Friday, November 28, 2014

The Pakistan Four (2014)

"Only a fighter who rides the horse in a battle field has a chance of falling, But how will those cowards fall who walk on their knees" - Azeem Dehalvi.

Shehzad Hameed Ahmad's excellent portrait of four Pakastani women in America who are taking non-traditional paths through life:

Hareem Ahmad is a world class fencing champion.
Fatima Ali is an award winning chef who won the TV series Chopped
Kulsoom Abdah is a weightlifter
Nadia Manzoor is a writer/performer and comic

The film examines the battles that the women have had in order to reach their goals in the world while struggling to remain connected to their dreams and traditions. The film is kind of a riff on a statement that Nadia makes about how Pakistani parents wonder how and why their children end up with Western ideas when they come to the West to live. The paths all four women have chosen are decidedly non-traditional as far as being from Pakistan is concerned.

This short film (it runs 37 minutes) is a real treat. Throwing light on a series of struggles that most people out side of a Pakistani family would never know about, this film is a celebration of how these woman are finding a path to their own happiness by perusing their dreams while doing things that their traditions say they shouldn't. In their ways they are opening the door for not only other Pakistani women but any women who are in a culture that has similar traditions about a woman's place.

I know I keep using the word tradition, but that is what the film is about, finding a bridge between tradition and the modern world. Its a film that reveals bridges can be built if one is willing to to try.

Ahmad was blessed by finding four such wonderful and wonderfully articulate women to state the case that there is more to life then just following the traditional path of marriage and motherhood. Here we have four well educated and well spoken women who speak openly about the struggles of straddling both worlds.

Nadia is the most vocal of the women and it's through her theater piece that we come to understand what life for many Pakistani women is like. As she says at one point 5000 girls a year are killed for things as seemingly trivial as talking on the phone. The fact that she and her sisters are trying to do more makes them very courageous individuals. That may sound crazy to many of you reading this but understand that it's true, doing something that might be considered to shame a family can have dire consequences.

This film shows that what these women are doing is not something to feel ashamed of, but something to celebrate. They are showing not only what women are really capable of, but also how the blending of their traditions and Western ideas can create something marvelously unexpected.

If I must find fault with the film it's in that it's only 37 minutes long. Ahmad has found four wonderful subjects and the fact that we are not given more time with them is a real shame. You will forgive me if I say that I wish that the film could some how be lengthened into a full fledged feature, not only so that we may see more of these women, but because a feature should give the film more of a life. This is a film that needs to go out and be seen by as many women as possible, not just Pakistani, but all women, since the struggles of these women to do more and be more there is a possibility that others may follow in their footsteps and do things that are as equally wondrous.

A big thank you to director Shehzad Hameed Ahmad for sending this great film my way.

The film won the Best Documentary award at the Indiana Film Festival.

It  will be available shortly on I-Tunes (I'll post a link when that happens)

Shehzad Hameed Ahmad's next documentary is a film is for Channel News Asia. It concerns a Pakistani school teacher and four of her students in a remote village of Punjab, Pakistan Its aim is to highlight the issues associated with girls education in the country and bring to light, the heroes fighting for the future generations of the country.

Black Devil Doll From Hell (1984) Thanksgiving Turkey

Shot on video monstrosity about a repressed deeply religious black woman who buys a ventriloquist dummy with dreadlocks that happens to be possessed. The Dummy seduces her and then takes her over turning her into a sex fiend.

As they say you have to see it to believe it. Obviously the intent was to make a serious film about the fall from grace, yadda yadda yadda, but the result is painful, Mostly because scenes run on and on and on with no end in sight. We get a long phone conversation while the camera pans around the house showing all the religious items in it. The opening credits take almost 7 minutes of screen time (thats about one tenth the length of the film). The music is awful. And the sex scenes...well did you ever want to know what it would look like if Charlie Mc Carthy ever managed to marry a real live girl? Yea, me neither. This is a painful film that is only recommended for seasoned bad movie lovers or mental patients, preferably people who are both. This walks that fine line between MST3K good bad and mind destroying bad.

