Doc Talk: man with a video camera; Pony up; the other Georgia

But Borchardt employees, whatever their game, have limits. Kudos to his Swedish immigrant mother, Monica, who despite her common sense objections ignored, volunteers when her son needs a hooded supplement to help him repeatedly drag him through an icy swamp for a key scene. But childhood friend Mike Schank, who looks like a version of the host of a horror movie TV series Svengoolie, has the icy stare and nervous laugh of someone who may have given up. the drugs a little too late. His rough but serene classical guitar playing still gives “American Movie” its compelling soundtrack.

And then there’s Uncle Bill, an octogenarian and dying man living in a trailer park that Mark tries to squeeze money from by promising him fame and wealth as “executive producer.” He also makes an appearance for her. One of the funniest and strangely profound scenes in the film, perhaps more so than the sequence where Borchardt repeatedly fails to smash an actor’s head through an insufficiently tampered with cabinet door, Mark tries to looping Uncle Bill’s lines for his cameo. “It’s okay! It’s okay! There is enough to live on! Jesus told me! He’s supposed to say from a car window. After 31 takes, Uncle Bill gives up in disgust.

Borchardt, however, does not give up. He complements “Coven” and Smith ends “American Movie” with contact information on how to get a copy. “Northwestern” may still be a work in progress, but to his credit, Borchardt has meanwhile appeared five times in “The Late Show with David Letterman”, made an appearance in “Family Guy” and has filmed his own. documentary, “The Dundee Project” (2018), about UFO enthusiasts. As for Smith, he has directed several other documentaries, including the critically acclaimed “Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened” (2019). While Uncle Bill may have hushed the line, there may be something to live for.

“American Movie” can be seen on Criterion Channel, starting July 19.

From “A Brony Tale”.Documentary +

Toons of Glory

If you are a parent of a young girl, you may be familiar with the children’s animated show “My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic”, in which various anthropomorphic equines go on adventures and discover life. You would also know them if you were the muscular motorcycle mechanic and former bodyguard named Dustykatt who claims to be “the most manly brony in the world” – “brony” being “bro” + “pony”.

The subjects of Brent Hodge “A Brony Story”(2014) are adult fans of the series. Most of them are men between the ages of 18 and 30. Ashleigh Ball, one of the main voice actors (her other credits include Slim Pig, a 2D pig in a 3D world, and a sexually confused tomato who isn’t sure if it’s a fruit or a vegetable) was not aware of their existence until she received an invitation to attend BronyCon 2012 in New York City. Used to the anonymity of a studio mic, she felt uncomfortable attending the event and asked her friend Hodge to check them out. Hence the premise of the film.

Hodge crosses the continent, from Nova Scotia to the Santa Monica Pier, in search of bronias. He finds that they don’t just dress up but also create art, videos and music on the show. They say they are drawn to “My Little Pony” because of its quality storytelling and complex characters – like Ball’s Applejack and Rainbow Dash – who face and solve relationship difficulties and are better ponies for it. . As one brony says, “They learn, they forgive, they share, they celebrate friendship and kindness instead of laughing. [them]. We are so far from that. But we are getting there. Not to be an opponent, but years later we still seem a long way off.

“A Brony Tale” can be streamed for free on Documentary + via Amazon, Apple TV, Roku, and on mobile devices. Go to

Of "City of the Sun."
From the “City of the Sun”.Photos of the big world

Dark side of the sun

“by Rati OneliCity of the Sun“(2017), which deals with the abandoned mining town of Chiatura, in the country of Georgia, sometimes sounds like an excerpt from the Science Channel series” Mysteries of the Abandoned “: huge abandoned machines, wrecks of abandoned buildings , a wasp on a doorstep.

But people still live there. Miners work tirelessly in seemingly precarious tunnels with coarse tools, two girls run tirelessly around a track in a crumbling stadium, and someone in a shabby white sedan hurtles down empty roads to no apparent destination. As the film develops, these characters show that despite the gloom, they yearn for art and beauty. One of the miners leaves work for the dilapidated local theater to rehearse a play, and a tenacious music teacher teaches old women and children how to play old folk songs on traditional instruments.

Like other recent documentaries by former Soviet bloc filmmakers, such as “Taming the Garden” by Georgian Salome Jashi (2021) and “Please Hold the Line” by Moldovan Pavel Cuzuoic (2020), Oneli shows a surreal landscape, dystopian and current. it can be a glimpse into the future of the world.

“City of the Sun” can be broadcast on OVIDtv. Go to

Peter Keough can be reached at

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