Real, Raw, Riveting —— ‘Rebuilding Paradise’ hits home hard

By Mandy Feder-Sawyer

A once remote, rural, largely unknown California mountain town now lives in infamy worldwide.

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In Ron Howard’s documentary, Rebuilding Paradise, the audience is along for the entire ride – the harrowing and horrific drive through the flames to a community grappling to find its place in the aftermath of the deadliest fire in California history.

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The Fight…Continues

By C.J. Hirschfield

They ride all forms of public transit, lug around pounds of paper, eat on the run, stay in modest hotels where they practice alone in front of the mirror, and lament all of the time they have to spend away from their families. They are the unsung human rights superheroes, and the new documentary The Fight powerfully– and engagingly–tells not only their stories, but of four major court cases that have the potential to upend our most cherished and hard-fought rights.

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JOHN LEWIS: GOOD TROUBLE

by C.J. Hirschfield

At age 79, and after 60 years of activism, John Lewis is still organizing; still mobilizing; still legislating. Oh yes, and he’s definitely still dancing.

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In the illuminating and luminous new documentary, John Lewis: Good Trouble, acclaimed Bay Area director Dawn Porter (Trapped, Gideon’s Army) creatively and conscientiously chronicles the life and career of the legendary civil rights activist and Democratic Congressman from Georgia.

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DIANA KENNEDY: NOTHING FANCY—INDEED

By Patricia Unterman

To tell you the truth, my dear film buffs, I’m a reader, not a moviegoer, and I only read fiction.  If I watch a movie, it has to be in a movie house on a big screen and it has to promise a good story, ideally involving sex.   Documentaries, for me, are a bore.

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But despite all odds, I was mesmerized by a new documentary on the life of Diana Kennedy, the grouchy, 97-year-old writer of regional Mexican cookbooks, by first-time movie director Elizabeth Carroll.  The film felt novelistic to me—nuanced, revealing, true.  It picked me right up from a desk chair in front of my little computer screen and dropped me in the upland forests of Michoacán. Continue reading