The Calm Before the Storm--Having weathered three major film festivals in as many weeks (four, if you count the Gallup Intercultural Film Festival), New Mexico’s film scene is finally quieting down for a bit.
Kidding around with the Christian right
Jesus Camp, the new documentary from Heidi Ewing & Rachel Grady (The Boys of Baraka), has become highly controversial among Christians. Apparently, dedicated lovers of Jesus feel the film portrays them as ultraconservative, right-wing wackos. Interestingly enough, the specific subject of the film, evangelical youth minister Becky Fischer, is just fine with the end product--perhaps because she is an ultraconservative right-wing wacko.
Director Michael Apted checks in on England’s kids for a seventh time
In 1964, a progressive British television production company decided to make a documentary ostensibly examining the class system in England. Producers gathered up a group of 7-year-old schoolchildren from diverse backgrounds and interviewed them about what their lives were like and what their futures might be. On its own, “Seven Up!” would certainly have been a well-regarded benchmark of naturalist cinema. But, seven years later, British director Michael Apted--who had served as a researcher on the original film--found himself talked into making a sequel. Though he’s had a good deal of commercial success (Coal Miner’s Daughter, Gorillas in the Mist, The World is Not Enough), Apted has found time every seven years to hook up with the subjects of his first film gig. The result has been one of the most enlightening experiments in the history of film, an ongoing documentary about, well, life itself.
“The Nine” on ABC
All things considered, this has been an impressive season. The new shows have proved, by and large, to be a diverse, smartly written and highly original crowd. With virtually no new reality shows, sitcoms or game shows on the schedule, fall 2006 may have to go down on record as one of the best in recent years.
The Week in Sloth
“Decoding the Past: Secrets of the Dollar Bill” (History 7 p.m.) Ever wonder what all the symbols and words and crap on the dollar bill actually mean? Well, here’s a chance to find out. I’m just not sure it merits an entire hour. Not unless you include 15 or 20 minutes on the quarter as well.
“Joan Cusack’s Local Flavor” (Travel 7 p.m.) Actress Joan Cusack travels the world eating food. Tonight, she’s in Portugal. Is it too early to hope for a John Cusack cameo?