Going Cardboard: A Board Game Documentary (2012)

After recent doco fare, this film was pleasant light relief. Lorien Green directs an upbeat jog through the wholesome hobby of boardgaming. I'm a boardgamer, so it was heart-warming to be reminded of the multitude of reasons why I enjoy the games (and the players!) so much. Green gives a good account of boardgaming's recent history in the US and Germany, and onto its current status as a minor, global phenomenon.

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Gates of Heaven (1978)

Errol Morris directs a 1978 film about a pet cemetery in Northern California. Modern viewers may be a little frustrated by the lugubrious pace and tone of this film, but there is some interest in the very earnest way most of the interview subjects address the camera. There are many asides, including a particularly long and rambling diatribe against her grandson by this woman:

Old Woman
Grumpy, Scary Old Woman

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How To Die In Oregon (2011)

Peter Richardson directs a film documenting the practice of physician-assisted suicide in Oregon, and the passage into law of physician-assisted suicide in Washington with great sensitivity and empathy. Some may find this a contentious topic, but I feel strongly that it is a person's right to choose the time and method of their death. Surely the awareness of our mortality and the fickleness of our bodies must be tempered by the solace of the right to die.

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TV Junkie (2006)

Michael Cain and Matt Radecki direct the story of Rick Kirkham, a TV journalist and substance abuser, who since age 14 had filmed over 3000 hours of footage in the form of video diaries. The film centers around Kirham's addiction to crack cocaine and his alcohol abuse, and through it all Kirkham keeps filming and filming, capturing all the worst moments of his life; physical altercations with his wife, threats to kill his own father, and musings about committing suicide. This is harrowing stuff.

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Fire in Babylon (2010)

Within the context of fading colonialism and recent struggles for independence from Great Britain, the men of 1970s West Indian cricket brought their sport of age with their pan-national team. Stevan Riley's film effectively combines the narratives of national struggle and the struggle against racism, both often very personal for the individual players, with the music of the Caribbean Islands.

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Until the Light Takes Us (2008)

I have never been so confused in my whole life. This documentary covers the Norwegian Black metal scene during the early 1990s, a period that saw musicians inspiring church burnings and the murder of Øystein Aarseth (aka Euronymous) by his bandmate Varg Vikernes. Not only did I lack a musical context for this film, but I failed to understand what drove these young men into such nihilist acts.

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Touching The Void (2003)

What a wonderful film! This documentary is the grandaddy of all "I Shouldn't Be Alive!" stories. Two climbers and one schmuck head off into the Andes to climb the baddest face of the steepest mountain you've ever seen. Others have tried and failed. The only good luck they have is the dude keeping the fire warm at base camp has a long book to read. Everyone else; imminent death and destruction. I was glad I had the 5.1 running on the home theatre. The sound was amazing, and the cinematography was superb. The best *movie* I have seen to date. The only moral dilemma, though...

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Kumaré (2011)

Vikram Ghandi's film describes the director's own journey through an exercise that cleverly subverts new age guru-ism. Posing as "Kumaré", Ghandi employs two followers, and leaves for Arizona to set up shop as an Indian guru. He is surprisingly successful, and beomes deeply affected by the faith his converts place in him. This film spends too many minutes at the outset with back story, but once Kumaré is revealed, the viewer is quickly drawn into the power of the narrative.

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