Three great documentaries to stream | ET REALITY


The proliferation of documentaries on streaming services makes it difficult to choose what to watch. Each month, we’ll choose three nonfiction films (classics, recent overlooked documentaries, and more) that will reward your time.

Stream it on Criterion Channel.

Made for television, “Filming ‘Othello’” is generally considered Orson Welles’ last completed piece of screen direction, and it is a deceptively modest swan song. It is not simply a documentary about his 1952 film version of “Othello,” but rather offers a compendium of Welles’ reflections on film and theater, on Shakespeare and tragedy in general. It begins with Welles, who for most of the program addresses the viewer directly, praising the Moviola, the editing machine that for him represents “the last stop on the long road between the dream in a filmmaker’s head and the audience towards “Who is that dream for?” (His rich recitation of lines from him like that is a big part of the film’s charm.)

During the first section, he relates how that particular interpretation of “Othello” (Welles did others) was achieved despite chaotic financing and how, as he says, “circumstances themselves had a lot to do with determining our style.” Because of how the production was shot, he says, it happens all the time in the finished film that an actor moves “between two continents in the middle of a single spoken phrase.” The lack of costumes led at one point to the decision to stage Rodrigo’s murder in a Turkish bath (which was actually a fish market).

About half an hour later, Welles switches gears to show a long lunch conversation he had with Micheal MacLiammoir (who played Iago) and Hilton Edwards (who played Brabantio). The three met during Welles’ days at the Gate Theater in Dublin, which MacLiammoir and Edwards founded and where Welles began acting professionally. The connection adds to the feeling of “filming ‘Othello’” as a kind of career farewell. The men’s discussion of Shakespeare’s themes (is “Othello” about envy or jealousy, and how are the two related?) provides context for the long, seemingly improvised recitations of Welles’ verses when “Filming ‘Othello’” It is once again a solo exhibition. Toward the end, Welles also excerpts a lively question and answer he gave after a screening in Boston. “My definition of a film director is the man who presides over accidents,” he tells the audience, “but he doesn’t commit them.”

Stream it on Amazon Prime and canopy. Rent it in AppleTV and Google Play.

Lacey Schwartz, director of “Little White Lie,” grew up thinking her biological parents were both white. That wasn’t necessarily the impression outsiders had. In the film, Schwartz recalls being mistaken for an Ethiopian Jew at her bat mitzvah. Girls at high school asked about her race. Schwartz says she didn’t check any boxes on her college application, but based on a photo of her, Georgetown admitted her as a black student. And it was in college where she began to seriously question the story she had been told when she was a child: that she looked like one of her great-grandfathers.

Upon probing, Schwartz’s mother, Peggy, admitted that Lacey may have been the product of an affair with a man named Rodney Parker, who was black. Lacey knew him, as did some of her family, including Robert, her father who had raised her. In this documentary, the filmmaker attempts to unravel… well, all of that: her own feelings about his racial identity and her need for others to recognize them; the years of denial from family and friends that prevented them from even talking about something so obvious in retrospect; and her relationship with her parents. The first time she pressures Robert to acknowledge her blackness, she feels rejected by him. Then again, who could blame him for being abrupt? For Robert, Lacey was, as a family friend in the film suggests, living proof that Peggy had been unfaithful. Peggy puts it a little less delicately: “The fact is, if the man I had the affair with hadn’t been black, none of this would have come to light.”

“Little White Lie” raises fascinating questions about the nature of family and the impact keeping secrets can have even years later. Lacey sits in front of the camera with one of Rodney’s other daughters, but she doesn’t feel a connection. The film ends with her wedding (to Antonio Delgado, now lieutenant governor of New York), at which point it appears that Lacey has at least partially reconciled her ideas about who she is.

Stream it on Plutohe Roku Channel, tubi, canopy and Ovid. Rent it in Amazon, AppleTV and Voodoo.

In 2011, a former civil engineer named Matt Green set out to walk every public block in New York City, leaving out freeways but adding plenty of bridges, parks, cemeteries and beaches, according to the methodology on their website. Near the end of “The World Before Your Feet,” a documentary by Jeremy Workman (son of Oscar editing ace Chuck Workman), he estimates he has another 500 to 1,000 miles left to go, which technically puts him close to the line. of goal. But with an accumulation of posts, he confesses that he feels more like he’s “somewhere in the middle of the project.” In late 2022, four years after the film premiered here, The Sydney Morning Herald He reported that he was still working on it.. “The goal is to get it done, not get it over with,” the newspaper quoted him as saying.

Workman could easily have portrayed Green as an obsessive figure worthy of Werner Herzog. Instead, the film takes a gentler approach, seeing Green as a determined amateur historian who takes the time to take in (and understand) places most of us don’t notice, whether he’s appreciating the city’s plant life or decoding the point. Marks on storm drains. It catalogs certain eccentric tendencies, such as churches that used to be synagogues and barbershops that use the letter “z” instead of “s” to form a plural.

For Green, it is a privilege to be able to spend his life this way (although his travels have interfered with other activities, such as relationships). In the film, she estimates that she lives on $15 a day and is homeless. Rather, she clashes with various friends and strangers, often taking care of his pets. The film shows him comparing notes with Garnette Cadogan, another devoted walker and writer. Cadogan, who is black, says he is careful to dress a certain way so as not to appear threatening. Green, who is white, has the luxury of being able to walk around without worries.

Still, the breadth of his project is inspiring, as is his determination to learn about obscure New York-area figures like Charles Minthorn Murphy, whose grave he visits in the film. Murphy is Guinness credits him with being the first cyclist to cover a mile in less than a minute.. At this rate, Green can set his own records.

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