Movie Diary 10/18/2021

The Velvet Underground (Todd Haynes, 2021). Not a documentary, a time machine. I loved it. Reviewed here.

Pray Away (Kristine Solakis, 2021). A look at LGBTQ people who were once convinced to “pray away the gay” through various means and organizations. As you would expect, a world full of pain is revealed, in lucid, thoughtful testimonies.

The Alpinist (Peter Mortimer, Nick Rosen, 2021). Portrait of Marc-Andre Leclerc, Canadian free-climber. It’s got the expected vertiginous photography, and also a kind of implied criticism of this kind of adventure documentary – Leclerc would routinely not tell the film crew that he was attempting some daredevil solo climb, for the very good reason that if there were cameras around, it would sorta ruin the reason he climbed.

A Choice of Weapons: Inspired by Gordon Parks (John Maggio, 2021). The idea here is to sketch a bio of the pioneering Black photographer/filmmaker, while profiling a handful of people who’ve followed in his footsteps. Which means you don’t quite get enough Parks.

The Neutral Ground (CJ Hunt, 2021). Hunt is a former “Daily Show” producer who leads us through a jokey (in the good way) look at the removal of Confederate monuments, a spectacle that becomes especially keen when he embeds himself with a group of Civil War re-enactors.

No Ordinary Man (Aisling Chin-Yee, Chase Joynt, 2020). A look through the life of Billy Tipton, the Spokane-based jazz player whose death brought about the revelation that Billy had been a woman passing as a man for his adult life, surprising everyone who knew him, including his wife.