We’re all about unneccessarily deep-diving cinema here at No But Listen, and what better way to do that than with some brilliant documentaries exploring some lesser-known avenues of the filmic world and other creative endeavours? Let’s talk the finest non-fiction on cinema!
Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror
Let’s begin with the hard yards one. At a bum-numbing three hours and fourteen minutes, Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror is a huge task to undertak,e but it’s one that is well worth it. Starting from The Wicker Man, through Witchfinder General, and to The Blood on Satan’s Claw, Woodlands is an exhaustive trip through the folk horror sub-genre and its many influences and how its legacy shaped horror today. If nothing else, it’s an entertaining way to get a bucket-load of movie recommendations. Plus, you can annoy people by pointing at a tree when you’re watching any horror movie and proclaim that it’s folk horror. How do I know it annoys people? I’ve tested it extensively.
Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild Untold Story of Ozploitation
I know Australians are characters. I’ve been there, strutting in with my Scottish patter and Saturday football pummelled liver, and they made me feel like Our Wullie in Vegas (which is to say, terrified). So, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that when their filmmakers started being allowed to use lots of sex and violence that they would give the world some of the weirdest, silliest, and most brilliant movies of the 20th century. Not Quite Hollywood charts the rise, fall, and many questionable practices of these filmmakers and how they tried to find a cinematic identity for a country that previously had none. Do you want to see one-time Bond George Lazenby getting set on fire? How about people trying to explain what the fuck the movie Turkey Shoot is supposed to be? Or have Picnic at Hanging Rock get lightly roasted for not having the ethereal women in white drive Mad Max-style war machines? Then this is the doc for you.
Hubert Selby Jr.: It’ll Be Better Tomorrow
Not exactly a film documentary, but it might as well be since Hubert Selby Jr.’s writing had an impact on an entire generation of actors and filmmakers. It’ll Be Better Tomorrow was part of a two-disc DVD set along with Darren Aronofsky’s adaptation of Selby’s Requiem for a Dream, and for me, who was just getting into his fucked up books reading stage, watching this documentary about the writer’s life, his career, and his legacy was a game-changer. I passed it around to may friends and we all agreed that as soon as we had read one of his books (I quickly got, read, and passed on Last Exit to Brooklyn) he would be our favourite author. It’s a little-known cinematic rule that trying to dramatize the act of writing is extremely boring, but It’ll Be Better Tomorrow shows how vital creativity is as it brought Selby back from the brink of addiction and death many times. The fact that he’s now part of the literary cannon despite creating his own way of writing is just a bonus.
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By Kevin Boyle
(header image via Variety)