The Palindromists: Was it a rat I saw?

By C.J. Hirschfield Longtime word nerds like myself have been delighted by recent documentaries that celebrate letters and the wondrous ways they can be arranged. Films include Obit, about New York Times obituary writers, Wordplay, which covered a major crossword puzzle tournament, as well as Spellbound and Spelling the Dream, which welcomes us into the […]

A Place to Breathe: Prescribing Community

By C.J. Hirschfield What if health providers and practitioners prescribed ceremonies, rituals, festivals and other community activities as medicine to treat trauma?  The excellent new documentary A Place To Breathe would argue that distressed refugees, in particular, would benefit greatly, and the film effectively argues this route as a way to foster resilience.

Sometimes Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction

By Frako Loden The tagline for DocFest, the 19th San Francisco Documentary Festival, is “Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction”—a saying we all appreciate more than we’d like during these days of COVID-19, wildfires, racist domestic terrorism and unhinged presidential campaigns. But however much we might want to hide from some of these truths, we […]

Class Action Park: A Crazy Ride

By C.J. Hirschfield The huge success of the Tiger King documentary series showed that we love watching a story about a park that is badly run by an eccentric/unsavory person, is dangerous, and ends up being an unqualified train wreck. The new HBO Max documentary Class Action Park may be about a waterpark and not […]

River City Drumbeat: An Urban Heartbeat

By C.J Hirschfield Many fine films tell the story of charismatic teachers who change lives, and they serve to inspire.  The new documentary River City Drumbeat is one of these films. Promoted as “a story of music, love and legacies,” it follows a dynamic African drumming corps for kids founded and taught by the magnetic […]