EVERYTHING’S COMING UP MILHOUSE
An exercise in overstimulation, James Benning’s American Dreams (Lost and Found) presents three simultaneous streams of information for the viewer to flitter between. At the top are slideshow scans of memorabilia relating to the baseball player Hank Aaron, over which radio hits taken from his time play in a continual stream, interrupted occasionally by news items and radio chatter. At the bottom, scrolling text in a handwritten script moves by almost too fast to read, drawn from diary entries detailing…
Regarded as the first televised documentary directed by an African American woman, in this film a mix of materials are seen showing efforts made by civil rights activists operating across Alabama, Brooklyn and Washington, D.C. in the late 1950s. Alongside footage of various marches for racial equality and against police brutality, protest songs by Maya Angelou can be heard, as well as footage showing a speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. Occasional interviews and a through-line of explanatory narration thread it all together, giving a plural, polyfocal picture of the desegregation effort taken from its frontline.
A smart way to get a first feature noticed is to make it stand out in some way; generate a talking point that conversation can surround. 36, from new Thai director Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit does precisely this, structuring the story around a piece of neat formalism that serves well to draw attention to the film.
Made of entirely static compositions, 36 mimics the format and function of a film camera. thirty six ‘exposures’ of the camera’s roll are divided with numbers…