FIRE IN PARADISE: Questioning the New Normal

by C.J. Hirschfield The new Netflix documentary Fire in Paradise was planned for release near the one-year anniversary of the Camp Fire in Butte County, the country’s deadliest wildfire in over a century. The fire killed 85 people in the town of Paradise. As the film’s November 1st release date approached, Oakland-based co-director Drea Cooper […]

THE CAVE: HOPE SHINES IN THE DARKEST PLACES

by C.J. Hirschfield In October, 2019 it was announced that while America may be pulling its troops out of Syria, we are nonetheless sending armored vehicles to protect oil fields. Our president’s philosophy about the people who have lived there with war for eight years? “They’ve got a lot of sand over there. So there’s […]

A SERENDIPITOUS MERGING OF ART AND HEART

By C.J. Hirschfield A number of documentaries that feature the work and process of artists have gone on to reach and captivate large audiences. RIVERS AND TIDES featuring Andy Goldsworthy, and the more recent FACES PLACES with Agnes Varda and JR are good examples. And now we have SERENDIPITY, a deeply personal film that opens […]

WHERE’S MY ROY COHN?

By C.J. Hirschfield Although the filmmakers never reference the quote that serves as their title, it actually was uttered by our current president following the January, 2018 fallout from the report on Russian interference in the 2016 elections, when he needed an attack dog of an attorney to unleash. Roy Cohn had served as Donald […]

BEAUTIFUL BORDERS

By C.J. Hirschfield When he passed away in 2013, independent documentary filmmaker Les Blank left us with a rich cinema legacy, consisting mainly of works that lovingly introduce us to the traditional music, food and flavor of many American regional cultures. His films have welcomed us into a Mardi Gras parade, polka dancing parties in […]

RAISING HELL WITH MOLLY IVINS

By C.J. Hirschfield Molly Ivins was an American newspaper columnist, author, political commentator and humorist who lived out loud. Real loud. A new documentary, RAISE HELL: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF MOLLY IVINS, does a fine job of helping us understand the Texas environment in which the three-time Pulitzer Prize nominee lived and worked, which […]