The Act of Killing (2012)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

So there’s this documentary where real-life Indonesian death squad members re-stage their crimes for the camera, including lavish song and dance numbers. No really, this exists, and is probably the most Anomalously Cinematic doc made in the last 15 years. I try to avoid Oscar nominated films here, but this is just too perfect to not share. I caught myself with my mouth hanging open several times while trying to absorb the multiple levels of crazy on display. I give The Act of Killing my strongest possible recommendation. Also check out director Joshua Oppenheimer’s follow up The Look of Silence, which is not as over-the-top, but well worth watching.

Available on Blu-ray from Drafthouse Films.

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McQueen (2018)

Streaming on Hulu | imdb | trailer

Nearly ten years ago my partner Suzie dragged me to see Alexander McQueen’s exhibition at The Met in New York. I was not psyched to wait in line for something I wasn’t particularly interested in. Once we got into the show, my feelings quickly changed. I loved what I was seeing, especially the dark influences like Jack the Ripper and Joel-Peter Witkin. I walked out of museum an official Alexander McQueen fan. Suzie and I watched this documentary as soon as it cane out and absolutely loved it. This is obviously a must-see for fashion enthusiasts, and I would recommend this film to anyone interested in art as well. Before I saw that exhibition I didn’t understand the two worlds had such compelling areas of crossover.

Available on Blu-ray from Lion’s Gate.

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Minding the Gap (2018)

Streaming on Hulu | imdb | trailer

I was a TERRIBLE skater for three years in the ’80s before I gave it up. I still love to watch skateboarding videos old and new. This is a very deep documentary that just so happens to feature skater kids. Three friends navigate troubled families and becoming adults. It’s very well done and engaging throughout. Highly recommended viewing.

Not available on Blu-ray.

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Kusama: Infinity (2018)

Streaming on Hulu | imdb | trailer

Here we have a good overview of the career of influential Japanese contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama. I thought this doc might be too fluffy as much of her work is bright and polka dot-strewn, but it does not shy away from the artists’ battle with mental illness and other dark corners of her life. Infinity also touches on the many lesser-known ways in which Kusama’s output has made an impact on the history of art. Recommended viewing for those interested in the creative struggle.

Not available on Blu-ray.

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Sad Hill Unearthed (2017)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

You will need to see The Good, the Bad and the Ugly before you watch this, as fans restore the set from the climax of the film. Thankfully Netflix has Leone’s masterpiece streaming right now as well. I had my doubts that this would be interesting, especially since it opens with Metallica in concert. I’m a die hard fan of the Cliff Burton years and not into much of their output since, some of which is downright shameful. The band is included because they have used the featured scene as their live opening video for a long time. I saw the tour they first used it, and yes, it was very effective. James Hetfield actually does say some very thoughtful things in this movie too. Anyhow, I had forgotten how big and beautifully designed the Sad Hill set was, and this documentary goes into a lot of detail about it. None of it is dull, and by the end, it all gets surprisingly emotional. They also talk about the making of the movie in general, so if you’re a fan this is a must-see. I was psyched to see Sergio Salvati interviewed in this as well. He’s why the classic Lucio Fulci movies look so good. My only real complaint is that the filmmakers animated almost all of the still photographs. I despise that technique. Leave photos alone people! Ahem… In spite of a couple of blemishes, this is a damn good documentary.

Not available on domestic Blu-ray.

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Witkin & Witkin (2017)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

Joel Peter Witkin is an influential photographer while his twin brother Jerome is a less celebrated, but excellent painter. This documentary talks about their lives, relationship, and a Mexico City exhibition of both artists’ work. Witkin & Witkin is not for sensitive viewers as it contains a lot of nudity, people with deformities, and dead bodies which make up the majority of Joel’s photographs, as well as some of Jerome’s source material. Overall this is a well made and revealing film that should appeal to anyone interested in contemporary visual art with a dark edge.

Not available on domestic Blu-ray.

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Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Inferno (2009)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer (sign-in necessary)

Henri-Georges Clouzot is responsible of two of my favorite European movies of the ’50s, The Wages of Fear and Diabolique. In 1964 he was given a huge budget to create an experimental drama combining his usual black and white photography with candy-colored hallucinatory sequences. The bad news is, pretty much everything went wrong, and the film was never completed. The good news is, we have this fantastic documentary. This is worth watching to see the trippy color scenes alone, but the rest of the story is absolutely engrossing as well. If you’d like to see another excellent unfinished movie, check out Andrzej Zulawski’s On the Sliver Globe.

Blu-ray available from Arrow Academy.

If you are a fan of Anomalous Cinema please consider supporting the site over on Patreon. You’ll get exclusive content every week, and help in the creation of a book version very similar to what you see here. You can also show your appreciation via Buy Me a Coffee or Liberapay. Thanks!

The Rape of Europa (2006)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

We all know Hitler was an asshole. Did you know that the cherry on top of his asshole behavior was stealing and destroying great works of art? It’s true. You can learn all about it in this excellent documentary. I honestly I give The Rape of Europa my highest recommendation.

Not available on Blu-ray.

If you are a fan of Anomalous Cinema please consider supporting the site over on Patreon. You’ll get exclusive content every week, and help in the creation of a book version very similar to what you see here.

Mosul (2019)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

This is a flat-out excellent documentary on the Iraqi fight against ISIS in 2016-17. The camera is actually IN the battle at one point. Need I say that squeamish folks should avoid this one? Nah. You know that by now. As harsh as this films is, it’s a real eye opener and highly recommended.

Available on Blu-ray from Gravitas Ventures.

If you are a fan of Anomalous Cinema please consider supporting the site over on Patreon. You’ll get exclusive content every week, and help in the creation of a book version very similar to what you see here.

Last Breath (2019)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

This is a very good documentary about a saturation diving accident. That may sound boring, but this is a seriously intense viewing experience. The movie is very well made, including excellent moody soundtrack work. I’ll be steering clear of any under sea adventures, thank you very much.

Not available on Blu-ray.

If you are a fan of Anomalous Cinema please consider supporting the site over on Patreon. You’ll get exclusive content every week, and help in the creation of a book version very similar to what you see here.