Toi­let hu­mour with a mes­sage

The Doco Edge fes­ti­val has tales about ev­ery­thing from cult lead­ers to celebrity pho­tog­ra­phers, finds

Waikato Times - - Front Page - James Croot.

New Zealand’s an­nual cel­e­bra­tion of global doc­u­men­tary-mak­ing has fi­nally gone na­tional. Yes, Covid-19 has had one un­ex­pected ben­e­fit for cinephiles, Doc Edge Fes­ti­val 2020 can be potentiall­y watched by Ki­wis from Cape Reinga to Rak­iura.

All 83 of the shorts and fea­tures se­lected for the Os­cars-qual­i­fy­ing an­nual event’s 15th edi­tion are avail­able to stream. While some ti­tles are free and avail­able to watch at any time, most will be avail­able at par­tic­u­lar times from to­day un­til July 5, by buy­ing a ticket.

Af­ter look­ing through the lineup and pre­view­ing a se­lec­tion, Stuff has come up with a list of 10 ti­tles well worth seek­ing out.

Ele­menta

Wa¯ naka-based film-maker Richard Sidey’s fi­nal part of his Speech­less tril­ogy is truly an im­mer­sive ex­pe­ri­ence. Shot on seven con­ti­nents over five years, it de­liv­ers a se­ries of stun­ning wildlife im­ages nar­rated only by Bo­real Taiga’s at­mo­spheric score.

Beau­ti­ful match shots, crisp black-and-white photograph­y and its trip­tych style evoke mem­o­ries of those theme park or tourist at­trac­tion 180-de­gree au­dio-vis­ual pre­sen­ta­tions. Dim the lights, crank up the sound sys­tem and watch it on the big­gest screen you have.

Watch it if: You’re a fan of Kiwi and en­vi­ron­men­tal cin­ema.

First We Eat

Here’s the per­fect tale for those who strug­gled with­out take­aways dur­ing the lock­down. Cana­dian di­rec­tor Suzanne Crocker lives in a part of the Yukon – just 300km south of the Arc­tic Cir­cle – that is almost com­pletely re­liant on else­where for its reg­u­lar food sup­plies. She de­cides her fam­ily should try to live lo­cal for an en­tire year. The re­sults aren’t al­ways pretty – or edi­ble.

Watch it if: You’re a lo­ca­vore, or love watch­ing a good Su­per Size Me-style chal­lenge.

The Fo­rum

It’s a premise that could have been about as ex­cit­ing as watch­ing paint dry. A fly-on-the-wall doc­u­men­tary set in and around the an­nual World Eco­nomic Fo­rum. How­ever, thanks to im­pres­sive pac­ing, bril­liant edit­ing and mak­ing full use of his seem­ingly un­fet­tered ac­cess to events, Ger­man di­rec­tor Mar­cus Vet­ter has crafted an en­gross­ing and timely in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the his­tory and im­por­tance of this key global gath­er­ing.

Sur­pris­ingly filled with twists and turns, the tale of­fers a be­hind-the-cur­tain look at key play­ers Greta Thun­berg, Donald Trump and Jair Bol­sonaro, and makes a po­ten­tial star out of the fo­rum’s avun­cu­lar founder, Klaus Sch­wab.

Watch it if: You want to un­der­stand world pol­i­tics, or see the masks slip.

Mr Toi­let

Jack Sim is the face of the globe’s other WTO – the World Toi­let Or­gan­i­sa­tion. For more than 20 years, the Sin­ga­porean busi­ness­man has chan­nelled his bound­less en­thu­si­asm into creating a ‘‘bowel move­ment’’ aimed at im­prov­ing ac­cess to proper san­i­ta­tion around the globe.

Lily Zepeda’s charm­ing crowd­pleaser fol­lows Sim as he tries to raise aware­ness by any means nec­es­sary and tack­les his big­gest ever chal­lenge – In­dia.

Watch it if: You love poop puns, toi­let hu­mour and colour­ful char­ac­ters with a mes­sage.

The Prophet Vs the Space Aliens

Scien­tol­ogy may garner most of the headlines and Hol­ly­wood celebri­ties, but there are other ex­trater­res­trial-in­spired re­li­gions out there, as Yoav Shamir’s doc­u­men­tary demon­strates.

Shamir in­ves­ti­gates the Raelian or­gan­i­sa­tion’s ori­gins, philoso­phies and phil­an­thropic pro­grammes, many of which will raise an eye­brow. Then there’s the cult’s colour­ful leader Rael, a man with his own truly eclec­tic and colour­ful past.