You've been warned.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Mondo Cannibal (2003)

I’m not sure if Mondo Cannibal aka Cannibal World is a bad film or god bad film. It’s a gross, disgusting, poorly made button pushing satire that kind of works in weird way.

The film has a TV news host going to the jungle in order to bump up her and her stations ratings. It seems another TV station has gotten big ratings by showing the cruelties of the native populations. It’s thought that doing something similar would boost their ratings as well. While they find some nastiness the band decides that they should spice things up and before long the so called civilized people are committing ugly acts that they previously looked down on.

A direct to video film that riffs on Cannibal Holocaust and other jungle films, the film is weakly made film that exists purely for the poor gore effects it throws our way. Yea they kill an alligator and show lots of intestines, but the red is like paint and the effects are low grade. It’s disappointing.

The tone of the film is ugly. No one is particularly nice and everyone ultimately gets what the deserve. While it doesn’t give us anyone to root for it does create a tension in the last half where you stay tense waiting for the next ugly thing to happen. Since the film doesn’t care for anyone we don’t either, but in a film like this it still ups the ante since nothing is out of the realm of possibility.

Its so ugly on a human level you may want to take a shower when the film is done.

The interesting thing the films premise about the more it bleeds the more it leads is nothing new. However seeing this now 11 year old film I think the attitude is “less no duh” than “we’re not that far from this” which is scary. We should not be this close to this sort of satire.

This should not be considered an across the board recommendation. The audience for this film is pure for exploitation fans with a love of gory jungle sleaze films or mondo films. Everyone else, especially if you don’t have a strong stomach or weren’t dropped a lot a child should stay away.

Carrie (1988) the RSC production that became a Broadway nightmare

The Broadway legend lives on with the discovery that there is a video of the Royal Shakespeare Production of Carrie the Musical from 1988.

Yea let that bombshell sink into your wicked little brains for a bit.

If you look there is a chance that you too can see a show so legendarily bad that it marks a certain low in Broadway badness thanks to the book Not Since Carrie… by Ken Mandelbaum. The play had reviews so bad the backers pulled funding after the first weekend despite sellouts and good audience word of mouth (an old girlfriend of mine had seen it with her Catholic High School and liked it)

I found my copy at this year’s New York Comic Con and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I thought it was going to be either a regional production or a version of the recent Off Broadway revival, but no, it’s not, it’s the RSC version complete with everything my girlfriend had told me in it, namely naked girls in a shower, a fetish ball second act opener and stairway to heaven conclusion. I don’t know if I was cursed or blessed in finding it.

The plot, for those who don’t know, has poor tormented Carrie White getting her period and discovering her psychic powers at the same time. She is asked to the prom by the coolest guy, but it’s all an elaborate prank that levels bodies everywhere- including that of her religious zealot mother. The film and the book were where many people first discovered Stephen King.

The play is pure 1980’s cheese. Lasers, smoke, poofy hair and other nastiness abound. Much of the action happens on an empty stage- though some of the set changes like the way Carrie’s house open are quite good.

Even allowing that the version I saw is off a single nailed to the floor camera at the back of the theater this is a poor play. The music is dull and unimaginable, the lyrics are weak, the dialog lame and the dance numbers are WTF bad.

How did this ever get produced in England? Forget Broadway, what sort of drug addled the producers mind and thought this huge empty production would actually work? I don’t know. It has to be the drugs.

This is awful…and so static as to be unwatchable. It’s so terrible I can’t recommend it even for shits and giggles.

Is it the worst play I’ve seen?

Probably not- Dance of the Vampires, a German play wrecked when it was forcibly rewritten in English by Michael Crawford (in a move that I’m told has made him even more persona non grata on Broadway) was so bad I emailed everyone, including the producers, I knew to say avoid it. After the play the audience filed out in a dead silence that made one think the actors had killed the audiences children before them. As worse…

As was The Wrong Mountain about a scholar who decides to write popular play. It was unfunny and horrible and had a giant talking tape worm as a character. Randi and I couldn’t flee fast enough at intermission- we were ready to go five minutes in

Carrie pales before them and I hope never to see them, or Carrie again.

