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Both Zeitgesit Addendum and Moving Forward explore topics relevant to every individual; money, government, health, the planets limited resources and how we live our lives. Throughout these 2 films "the system" is discussed at length, the negative aspects (which are many) exposed and possible alternatives suggested and explored. If nothing else, by the end of both or either documentary the viewer will understand that rather than "THE system" it is but "A" system and there are other healthier, leaner, smarter, cleaner, more resourceful and more ethical ways we can inhabit, survive and prosper on Earth as human beings.
Whether drastic or subtle, I think that anyone who watches either of these films will change the way they do something in their day to day life. That is a bold statement to make, but I think that these films are that powerful. You can see these films as dangerous Propaganda or our dirty laundry finally being aired in public; but that is down to the individual.
As films, I don't feel that either is polished or edited very well. There are many places where a leading thinker in his field will be speaking at length on a topic that could have been cut down - it is left in a kind of semi-lecture format. I can see viewers becoming bored or nodding off perhaps. Both films take a long time to get to the juicy content and appear rather amateurish at times.
Although, both of these films feel like "bargain basement" documentaries it is in the content where both excel. Rather than giving me "food for thought" these films have changed my life more than perhaps anything else I have ever watched (with the obvious exception of the News). Having impact of this level cannot be ignored. Out of the 2 films I would recommend Addendum over Moving Forward as I feel it covers more ground, is a little less boring and is better documentary all round.
This 2003 film is Nick Broomfield's (Director) second Documentary on the American serial killer; Aileen Wuornos. The story begins around the time of Aileen's final death penalty appeal (that Broomfield testifies in).
I think that the film paints a clear picture that if Aileen would have lived a different life and had different experiences then the prostitution, the murders and the whole situation would never have occurred. As it is, her story is a tragic one, with equally tragic consequences.
Although the film is sound technically and does allow the viewer into areas that they (perhaps) could not go with other filmmakers, the documentary does "flit-about" and (at times) struggles to flow. It is called "Aileen: The Life and Death of a Serial Killer" and although her life was covered, I expected to have a lot more background information. The history of events leading up to the present are touched on very lightly and not covered in any great depth. I found myself getting confused between Father and Grandfather, and Mother and Grandmother. Although confusing in parts I did find it a very engaging film. It held my attention throughout and left me wanting to know more.
I must stress that certain attitudes and procedures seem a little inappropriate in the American penal system (which the film highlights). For example; whether the prisoner is of sound mind enough to be executed. Also, that in this situation, all of the assessors found Aileen mentally competent and of sound mind. At the same time the audience watch and listen while she talks about mind control and pressure in her head (while guards seen in the background try not to giggle). For anyone watching the documentary, you feel that her mental state has been on a clear and steady decline over the period we have been following her - yet she is seen as perfectly sane. I agree with Nick on this one, it does make you wonder what someone has to do to fail one of the mental health tests.
All things considered I think this is a good, thought provoking documentary. The source is a great and worthy subject but I feel it could have been delivered in a clearer, deeper presentation.
Cropsey is an interesting documentary that bridges the gaps between fact and urban legend, and horror and documentary. The story begins with the creepy legend of Cropsey and moves forward to explore how, on Staten Island, there actually was a "Boogey Man" (Andre Rand). He terrorized the local community by kidnapping young disabled children before murdering them. Or did he?
I wouldn't say that this is the most technically advanced documentary that I have ever seen, but it flows well, is intelligent, well researched and achieves the level of disturbance that it strives for. It is an entertaining watch but falls short of being great due to its lack of anything concrete. In its defence, the things required to access the complete truth were sadly unobtainable for the filmmakers. I find it ironic that the true story behind an urban legend is actually a mystery.
If you like documentaries and fancy something a bit different (if a little grizzly) you could do far worse than Cropsey.
Dr. Andrew Bagby was shot dead by his ex-girlfriend. This documentary was made by Kurt Kuenne (one of Andrew's best friends) to document what happened next and to honour his friends life.
This documentary is made with a very shaky and amateurish style. It is also (understandably) a very biased account. To a certain extent both of these can be forgiven due to the passion shown throughout. Coming back to it being a biased account, I feel that you could argue this as the film doesn't look at Zachary's mother's mental imbalance too much, why she acted the way she did or the series of events from her perspective. I think this is largely due to Kurt being involved in the situation as well as Directing a film about it.
For me I feel that the government and the legal system were the real "monsters" here. If the mental health team were proactive, Andrew may still be alive. If the situation was concluded after Andrew's death then the situation would not have continued. This only goes to further highlight the achievements of Andrew's Mother and Father after the event - two truly incredible people.
All things considered, I think Dear Zachary is a very good documentary. It has as many twists and turns as any Hollywood thriller and is as disjointed as Kurt's emotions surely must have been. Many of the topics covered stayed with me for days after watching the film. All the things you may have read online about this film are true; it is extremely sad and moving. But I found it rewarding, thought provoking and inspirational too.