List Film

Reviews & features: Documentary

The Emperor's New Clothes

22 Apr 20153 stars

Russell Brand takes centre stage in this passionate and timely documentary

Whatever your personal feelings towards comedian Russell Brand, this entertaining 'agit-doc' is well worth a watch in the run-up to the general election on May 7th. Directed by Michael Winterbottom, The Emperor's New Clothes takes aim at a handful of…

Dark Horse: The Incredible True Story of Dream Alliance

13 Apr 20154 stars

Louise Osmond tells the inspiring story behind a champion racehorse

Animal films are usually weepies and stories of racehorses even more so, especially as their endings are typically problematic. So the cheery documentary Dark Horse: The Incredible True Story of Dream Alliance is a welcome addition to this tear-smeared…

Cobain: Montage of Heck

6 Apr 20154 stars

The late Nirvana frontman is the subject of an eye-opening documentary

This authorised but nevertheless raucous documentary builds a complex and impressively detailed picture of the Nirvana frontman's life, while stopping short of directly addressing his death. It brings together home movies, photos, the talking heads of…

Altman

30 Mar 20154 stars

Brisk yet insightful documentary celebrating the legendary American filmmaker

Robert Altman remains the very definition of a maverick filmmaker. He worked inventively with the resources of big Hollywood studios when such a thing was possible, and made the most of the greater creative freedoms that came with the smaller budgets of…

Interview: Russ Gomm, ‘The Woods is the world's first found footage documentary'

24 Mar 2015

The UK director discusses his documentary on the making of The Blair Witch Project

The Blair Witch Project changed the face of modern horror. It wasn't the first found footage film, but it ushered in a new wave of inferior imitators. What most people didn't appreciate was that directors Eduardo Sánchez and Daniel Myrick didn't just…

Dior and I

23 Mar 20153 stars

Low-key, engaging documentary focusing on the iconic fashion house

There has been a small glut of fashion documentaries over recent years, and director Frédéric Tcheng has been involved with some of the best of them: he co-directed, wrote and edited the wonderful Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel, and co-edited…

Watch trailer for Kurt Cobain documentary Montage of Heck

12 Mar 2015

First authorised film about the Nirvana singer features home movies and unreleased music

Having premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, Montage of Heck has already been described as ‘the definitive Cobain documentary’. It is the first authorised film about the lead singer of Nirvana, with Courtney Love and their daughter…

My Name is Salt

9 Mar 20154 stars

Indian salt producers are the focus of an uplifting documentary from Farida Pacha

The best documentaries not only shine a light on hidden corners of the world but, through careful observation, elicit a true appreciation for experiences far removed from our own. Filmmaker Farida Pacha does just that with her excellent feature debut…

Watch Edward Snowden documentary CitizenFour online

2 Mar 2015

Filmmaker Laura Poitras' Academy Award-winning doc available to stream

This year's Best Documentary Oscar went to the critically-acclaimed CitizenFour, which captures one of the most important news stories of our time by one of the people who was there as it happened. It was through filmmaker Laura Poitras that US…

Dreamcatcher

2 Mar 20154 stars

Kim Longinotto's documentary shines a light on a truly wonderful woman

Forget all those lycra-clad crime-fighters who constantly jostle for position at the box office, Dreamcatcher is a documentary about a bona fide superhero. By day, Brenda Myers-Powell works with prostitutes in prison and disadvantaged young girls in…

GFF live: A Night at the Regal

20 Feb 20154 stars

Joe McAlinden, eagleowl and BSP provide live soundtracks to short films and archive footage

It’s a nice idea for a site-specific Glasgow Film Festival event – drawing on the past life of the O2 ABC as one of the city’s grand old picture houses to host a quadruple-bill of short movies and video pieces set to live soundtracks. Beyond that…

Strange Electricity: Jim Tenors recalls making Sähkö The Movie

18 Feb 2015

Ahead of a rare screening in Glasgow, the director shares his memories of filming the documentary

Only the few will have seen Sähkö The Movie – regarded among certain technoheads as the ‘Holy Grail of electronic music documentaries’. Rarely screened live, besides the odd special event like Sonar festival, or a night at MoMA in New York, it’s coming…

Maidan

16 Feb 20154 stars

Excellent documentary from Sergei Loznitsa which shows the power of protest

On February 20th, 2014, a clash between protestors and police in Kiev's Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) saw over 50 people lose their lives, and marked the beginning of the end of Viktor Yanukovych's contentious presidency. Released on the…