(In fairness apparently the recent Off Broadway revision to Carrie was a vast improvement. The train wreck is only the original production)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Historian (2014)

Ben is a professor in his 30's who takes a temporary position in a distant University in order to escape his troubles and a failed marriage.  Once there he collides with the head of his department,who is dealing with a sick father, a beautiful grad student trying to get her doctorate and a wily "plastics" professor who just wants a fling.

Very good, but uneven film is a nice change of pace from all of the blockbuster and big budget films that Hollywood churns out for our consumption. This is a small scale film that is nicely human and real.

The film is full of wonderful scenes and small moments that lift the film up from the inde pile for example when the head of the History department, William Sadler, explains the ways the ancients killed to a student by physically demonstrating it on him; or Ben and another professor discussing a zombie apocalypse or even a late in the game admission by the plastics professor of her feelings for Ben all help to push the film into being something special.

As I said above the film is uneven. Its not really the fault of the script which is fine, with the academic and the soul searching sequences faring better, having more of a lived in feel, than some of the romance ones, the unevenness is due largely to the casting. All of the major roles are fine, however once you start to get to the secondary characters the film is less sturdy. No one is bad exactly but the difference between William Sadler and say some of the students, or Ben's ex-wife is noticeable.

I like this film a great deal. That's not just words, that's something more since when I finished off the film I sent off some emails to some friends to either tell them to see the film or to find out if they too were reviewing the film and what they thought.

The film opens at the Quad Cinema in New York City on Friday and will be the perfect antidote to Black Friday Sales or Hollywood Blockbusters. For tickets and information go here (and if it's before the 28th clock on Coming Soon)

Gamera Super Monster (1980) Thanksgiving Turkey

How you rate Gamera Super Monster will depend on if you just want to see Gamera fight monsters or you want a real story. If you want a real story look elsewhere.

This retread of a film that takes really crappy new footage of three girls as super heroes who fight an alien coming from space with the help of a young boy and Gamera. Much of the new footage seems to have been shot in a hotel room on a single afternoon. All of the Gamera scenes are cut from all of the previous color Gamera films and arranged in some way to tell this less then exciting story (none of which match any other footage).

While I know the original Japanese film is an el-cheapo production it doesn't help that the American dub is so bad that the voices aren't even remotely linked to the mouth flaps.

It’s awful, by any rational standards its really really bad.

As something to laugh at I'm sure its a blast and one wishes the MST3K guys had had a chance to pick on it, but at the same time its like watching a favorite friend hit hard times. Thankfully this film was largely unseen outside of Japan until relatively recently. I never knew the film existed until I saw a reference on the internet. I’m guessing the fact that it came into existence well after all the other films run their course kept it out of circulation. Within my group of monster loving friends by the films creation in 1980 Gamera was largely a joke thanks to the juvenile later films. The Gaos films were cool but the rest sucked.

Actually looking back the other films aren’t that bad in retrospect, it’s this film that sucks.

If you must see one of the original run of Gamera films- see any of the others, avoid this one like the plague.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A few words on Remote Area Medical (2013)

Over the last few weeks I had gotten a bunch of  press releases about Remote Area Medical but I was too busy dealing with DOC NYC and SAIFF and some other things to even consider taking a look at. The press screenings were all wrong, the time frame to see it was short and I didn't want to push it.  And then I  over heard some conversations at DOC NYC about the film from people who had seen it, and had heard that it was really good so I bit the bullet and I decided to take  see if I could see the film.

Founded in 1985 to provide care in the Amazon Remote Area Medical now provides pop up clinics across America. The group goes into a town and provides much needed medical care for as many people as they can. The film is a portrait of the organization as it rolls into the Bristol Tennessee Speedway and begins three days for caring for the people who show up in need of care.

A slice of life look at what happens when the organization rolls into town, the film is a really good portrait of people helping people. Its a wonderful look at what the group does. Its also a damning indictment of the American medical system which makes it necessary for the group to exist. We really shouldn't need a group like this,

The strength and the weakness of the film comes from the fact that the film is largely a straight forward look at the the group doing what they do. Its a strength because it shows us exactly what they do and why they aare needed. Yes there is are some side lights into background and such but mostly this is a report on one three day period...

