My kindest benefactors on the web, over at Stop Smiling Magazine
, have given me yet another forum to sing the praises of a stunning DVD, this time for When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts
, Spike Lee's 4-hour documentary on the flooding of New Orleans and its nearly apocalyptic aftermath for so many residents of that city. Levees
actually expands as a nearly 6-hour film on the DVD, and once you've gotten started, you really shouldn't stop; the exclusive 105 minutes of previously trimmed material is actually some of Lee's best, correcting for some of the main feature's tendency to muffle its critique of Mayor Ray Nagin. The whole work, whatever its flaws or self-imposed limitations, is prodigious, detailed, expansive, and important in a way that precious few films in 2006 were, and despite appearing on HBO, it's certainly making an active end-run for my Top Ten List.
Meanwhile, speaking of lists, and of earlier benefactors, my comrades over at Cinemarati
, a terrific consortium of web-based critics to which I belonged from 2002-2005, has commenced their annual counting-down of the year's best movies. So far, we have gotten the party started with Nathaniel
's eloquent summary of the virtues of Volver
(which I'd imagined would place a little higher); at #19, Michael Dequina is dazzled by Dreamgirls
; and at #18, my old college chum Lynn Lee
directs our attention to A Scanner Darkly
, a nervy midyear offering that deserved a better shot than the major, Car
-prone and penguin-happy critics' groups afforded it. Cinemarati has a wide-ranging membership of amateur and professional critics with enormously different tastes, so expect an interesting list, and forage around the rest of the blog and the individual members' sites while you're at it.
Labels: Black Cinema, Nick in Print