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Home Movie GenresDocumentaries Anne Frank & Maya Lin + Vietnam War & East Asia’s World War II Horrors: Documentaries to Watch

Anne Frank & Maya Lin + Vietnam War & East Asia’s World War II Horrors: Documentaries to Watch

Jon Blair Miep Gies
Jon Blair and Miep Gies: Anne Frank Remembered documentary.

Gerda Weissmann Klein Kary AntholisOne film historian friend once (half-)jokingly suggested that the Academy should have a special Oscar category for Holocaust documentaries, as those seem to get nominated – and to win – an inordinate number of times. Two such documentaries, the 1995 Oscar-winners One Survivor Remembers and Anne Frank Remembered, will be screened as part of the series “Oscar’s Docs, Part Four: Academy Award-Winning Documentaries 1988–1997” at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 10, at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood.

In the 39-minute (longish) documentary short subject One Survivor Remembers, which was co-produced by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Research Institute, Holocaust survivor Gerda Weissmann Klein describes her six years as a victim of the Nazis. Oscar-winning producer-director Kary Antholis (right, with Weissmann Klein) and co-producer Michael Berenbaum will be on hand to take part in a post-screening discussion.

“There is a challenge to reviewing Holocaust recollections,” wrote Jeff Silverman in Variety. “The stories themselves are so horrible, so moving and so powerful that attempts to stand in judgment are banal.

“Weissmann’s is one such story, captured by HBO to mark the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe and the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps. It’s a beautiful story, filled with hope and triumph and an ending that soars beyond imagination.”

The documentary feature Anne Frank Remembered chronicles the brief life of the German-born Jewish girl whose diary became a worldwide bestseller. The evening will feature an onstage discussion with Oscar-winning producer-director Jon Blair (top photo, with Miep Gies, the Dutchwoman who helped to hide Frank and her family).

“As much a Holocaust saga as a biographical portrait,” wrote Edward Guthmann in the San Francisco Chronicle, “Anne Frank Remembered frames its young subject in a world gone unbelievably mad, and demonstrates the tragedy of millions through her example. Anne’s story, Blair asserts through narrator Kenneth Branagh, ‘is just as fresh today as 50 years ago.'”

(I’ve been to Anne Frank’s hiding place in Amsterdam. While there, I remember wondering what she would have thought of her sanctuary being transformed into a tourist attraction, overflowing with loud idiots with no understanding of – or concern about – what transpired in that small attic.)

“Oscar’s Docs” is a comprehensive screening series of every short subject and feature to win the Academy Award for documentary filmmaking since the category was established in 1941. The retrospective is supposed to feature the best available prints – often newly struck or restored editions from the documentary collection of the Academy Film Archive.

Tickets to each “Oscar’s Docs” screenings are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID.

The Linwood Dunn Theater is located at 1313 Vine Street in Hollywood. Free parking is available through the entrance on Homewood Avenue (one block north of Fountain Avenue).

For additional information, visit www.oscars.org or call (310) 247-3600.

Photos: Courtesy of the Margaret Herrick Library.

‘A Story of Healing,’ ‘The Long Way Home’: Oscar’s Docs

The two 1997 Oscar-winning documentaries, Donna Dewey’s A Story of Healing (right) and Mark Jonathan Harris’ The Long Way Home, will be screened as the final installment of “Oscar’s Docs, Part Four: Academy Award-Winning Documentaries 1988–1997” on Monday, Nov. 24, at 7:30 p.m. at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood.

The documentary short subject A Story of Healing follows American plastic surgeons and nurses who have volunteered to help disfigured children and young adults in Vietnam.  The screening will be followed by an onstage discussion with producer-director Donna Dewey.

The documentary feature The Long Way Home focuses on the years between the liberation of Jews from Nazi concentration camps to the creation of Israel. It features narration and/or readings by Morgan Freeman, Michael York, Edward Asner, Helen Slater, and others. Writer-director Mark Jonathan Harris, producers Richard Trank and Rabbi Marvin Hier (whose Genocide, which he co-produced, won the 1991 Oscar in the documentary feature category), and editor Kate Amend will take part in a post-screening discussion.

“Oscar’s Docs” is a comprehensive screening series of every short subject and feature to win the Academy Award for documentary filmmaking since the category was established in 1941.  As per the Academy’s release, the retrospective features the best available prints – often newly struck or restored editions from the documentary collection of the Academy Film Archive.

The series will return in September 2009 with its sixth installment, screening Academy Award-winning documentaries between 1988 and 2008.

Tickets to each “Oscar’s Docs” screening are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID.

The Linwood Dunn Theater is located at 1313 Vine Street in Hollywood.  Free parking is available through the entrance on Homewood Avenue (one block north of Fountain Avenue).

