SXSW Report: Three Great Documentaries

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SXSW Report: Three Great Documentaries

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Amor Cronico
Legendary Cuban actor Jorge Perugorria’s directorial effort Amor Cronico is one of the stranger films you’ll see this year—it’s a tantalizing mix of documentary and narrative filmmaking that revolves around the story of the irrepressible Cucu Diamantes, the first Cuban-American singer since the revolution to be invited back to tour her native country. It’s a film with clear echoes of Fellini, and not just because it prominently features a little person (Diamantes tries to work a little person into each of her videos, for reasons you’ll have to wait for the Paste interview to learn). And if the action of the film itself doesn’t draw you in, the music most certainly will. Diamantes is a born performer, and she explodes on the screen.

Trash Dance
The premise of Andrew Garrison’s fascinating documentary Trash Dance is intriguing enough in and of itself—choreographer Allison Orr creates a performance using as “dancers” the men, women, and vehicles that collect your garbage. The tagline “How can a garbage truck dance?” is especially inspired. I was eager to see the film when I thought it was entirely composed of that performance, and I was initially disappointed to learn that most of the movie is composed of the story behind the show. But it’s actually that footage that provides the heart and soul of the film. As much as anything else, it’s a paean to the nobility of labor. It’s both inspired and inspiring.

¡Vivan las Antipodas!
Victor Kossakovsky was the recipient of the True Vision Award at this year’s True/False Film Festival, and this film shows why. It’s an examination of four sets of “antipodes”—pairs of cities or towns that are exactly opposite each other on the surface of the Earth. Kossakovsky points out in a title card that antipodes are actually relatively rare, since most of the Earth is covered by water. It’s left up to the viewer to decide what deeper meaning, if any, to impart to that fact. Kossakovsky is a master filmmaker, and any of the footage, taken on its own, would be compelling. But each time he composes a chapter by choosing which footage to marry up, the juxtapositions are striking.