Glasgow Film Festival 2015: Music Highlights

12 Feb 2015

2015 GFF programme includes glimpses of Daft Punk, the Mekons and Talking Heads

We pick out some musical highlights from Glasgow Film Festival's 2015 programme, including Stop Making Sense, Revenge of the Mekons and The Fall of the House of Usher

BAFTA 2015 winners include Eddie Redmayne, Boyhood and The Grand Budapest Hotel

9 Feb 2015

Redmayne picks up Best Actor gong, and The Lego Movie wins Best Animated Film

Eddie Redmayne won best actor at last night's BAFTA Film Awards for his portrayal of Professor Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. The film won a trio of gongs, rounded off with outstanding British film and adapted screenplay. Julianne Moore…

Dancing in Jaffa

9 Feb 20153 stars

Dancer Pierre Dulaine returns to his homeland in Hilla Medalia's doc

Ballroom dancer Pierre Dulaine makes a naïve attempt to bring Jewish and Palestinian-Israeli children together via the medium of dance in this heart-warming but uneven documentary from Hilla Medalia. This also marks Dulaine's return to his city of birth…

Love is All

9 Feb 20153 stars

Delightful, slightly rudderless documentary from the great Kim Longinotto

The noted British documentarian Kim Longinotto – director of Divorce Iranian Style and Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go, among many others – oversees one of those whirling carousels of dusted-off archive footage that serve to remind us what a busy and…

Tales of the Grim Sleeper

26 Jan 20154 stars

Gripping and disturbing serial killer documentary from Nick Broomfield

Nick Broomfield’s latest documentary hones in on the strange and disturbing case of a serial killer nicknamed the 'Grim Sleeper' by the press, due to an apparent period of slumber from his crimes, which stretch back more than a quarter of a century.

No Manifesto: A Film About Manic Street Preachers

26 Jan 20154 stars

Elizabeth Marcus' insightful film disabuses numerous notions about the band

'We've sold millions of albums, and nobody knows who we are,' says Manic Street Preachers drummer Sean Moore in Elizabeth Marcus' excellent documentary about the Welsh band. It may sound churlish, but the film gives credence to his lament; whatever you…

La Maison de la Radio

19 Jan 20152 stars

Nicolas Philibert's Radio France documentary proves both fascinating and frustrating

French filmmaker Nicolas Philibert will be best known to international audiences for his excellent 2002 documentary Être et Avoir, a portrait of a single-room school in rural France. His latest work, La Maison de la Radio, takes the same fly-on-the-wall…

Beyond Clueless

19 Jan 20153 stars

Charlie Lyne's entertaining documentary celebrates and dissects the teen movie

Ever since James Dean set light to the establishment in the 50s, teens have been central to cinema, both as audience and subject. Every generation since has films that define adolescence: from the antics of The Beatles and the students of Rydell High in…

Q&A: Charlie Lyne on directing Beyond Clueless

16 Jan 2015

An homage to the glorious teen movies of the 90s

British film critic Charlie Lyne pays tribute to the teen movie, in particular its 1990s incarnation, with Beyond Clueless, an affectionate but determinedly anti-ironic appreciation. With reference to some 200 films, narration by actress and teen movie…

Point and Shoot

12 Jan 20152 stars

Marshall Curry's flawed film documents Matt VanDyke's quest for masculinity

You can tell a lot about a documentary from its closing frames. In Point and Shoot the Oscar-nominated writer-director Marshall Curry asks a summing-up question of his subject Matt VanDyke, an OCD-suffering Baltimore filmmaker turned Arab Spring…

Erebus: Into the Unknown

5 Jan 20153 stars

Chilling yet stirring documentary from Charlotte Purdy and Peter Burger

On 28 November 1979 a flight took off from New Zealand loaded with 257 passengers heading on a sightseeing tour over Antarctica. They would never be seen alive again. This documentary mixes archive footage, interviews and reconstructions to bring to…

The Last of the Unjust

5 Jan 20155 stars

Claude Lanzmann revisits the subject of the Holocaust in this fine documentary

Claude Lanzmann's Shoah is one of the most important documentaries ever made. His monumental oral history of the Holocaust was constructed over 12 years. In 1975 in Rome, Lanzmann interviewed Benjamin Murmelstein, the last president of the Jewish…