Documentaries I Like: Sherman's March

Sherman's MarchThis post is the start of a new occasional feature on my favorite documentaries. I'm a huge documentary fan, and will share some of my favorites with you, perhaps once every week or two. If you have a documentary suggestion, please post it in the comments!

First up, Sherman's March by Ross McElwee (1986). This film carries the rather long secondary title: "A Meditation on the Possibility Of Romantic Love in the South During An Era of Nuclear Weapons Proliferation," and that begins to give you an idea of its scope. The basic gist is that Ross McElwee set out to make a film about the lingering effects of General Sherman's March to the Sea during the Civil War (read about it at Wikipedia). However, as soon as McElwee began shooting, his girlfriend dumped him, and his preoccupation with women took over the film.

(Much more after the jump.)

As McElwee gamely attempts to make his documentary about Sherman's March, he travels through the American South, following Sherman's historical path and shooting occasional bits of historical narrative. But along the way, McElwee meets a string of Southern women, and the film covers this series of developing relationships as McElwee seems to bring his camera to every personal event in his life. The women McElwee meets, and the way he relates to them, are the main content of this film. Sherman's March itself (the historical event, and its aftermath) is used as an allegory about another lonely, bearded, misunderstood man traveling through the South (although McElwee doesn't exactly practice "total warfare").

Here's the first three minutes of the film (please stick around until after the 'historical narration' concludes):

Soon, McElwee meets Pat. Here's a snippet about her:

After Pat we meet Claudia (and her daughter Ashley, then Claudia's father):

Sherman's March is funny, touching, and above all, personal. This is really McElwee's life, and he is truly struggling to figure out what's going on and what choices to make. His constant documentation of his life adds to the struggle, as he tries to create and maintain personal relationships despite the camera constantly on his shoulder.

McElwee has made a series of equally excellent documentaries in recent years, continuing in the spirit of Sherman's March -- I'll likely cover several of them in this series. To see Sherman's March, you can rent it from Netflix, rent it from Blockbuster, or buy it from Amazon. Or you could just come over to my place in Portland and we'll have a viewing party.

Pop Chart Lab
The Origins of 36 Marvel Characters, Illustrated
Pop Chart Lab
Pop Chart Lab

No matter what their powers, every super hero has an origin story, from Spider-Man’s radioactive bite to Iron Man’s life-threatening chest shrapnel. In their latest poster, the designers at Pop Chart Lab have taken their infographic savvy to the Marvel Universe, charting the heroic origins of 36 different Marvel characters through miniature, minimalist comics.

Without using any words, they’ve managed to illustrate Bucky Barnes's plane explosion and subsequent transformation into the Winter Soldier, Jessica Jones’s car crash, the death of the Punisher’s family, and other classic stories from the major Marvel canon while paying tribute to the comic book form.

Explore the poster below, and see a zoomable version on Pop Chart Lab’s website.

A poster featuring 36 minimalist illustrations of superhero origin stories.
Pop Chart Lab

Keep your eyes open for future Marvel-Pop Chart crossovers. The Marvel Origins: A Sequential Compendium poster is “the first release of what we hope to be a marvelous partnership,” as Pop Chart Lab’s Galvin Chow puts it. Prints are available for pre-order starting at $37 and are scheduled to start shipping on March 8.

Disney Enterprises, Inc.
Your $10 Donation Can Help an Underprivileged Child See A Wrinkle in Time for Free
Disney Enterprises, Inc.
Disney Enterprises, Inc.

Theater chain AMC is teaming with the Give a Child the Universe initiative to help underprivileged kids see A Wrinkle in Time for free through ticket donations. The initiative was started by Color of Change, a nonprofit advocacy group that designs “campaigns powerful enough to end practices that unfairly hold Black people back, and champion solutions that move us all forward.”

"Color of Change believes in the power of images and supports those working to change the rules in Hollywood so that inclusive, empathetic and human portrayals of black people and people of color are prominent on the screen,” the initiative’s executive director, Rashad Robinson, said in a statement:

Director Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle in Time is the perfect subject for the group because, as Robinson puts it, “By casting a black teenage actress, Storm Reid, as the heroine at the center of this story, the filmmakers and the studio send a powerful message to millions of young people who will see someone like them embracing their individuality and strength to save the world.”

The movie touts a diverse cast that includes Mindy Kaling, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Zach Galifianakis, and Chris Pine. The most important member of the cast, though, is 14-year-old Storm Reid, who plays the main character Meg Murry, a young girl who tries to save her father (Pine) who is trapped in another dimension. The movie is based on the acclaimed 1962 fantasy novel by author Madeleine L'Engle.

If you’d like to donate a ticket (or more), you can just head over to the Give a Child the Universe website and pledge an amount. AMC will provide one ticket to children and teens nationwide for every $10 given to the cause.

And if you’re interested in seeing the movie yourself, A Wrinkle in Time opens on March 9, 2018.

[h/t E! Online]


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