“The restoration and reissue of Ornette: Made in America, Shirley Clarke’s 1985 portrait of Ornette Coleman, the saxophonist whose recordings and performances in the late ’50′s and early ’60′s were among the most liberating avant-garde breakthroughs in the history of jazz (and who, happily, is still performing, at the age of 82), is cause for celebration—both for its value as a movie and for its exploration of Coleman’s art.” So begins an entry from Richard Brody, accompanied by a clip (2’43″) and a link to his capsule review in the New Yorker. “There’s a lot more to say about it, particularly regarding the way that Clarke uses video technology and dramatic reconstructions to evoke Coleman’s way of thinking, but here I’d like to focus on Coleman’s music—which I’ve been passionate about since I was in high school, in the ’70′s, and still listen to enthusiastically—while noting the ways in which the movie contributes to a better understanding of the music.”
DM: Cheerfully intrepid—some might say kamikaze—Danish journalist Mads Brügger (The Red Chapel) is back with an outrageous new comedic documentary, The Ambassador. In the film Brügger dons some expensive white linen suits, employs a gold-plated cigarette holder and becomes the mysterious “Mr. Corzen,” a shady character who purchases—yes, purchases—an ambassadorship from the country of Liberia via an Internet broker! Hilarity—as well as blood diamonds, murder and bribery—ensues.
With powerful and probing films like “The Trials of Henry Kissinger,” “Why We Fight” and “Reagan,” documentarian Eugene Jarecki has turned a critical eye to some of the most fundamental political and social issues on the American landscape, and he’s done it again with his latest effort, “The House I Live In.”