‘A Time for Justice’ & ‘Maya Lin’ Screening

Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision Frieda Lee MockThe two 1994 Oscar-winning documentaries, the short A Time for Justice (right) and the feature Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision, will be screened as part of “Oscar’s Docs, Part Four: Academy Award-Winning Documentaries 1988–1997” on Monday, November 3, at 7:30 p.m. at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood.

The evening will feature a post-screening discussion with Maya Lin producer-director Frieda Lee Mock, producer Terry Sanders, composer Charles Bernstein, and editor William T. Cartwright.

Produced by Charles Guggenheim, A Time for Justice focuses on the American Civil Rights Movement from the point of view of those who fought for the right to vote during the 1950s and 1960s.

Maya Lin (right) is about the artist who designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. This screening will present a new 35mm print.

The Vietnam War Memorial image: Adam Stoltman.

Now, this was the year when the Academy saw itself accused of favoritism because Mock had previously been the chairwoman of the Documentary Committee. Compounding matters, the Academy was accused of near-sightedness after Steve James’ widely praised Hoop Dreams failed to nab a nomination in the documentary feature category. In the Los Angeles Times, Kenneth Turan remarked that if Committee members “knew the meaning of the word shame they would now be making arrangements for mass suicides.”

“Oscar’s Docs” is a comprehensive screening series of every short subject and feature to win the Academy Award for documentary filmmaking since the category was established in 1941.

Tickets to each “Oscar’s Docs” screenings are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID.

The Linwood Dunn Theater is located at 1313 Vine Street in Hollywood. Free parking is available through the entrance on Homewood Avenue (one block north of Fountain Avenue).

Kenneth Turan quote: Inside Oscar by Mason Wiley and Damien Bona.

Nanking Bill Guttentag Dan Sturman
Nanking.

War is marvelous adventure, turning men into men and women into Veronica Lake, carrying a grenade in her bosom so as to blow up the Japanese (in So Proudly We Hail). It’s all about glory and friendship and courage and god (pick the deity/ies of your choice) and country (once again, take your pick) and some Great Ideal or other (you have millions – no matter how honorable and/or inane – to choose from).

Now, check those out:

Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman’s Nanking (above, lower photo) and Steven Okazaki’s White Light/Black Rain will screen as part of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ “Contemporary Documentaries” series at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 5, at the Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood. Admission is free.

Nanking is a depiction of the Japanese invasion of that city during the early days of World War II, with the Academy’s press release describing the film as “a powerful, emotional and relevant reminder of the toll war takes on the innocent.” Mariel Hemingway, who reads American missionary Minnie Vautrin’s written records in the film, will be present to take questions from the audience following the screening. Among the other Nanking “readers” are Woody Harrelson, Rosalind Chao, Jürgen Prochnow, and Stephen Dorff, among others.

“I can’t quite explain why it works, but by God, it does,” writes Andrew O’Hehir in Salon.com. “Although Harrelson, Hemingway and the other actors are not doing full-on performances – they’re sitting in chairs, wearing neutral, formal clothes that suggest the period without quite being costumes – they make the horrified witnesses come alive as people who decided for personal or spiritual reasons to take their chances in what was about to become the worst place on the planet.”

Steven Okazaki's White Light/Black Rain
White Light/Black Rain

White Light/Black Rain “provides a graphic, unflinching look at the reality of nuclear warfare through firsthand accounts of Japanese citizens who survived the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and of Americans who carried out those missions.”

“Of the fourteen atomic bomb survivors interviewed in White Light, Black Rain,” writes C.W. Rogers at the World Socialist Website, “most are speaking publicly about their recollections for the first time. Many were left severely disfigured. The filmmaker, in a very effective approach, introduces the survivors holding photographs of themselves before the bombing. The pictures, mainly portraits of beautiful and innocent children alone or with family members, or class pictures with young classmates, seem to transcend national and ethnic identity.”

Why does the cynic in me believe that there won’t be any warmongering imbeciles at the Linwood Dunn next November 5?

Part One of the 27th annual Contemporary Documentaries series continues through December 3. The series showcases feature-length and short documentaries drawn from the 2007 Academy Award nominations, including the winners, as well as “other important and innovative films” considered by the Academy that year.

All films, with the exception of those scheduled for December 3, will screen at the Linwood Dunn Theater at the Academy’s Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m. All seating is unreserved.

The Linwood Dunn Theater is located at 1313 Vine Street in Hollywood. Free parking is available through the entrance on Homewood Avenue (one block north of Fountain Avenue). For additional information, visit www.oscars.org or call (310) 247-3600.

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2 comments

alexis -

i
love gerda she is the best today in s.s. we watched ur video it was graphic but i loved it and congratulations on winning the academy award on this u deserved it!!!!

Reply
Danny -

What surprises me the most is why anybody would even want to go see a contemporary film today. But that doesn’t excuse critics, I guess. They HAVE to see them.

Reply

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