S21: THE KHMER ROUGE KILLING MACHINE
Rithy Panh revisits the most extreme Communist regime to ever decimate a society. Filled with reproachful ghosts, his personal doc draws on the testimony of victims and perpetrators, as well as the bureaucratic records. The movie is unforgettable; in its modest way, it’s as horrific an exposure to evil as Shoah. First Run. J.H.
THE FOG OF WAR
October 11 and 12
No matter what you think of Robert McNamara, Errol Morris’s fascinating interview with the former secretary of defense is a chastening experience. Explaining how we landed in Vietnam, McNamara illuminates a key Morris notion—seeing may be believing, but both belief and sight are often wrong. Sony Classics will release it in time for Xmas. J.H.
Spurred by the notion of a Hollywood home movie—the Gary Cooper cigarette-baron melodrama Bright Leaf, which he’s convinced is modeled on his great-grandfather—Ross McElwee embarks on a discursive, allusive tour of North Carolina tobacco fields and cancer wards. It’s a film with at least a dozen themes, all casually integrated and deeply probed: fathers and sons; personal wealth and public health; the value of legacy. No distributor. D.L.
MAYOR OF THE SUNSET STRIP
The subject of George Hickenlooper’s engaging doc is Zelig-like L.A. scene maker and radio DJ Rodney Bingenheimer. Celebrity never seemed more abstract than as refracted through the Joe Franklin obsessions and Warholian gee-whiz of the enigmatic Bingenheimer. First Look. J.H.