighten viewers on the film’s subject matter. And for anyone who lived through the 90s, The Punk Singer is an extremely well-made tour of contemporary music in terms of its relationship to famed leader of the Riot Grrl movement, Kathleen Hanna. While famed linguist Noam Chomsky is certainly a man of letters, visionary filmmaker Michel Gondry gives him a decidedly engaging makeover in Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy? Finally, China’s contemporary art scene is turbulent, and Chimeras looks at how a veteran, and a newcomer, navigate the choppy waters. All but Blackfish are Ithaca premieres.
©2014 Cornell Cinema, r.haarstad