...which kind of makes the film run out of steam about half way in. Don't get me wrong , it's not bad, but at the same time the film doesn't really build to anything. Its kind of one thing with very few surprises past a certain point

Definitely worth seeing, the choice about running out to see it in a theater or wait is entirely up to you. I liked it.

The film opens in New York Friday. It opens across the country on December 5

Quick Change (1990) Thanksgiving Turkey


Based on a French film called Hold Up which is based on Jay Cronley's book Quick Change, Quick Change is the story of a bunch of New York crooks who commit the perfect bank robbery and then have to get Kennedy Airport and a flight to safety. What happens from that point on is an existential nightmare as everything that can go wrong does.

I remember seeing this on opening weekend with an now ex-girlfriend. The theater was pack. It was also deadly quiet as no one laughed. Granted the humor is dry, but this is so incredibly dry as to be like Sahara like. And even then you need to click into the really existential jokes. You have to enjoy everything going wrong for the characters.

For me little in the film is really funny. Philip Bosco as a bus driver toward the end is the only thing that made me laugh. The rest of it just sort of lays there.

This film probably doesn’t belong here during this week, I mean it’s not a bad film. It does have its supporters, though they are few and far between. Then again many people hate the film and even those who don’t out right hate it will say it’s a better sleep med than most over the counter pills.  I suppose I’m including the film because it effectively ended Bill Murray as an all-powerful player in Hollywood, it was the point where they suddenly realized not to let him write or direct and just let him act.

For me the most telling thing about the film is the story one of the studio executive who green lighted the film relates about how Bill Murray came in and wanted to write and direct a film. They were thrilled. Yes they were wary because of the Razor’s Edge, but that was a drama and this would be a comedy. Murray then proceeded to show them the French film, and everyone in the screening room other than Murray went to sleep. They still let him do it because it was Bill Murray and a comedy…and they regretted it when the film tanked. He added that he didn’t think he would let Murray write and direct again.

If you're curious about some of the WTF films Bill Murray has done try it, otherwise stay away unless you need sleep.

Monday, November 24, 2014

SAIFF 2014: The bold experiment that is X (2014)

The Opening Night film for this years South Asian Film Festival was X.  The film is unique since eleven directors all wrote and shot portions of the same film in their own style. While that may sound like a trick, it actually works and makes for a very special viewing experience.

K is a film director at a film festival festival party. He encounters a young woman who begins to orbit him who reminds him of other women in his life. As he deals with this latest woman he has to cope with all of the others that have gone before as he drifts back and forth through his life.

When the films for this years SAIFF were announced I was instantly intrigued by X. I had seen films where a couple of directors worked from the same script  but outside of an anthology film I had not ever seen one where so many directors worked on one film, nor do I think had I ever run across a film where all of the directors not only directed their segments of a single story but also wrote them. I couldn't imagine what magic would be needed to make sure that it all tied together on every level.

Sadly I ended up unable to attend the SAIFF screening, however the opportunity presented itself when Sudhish Kamath, the driving force behind the project asked me if I wanted to see the film and like Pavlov's dog I leapt at the chance. (I say this by way so saying a big thank you to Mr Kamath)

Having now seen X I can honestly say that while it is uneven,owing to the many writer/directors, it is also a really good film. It may take a little bit to click,but once it does the film turns into a wonderful viewing experience.

While it would be easy to pull the film apart and talk about the various chapters on their own (for example the 8 to 8 room share is as glorious a romance as you'll ever see) I would rather talk about the film as a whole, partly because the film is a single story, but also because it's a single story with eleven directors that actually works and results in a film of great power.

I think it's best to describe what seeing the film was like for me,

The film opens at the film festival. We watch as K interacts with several people including the woman who will follow him through the rest of the film. The sequence looks great and it has some great dialog (actually the whole film has quotable dialog).I was hooked and I hunkered down for what I thought was going to be one sort of film.

