Tag Archives: rehearsals film

The Final Member: A Documentary About Penises, And On A Deeper Level, About Documentaries

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The Final Member (Completed in 2012, Released in 2014)
Directed by Zach Math and Jonah Bekhor
90 min.

Spoiler-free.

There’s a scene in this delightful film about a penis museum and the men who want their members to be immortalized in it that is so important that I shouldn’t even talk about it, but I have to, because it unintentionally has a lot to say about documentaries. Don’t worry—I’ve figured out a way to discuss it without spoiling anything.
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‘Rehearsals’ is a Zeitgeist and Your Bed is a Museum

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Rehearsals (2012)
Directed by Cody Clarke
73 min.

IMDb Synopsis: An experimental documentary in which fly-on-the-wall footage of the lives of sixteen aspiring actresses from NYC is collaged to form a day in the life of one aspiring actress—each ‘playing’ a different aspect of the woman. Through this unconventional approach, filmmaker Cody Clarke has painted a visual poem; an ode to both the beauty and the pain of solitude.

Spoiler-free.

When I go to a museum with friends, unless I’m really close to them already, I act weird. I move from piece to piece quickly, afraid of blocking someone’s view. I make awkward quips. I find myself concerned with whether the person next to me knows more or less about the art than I do. And I almost certainly never read the plaques, although I pretend to. All this doesn’t happen on purpose—it’s an instinctive, self-defeating defense mechanism, and it’s embarrassing and insulting to the art.

This same insecurity happens to pretty much everyone I’ve watched a Cody Clarke movie with. I know this, because I’ve forced a lot of friends to watch them.
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Strongman: Pitch-Perfect Cinema Vérité

strongman


Strongman (2009)
Directed by Zachary Levy
113 min.

A day after I posted my How To Watch a Film essay, I received an email from the director of this film. He reached out because loved the essay and he’d gone through, with his own film, exactly what I described going through with my film, Rehearsals—people that were ambivalent about it when watching a screener and then blown away in a theater setting.

For a long time, he avoided releasing his film on DVD because he felt that a theater was the ideal setting to see it, and he wanted to do whatever he could to make sure as many people as possible could see it properly. However, he’s recently decided to finally take the plunge and release it on DVD and Digital, and it’s due out this month.

Zach was kind enough to send me an advance copy of the DVD in the mail, which I watched this past week, and let me tell you—this thing is plenty powerful on an average-sized flatscreen. I don’t know that I could even handle this thing in a movie theater. This is one of the most gripping vérité docs I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s no surprise at all that it has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, was on Roger Ebert’s Year’s Best list, and was a New York Times Critics’ Pick.
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