Watch it if: You love Louis Th­er­oux or David Far­rier-style looks at the world’s ec­cen­tric­i­ties.

Saul and Ruby’s Holo­caust Sur­vivor Band

Their tunes might not be as toe-tap­ping as the Buena Vista So­cial Club, but this tale of two nona­ge­nar­ian Florida mu­si­cians is just as crowd­pleas­ing.

Ninety-four-year-old drum­mer Saul Dreier and 90-year-old ac­cor­dion­ist Ruby Sos­now­icz have one last wish, to play a con­cert in their Pol­ish home­land. What fol­lows is an emo­tional jour­ney for them and the au­di­ence, as the pair deal with loss, and find re­vis­it­ing their past af­fects them far more than they ex­pected.

Watch it if: You’re pre­pared to shed a tear.

A Thou­sand Cuts

Think Donald Trump is a po­lar­is­ing pres­i­dent? Meet Ro­drigo Duterte. Voted in as the Philip­pines’ 16th leader, the then 71-year-old promised to wage a war on the coun­try’s drug prob­lem. The re­sult is more than 12,000 deaths, mostly poor peo­ple in ur­ban ar­eas, and the ha­rass­ment of any­one who dares speak out against his regime.

Di­rec­tor Ra­mona Diaz doc­u­ments the ex­pe­ri­ence of Rap­pler web­site founder Maria Ressa, who found her­self and her vir­tu­ally allfe­male staff the tar­get of ha­rass­ment by Duterte and his hench­man. But the film also takes a look at those loyal to the pres­i­dent, in­clud­ing dancer­turned-as­pir­ing-politi­cian Mocha Uson.

Watch it if: You need a re­minder of how lucky New Zealan­ders are.

That Click

He’s been in­ti­mate with Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe, per­suaded El­iz­a­beth Tay­lor to help him make his ca­reer, and im­pressed Michelle Wil­liams with his pro­fes­sion­al­ism. For more than 60 years, Dou­glas Kirk­land’s im­ages have helped sell Hol­ly­wood glam­our around the world, ini­tially through the iconic Life and Look mag­a­zines.

As Luca Sev­eri’s el­e­gant and en­light­en­ing por­trait re­veals, he’s also cap­tured in­ti­mate mo­ments from the sets of clas­sic films such as The

Sound of Mu­sic, Out of Africa and Ti­tanic, and the hearts of many who have en­coun­tered him and his cam­era.

Watch it if: You’re into Tin­sel­town and its myr­iad stars.

This is Not a Movie

In­spired by watch­ing Al­fred Hitch­cock’s 1940 spy thriller of the same name, Robert Fisk al­ways wanted to be a for­eign cor­re­spon­dent.

For the past 45 years, he’s been based in the Mid­dle East, re­port­ing from the back­streets and front­lines of some of the world’s most dan­ger­ous and dis­puted places.

Di­rec­tor Yung Chang fol­lows Fisk, note­book in hand, as he con­ducts in­ter­views and ob­serves the chaotic world around him.

There are plenty of in­ti­mate mo­ments and amaz­ing archival footage to savour, as the forth­right Fisk holds court on the dire state of global pol­i­tics and jour­nal­ism to­day.

Watch it if: You’re in­ter­ested in old-school jour­nal­ism and the printed word.

Who Let The Dogs Out

It’s one of song­writ­ing’s great­est unan­swered ques­tions (along with what Meat­loaf wouldn’t do for love), and in this en­ter­tain­ing and en­gross­ing comedic standup lec­ture ad­ven­ture, Ben Sisto re­counts his eight-year odyssey to find the ori­gin of the Baha Men’s 2000 global hit (New Zealand was one of two coun­tries where it topped the charts).

Start­ing out sim­ply try­ing to fix an in­com­plete Wikipedia en­try, he ends up down a rab­bit hole filled with crazy, colour­ful char­ac­ters, com­pet­ing claims and lengthy law­suits.

Watch it if: You dig pop­u­lar cul­ture.

The Doc Edge Film Fes­ti­val 2020 runs from to­day un­til July 5. For on­line ses­sion times, the full lineup and more in­for­ma­tion, see fes­ti­val.do­cedge.nz

First We Eat.

Who Let The Dogs Out.

The Prophet Vs the Space Aliens.

Mr Toi­let.

Ele­menta.

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