What happened instead was that the first flashback segment started and I was wobbled a bit.since it played very differently than the "now" portion of the film. I wondered what was I seeing and what was the film getting at. I wasn't sure.

The film then shifted back to "now"  and then shifted back to a memory. I was enjoying the pieces but it didn't completely come together- and then we hit the third flashback segment and suddenly I began to click with the film. I began to accept the tonal shifts, the time jumps and I began to understand what we are looking at.I began to understand and see how we were examining the mind of one man. I wasn't getting it early on because I simply didn't have enough pieces to see the whole picture.Its a picture that slowly and surely became more and more clear as the film went on. (When you see the film be patient and stay with it)

How the hell did they pull this off?

In theory this film shouldn't work. 11 writers and directors all using their own vision to create one story? It really shouldn't work. I mean I've seen versions of this in novel or graphic novel form and it usually falls apart somewhere in as the styles clash, but it doesn't happen here. Okay yes the film isn't perfect, some of the segments are better than others, some segments clash with the ones on either side but at the same time the film as a whole works. The portrait of K that we get is rich and complex, perhaps much more complex than if one director had done it all. Say what you will there is something about the various tones and styles that give color and shading to K and his struggles that wouldn't be there had just one person directed this film. I think a single director would have been too worried about making a seamless whole so the unevenness of life would have been lost.

Wow.

By the time I reached the conclusion of the film I not only was amazed at the technical aspects of the film, but I was moved by the story and K's journey back and forth through his timeline.

You'll have to forgive me but the film geek in me wants to say "This is so cool!" This a grand technical achievement that is also a moving film.

As I said I really like this film a great deal.

Should you see it? If you want to see a very good drama about one man trying to come to terms with his life you absolutely should. You should also see it so that you can see that sometime "too many" cooks" won't spoil the broth, sometimes they'll get it dead nuts right.

One of the really cool viewing experiences of 2014.

Suicide Battalion (1958) Thanksgiving Turkey

Terrible 1950's war film about a group of men needing to go on a dangerous mission which is to blow up their old out post which is about to fall in to Japanese hands, or may have fallen into Japanese hands or something.

It's all well and good for the first ten minutes which sets everything up. Sadly after that it goes in the toilet as the men get a 72 hour reprieve, so they mingle with the locals, and other nonsense occurs for at least 25 minutes of screen time. What the romance and soap opera is doing in a war film like this is beyond me. After that the film picks up (relatively speaking) with tons of stock war footage which doesn't match the studio stuff so people are reacting to things that obviously aren't endangering them.

It's horrible and a fine example of filmmaking at it's worst.

It's a film that should be avoided.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Nightcap 11/23/14 Randi's Sunday Night Videos part 2 plus links

Still trying to decompress from DOC NYC and SAIFF while getting my head around the fact I said I'd cover the Romanian film series at Lincoln Center when I'm so tired so Randi has stepped in with more videos and links.





















And some links
All artists steal
Scott Wantanabe Tumblr
The first Hasidic Western
The worst sex tips ever
Behind the scenes at Paramount Pictures
Neil Gaiman on The Bride of Frankenstein
On Disney Deaths
Salon's problems with INTERSTELLAR
The lost Sesame Street cartoon  The Crack Master
Facial Hair
Vesalius
High resolution images and doing animation
Hobbits and Hippies
On Kubrick
A 101 year old woman goes to the beach for the first time
A Last Lunch with Mike Nichols

---
This week we have Unseen's annual Thanksgiving Turkey  series where we look at really crappy films. Plus we have a look at some new releases as well.

DOC NYC 2014:SALT OF THE EARTH (2014)


The work of photographer Sebastião Salgado is, even on the small size of a coffee table book, awesome. There is something about the way he captures the images of people and places that transcend the ordinary and make it soul stirring or shattering. His images seem to capture the inner truth of whatever he aims his camera at.

I remember 20 years ago, being at Barnes and Noble and discovering his book Workers and being blown away. Who was this guy and why hadn’t I ever heard of him? His pictures didn’t so much speak to me as taught me about things words could never say. I was in awe from that day to this.

