“Ivory Tower” is a documentary about the rising cost of college in the United States — a high-stakes and intensely personal topic for many members of the Stanford community.
I think of myself as a healing artist,” explained Lynn Nottage, the acclaimed and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, in conversation with Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education Harry Elam on Thursday afternoon in Pigott Theater.
Though they employ diverse stories and forms to convey their message, this year’s Oscar-nominated documentary features all explore the role of art in contemporary society.
Both “20 Feet from Stardom” and “Cutie and the Boxer” expose the working realities of the contemporary art world, giving voice to relatively unheard artists. Meanwhile, “The Act of Killing,” “The Square” and “Dirty Wars” challenge audiences to consider the ethics and efficacy of art as a means of political expression. While these films are not of universal quality, they are, collectively, a reminder that art matters and that films have an uncanny capacity to shape the world they depict.
In the opening scene of “Gloria,” by Chilean writer-director Sebastián Lelio, the film’s eponymous star is alone at a nightclub. Gloria (Paulina García) makes eye contact with a few romantic prospects— middle-aged men from Santiago, Chile— but, mostly, she navigates independently, hovering on the dance floor’s peripheries. Everything about Gloria is familiar— her guts and vulnerability, her passions and instincts for self-preservation. She is a refreshing reminder that young people do not have a monopoly on the aches and ecstasies of falling in love.
Arts & Life writer Gillie Collins sat down with director Jehane Noujaim (“The Control Room,” “Startup.com”) and producer Karim Amer of “The Square” to learn about the filmmaking process.
According to columnist Gillie Collins, renowned documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman has done it again — and, this time, his focus is closer to home. Wiseman’s 38th documentary, “At Berkeley,” exposes the entrails of Stanford’s nearby rival, University of California at Berkeley.
“The Square,” a remarkable new documentary by director Jehane Noujaim, is an essential complement to Egypt’s recent history, telling the story of political change through the eyes of grassroots activists.
“August: Osage County,” based on the play by Tracy Letts and directed by John Wells, paints a heartrending portrait of family dysfunction — and perhaps reconciliation.