Independent Lens: Season 5 (2003 - 2004)

SEASON:

Season 5
Independent Lens

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

Not enough ratings to
calculate a score.

TOMATOMETER

Critic Ratings: 0

No Score Yet

Audience Score

User Ratings: 0

Episodes

Air date: Oct 14, 2003

Artist Vik Muniz's style is hard to classify (such as painting with chocolate sauce), but his amiable personality is easy to take in this profile. Producer-director Anne-Marie Russell follows Muniz to Chicago and Paris, where his works (enhanced by such things as thread, spaghetti and sugar) are being shown; to Arizona, where he has difficulty photographing a huge "bone" he had fashioned---with a bulldozer---in the desert; and his native Brazil, where he philosophizes. "Art really isn't about what you say," he muses. "It's about how you say it." Don Cheadle hosts.

View Details
Air date: Oct 21, 2003

Two haunting "foto-novelas," Latin American pulp dramas with mystical overtones, adapted by filmmaker Carlos Avila and filmed in and around San Antonio. The first, "Junkyard Saints," concerns a teenage father (Jeremy Ray Valdez), a drug dealer and dashboard saints recovered from car wrecks. Clemente: Leon Singer. Then, in "Broken Sky" (inspired by the Woody Guthrie song "Deportees"), an aging and ailing California farmworker (Victor Campos) has visions of his wife (Diane Uribe) who died in a plane crash some 50 years before. She's urging him to join her on another flight. Mario: Robert Beltran.

View Details
Air date: Oct 28, 2003

"Shaolin Ulysses: Kungfu Monks in America" profiles five Zen Buddhist monks (all of them martial artists) who have immigrated to the U.S. They're "on a road trip of enlightenment," says narrator Beau Bridges, one that has taken some surprising turns. For Xing Hong, it's Las Vegas, while Xing Hao and De Shan have settled in Houston, where they train aspiring Olympians (officials are considering adding kung fu as a medal sport) and police officers. The hour also visits the orignial Shaolin temple in China's Henan province, and traces its 1500-year history.

View Details
Air date: Nov 4, 2003

"A Wedding in Ramallah" and life happily ever after in Cleveland? That's what Palestinians Bassam and Mariam hoped for when they married in 2000. Filmmaker Sherine Salama chronicles what they got in an intriguing, fly-on-the-wall style that doesn't stint on sardonic humor. First, there are Muslim gender roles (the fact that the marriage is arranged doesn't help either). Then there's the intifada, which Mariam can't escape until she gets her visa. It takes months (and means living with her in-laws). And what does she hear when she does get to Cleveland? "Bring me my slippers."

View Details
Air date: Nov 11, 2003

"Be Good, Smile Pretty" chronicles filmmaker Tracy Droz Tragos's effort to establish "my own relationship with my father," a Navy lieutenant who died in Vietnam in 1969, when she was 4 months old. Droz Tragos and her mother visit her father's Missouri home town and meet his mother and relatives. Other stops include the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C., where she meets with Sen. John Kerry (who calls her father "my comrade"), and Annapolis, for his 35th Naval Academy renunion.

View Details
Air date: Nov 25, 2003

"Livermore," a wry dissection of the San Francisco suburb and its oddities, including a missing time capsule, the world's longest-running lightbulb and a centennial totem pole that was shortened by town authorities. This prompted its Chippewa sculptor to put a "curse" on the town. Soon afterward, sewers backed up. Livermore is also home to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories, where scientists developed nuclear weapons, and it's the subject of "Suburbia," a photography book depicting everyday life in the late '60s and early '70s in a manner that many thought mocked suburbia. Fumes one resident: "If ever there's a book burning, that's the book I'd want burned."

View Details
Air date: Dec 9, 2003

"Eroica!" follows the Eroica Trio (cellist Sara Sant'Ambrogio, pianist Erika Nickrenz and violinist Adela Pena) through a hectic year of touring, while also badgering composer Kevin Kaska to complete the triple concerto he's writing for them. The pressure on Kaska is enormous (Sant'Ambrogio: "Beethoven's the only one who has been able to do it"), and filmmaker Alan Miller's tight pacing makes it visceral.

View Details
Air date: Dec 16, 2003

"Loaded Gun: Life, Death and Dickinson," writer-director Jim Walpaw's idiosyncratic search for the essence of cryptic poet Emily Dickinson (1830-86), whose sometimes morbid work "still seems ahead of its time." The reclusive Dickinson is not an easy subject for a standard documentary. "Nothing," Wolpaw sighs, "was giving me a real sense of who this woman was." So in addition to interviewing experts and filming "arty" establishing shots, he also got actresses to improvise as Dickinson. The results are hit or miss. Says one: "I consider death to be an orgasmic moment."

View Details
Air date: Dec 23, 2003

"Get the Fire! Young Mormon Missionaries Abroad" follows a group of young men from 1999 to 2001as they evangelize in southern Germany, and reflect on their lives and missions. But before they leave there's the Mission Training Center in Utah. It's "boot camp moved to the celestial kingdom," says a former missionary, one of several who offer occasional skeptical comments. And the missionaries face skepticism (or indifference) from most of the Germans they meet. But it doesn't seem to faze them.

View Details
Air date: Dec 30, 2003

A collection of six short films, begins with "Compulsory Breathing," a 24-minute tale of a suicidal man (Yuri Lane) and the woman (Beth Lisick) who wants to kill herself with his gun---after he's finished with it. Also: "Bike Ride," Thurberesque animation about a lovesick man riding 70 miles to see a woman who doesn't want to see him; "Dilly Dally," a poem performed by Everton Sylvester of the Brooklyn Funk Essentials; "Don't Nobody Love the Game More than Me," a Socratic debate on a basketball court; "Tom Hits His Head," about a dizzy six months in the life of the filmmaker (Tom Putnam); and "Sergi," two minutes' worth of musings about hockey and identity in New York's Central Park.

View Details
Show More Episodes

Independent Lens: Season 5 Photos

Tv Season Info

Critic Reviews for Independent Lens: Season 5

There are no critic reviews yet for Season 5. Keep checking Rotten Tomatoes for updates!

Audience Reviews for Independent Lens: Season 5

News & Features