When I saw that Wim Wenders had co-directed a film about Salgado I knew I had to see it, and when it was announced as playing DOC NYC I knew I would move heaven and earth to see it.

The film was begun by Salgado’s son Juliano Ribeiro who wanted to get to know his father the wanderer. He wanted to know what he did when he went out to shoot his pictures. He then brought in Wenders to help give an outsider perspective. The film is a structured as a look back, with Salgado looking back over his life as he also is working on his latest project shooting nature and animals. What we see is Salgado’s entire life in photos, both color and his trademark black and white. He talks about each photo and each project telling us about what each photo is and how it was taken and in some cases how it changed his life (The cruelties documented in some of the later projects forced him to stop shooting for years)

The spine of the film is Salgado’s glorious photos. We see the shots we know from his books blown up to the size of a movie screen. We stare into them and they into us. Seeing them twenty or thirty feet tall is beyond awesome. It is one of the most visually overpowering experiences you will ever have. The audience at DOC NYC sat in silence staring at the screen. No one moved. No one made a noise expect to gasp at what we were seeing or to quietly sob at the pain of those in the pictures.

I had wanted to sit up close to really see the pictures but by the half way mark I was glad I was sitting in the back since I would have been turned into mush by the emotion of the images.

The film is largely black and white to match Salgado’s images but there are times when it shifts back to his home in Brazil or into the artic where he is shooting walruses when it change to color. I groaned audibly during the first shift since the black and white was so evocative. I didn’t want to leave the perfect dream of the monochrome.

I don’t know what more to say other than you have to see the film when the film gets a release in the spring.

Seriously this is one of the most awesome (in the truest sense of the word) experiences you will ever have in a movie theater- or anywhere-ever.

Just as Salgado’s photos are some of the greatest images you’ll ever see, so is this movie.

Us Naked:Trixie and Monkey (2014) DOC NYC 2014

I have no idea what to say about the film- I had nothing to say about the film after I saw it so I sent a not to John and Hubert which read as follows:

serious review request-
would either of you guys want to take a pass at US, NAKED:TRIXIE & MONKEY
http://www.docnyc.net/film/us-naked-trixie-monkey/
I have seen it
I have nothing to say about it.
Nothing
except to say I have nothing to say about it-largely because I really didn't care about either Trixie or Monkey
Actually Its not a bad film but the pair struck me as the wrong sort of acrobatic hipsters-whose existence I kind of want to ignore....
I like the people around them and bits but as a whole I could have been doing other things.
If you guys don't take up the review I' guessing this note will be the review.

Salad Days (2014) DOC NYC 2014

SALAD DAYS is a look at the DC punk scene from 1980 to1990(roughly). Made by guys who were there, the director is one the boy journalist we see in the film, its filled with everyone who was anyone in the scene the film documents the days and nights of the various punk bands.

For me the film is annoyingly near great.

Taken on its own terms and as pieces the film is absolutely amazing. You’re placed in the DC music scene is a way that puts you in the clubs and houses where the music was percolating better than most films on any subject. We really are there just as if we were dropped into the say the 930 Club…

…and as good as that is its one of a couple of problems that keep the film from being truly great

First, as I said the film doesn't bring you into the story so much as drop you into it. There isn't a set up so much as a few statements and away we go with little context for things. What was things like before? We don’t know. Having Henry Rollins talk about how music had to be wonderfully produced until he heard the Ramones is okay but it doesn't say enough. What was the music scene like before? What about outside of DC? Were these guys and gals influenced by anything outside of DC? We don't know- the whole thing is a bubble.

Next the film kind of assumes you know what they are talking about. They mention bands and groups and members and unless you have a bit of knowledge you’ll feel a tad lost (more so because the band members moved around). At other times there are times where people are talking about events that I had no context for....

...which brings me to the last point the film will pick up a subject or jump through time with no ground work it just jumps into say the funk band or female bands- without really linking them into the narrative. We're just on to the next thing. I understand they want to stay away from a narrator or intertitles but some links are needed. We need to know more than we do…or at the very least we need the film to pull it all together in the end into a whole, it never does.

To be honest the problems could be solved if the film were longer-lord knows there has to be enough material, I mean dozens of people are interviewed, put more in and make it flow. I won't mind since what is here is so compelling I would have sat for another 100 minutes without a problem.

Don’t get me wrong this isn’t a bad film. It’s nowhere near being a bad film, it’s just that it’s so incredibly close to being a truly great all time classic film that I’m annoyed it just missed the target. Seriously everything that’s here is choice and amazing, with Dave Grohl's kick ass final statement about DIY sending us off with a cheer and being one of the best final statements in any film in the last five years.

Forgive the nitpicking but I want the thrill I had while watching the segments and sequences to carry over to how I feel about the whole film.

The screening at DOC NYC is long done but the film will be hitting theaters soon and is a must see for anyone who loves music especially punk.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

DOC NYC 2014:TALES OF THE GRIM SLEEPER (2014)

Word out of the New York Film Festival press screening for Tales of the Grim Sleeper was that it was Nick Broomfiled’s best film. The people I talked to were bowled over by it. I even had one reviewer try to talk me out of my ticket so he could see it again.

I missed it at NYFF, laid low by an illness that had me missing several films, so its reappearance at DOC NYC made it a must see.

The film is the story of the Grim Sleeper, a serial killer so named because it’s believed to have gone to sleep for 15 years between killings. The problem is he didn’t go to sleep and Lonnie Franklin Jr, now believed to be the killer went on for decades racking up a total that is anywhere from 18 certain victims to a seemingly unbelievable total of well over 400. This is a look at a serial killer amongst us and how the police and society allowed the killing to go on for decades.

I’m in awe.

Broomfield, drawn to the insanity of the case goes into the South Central LA neighborhood and started to ask questions. Helped by people who wanted to talk or knew someone he should talk to, as well as a woman named Pam who is a great lady, Broomfield begins to unravel the case that went back over thirty years.

Revelation follows revelation as Broomfield really shows how the police did nothing, despite knowing a serial killer was operating thanks to ballistics. They told no one and let the killings go on because all of the victims were black, many prostitutes or drug users. The police cared so little that many times when a body was found it would be tagged NHI meaning no human involved.

Yea they didn’t care.

But some of the women in the neighborhood did and they formed a group to try and get word out. Not many listened…

…and weirdly until Broomfield started to get people thinking and talking many people many of of the friends of accused killer Franklin didn’t think he could have done it, until the stories of his darkness came out…

This film will rock your world as you see how not only institutions failed (well before the killings to the point one woman tells her son if anything ever happens never call the police) but in away so did the people who should have known better- I mean despite professing that Franklin was a nice helpful guy, they all knew he was a sick man.

This film is so good that I really need to see it again to be able to write on it since so much happens and there are so many revelations I didn’t catch everything.

After the film Broomfield did a Q&A.

I asked the first question asking him why he did the film or what drew him to it. He said it was the enormity of the crime. The number of those killed could be so huge that there never will be an accounting since many bodies are believed to be in landfills (Franklin worked as a garbage man for a time)

Other questions deleved deeper into the twists and turns of the case. One woman asked if Broomfield paid anyone in the film. He said Pam was paid because she was doing so much, and he gave some money to other people, but he said most people weren’t or wouldn’t take it. He said that it was opposite to the rich and famous who he dealt with, all of whom wanted to be well compensated.

Broomfield also explained that the reason he’s in the film was that by doing so we took the trip with him. We saw what he did and it makes us part of the film.

He also said that a recent screening in LA brought together the families of the victims, people in the film, the police, prosecutors and legal defense team. Broomfield said that after years of trying to get an interview with authorities they were asking for tickets to the film (prompted he said by needing to see the film that was being extensively written about and causing waves). Broomfield said that one of the retired detectives was impressed with the film.

I’m not only impressed by the film but in awe. The film kicked me all over the place and gave me much to think about.

You owe it to yourself to see this film.

The film is getting a brief run in December for Oscar qualifying before showing up on HBO in early 2015, which means you’ll have plenty of chances to see it.