DOC NYC 2015: Early bird highlights

Films to look out for at the documentary showcase.

by Anne-Katrin Titze

Clockwise from top left: Hitchcock/Truffaut, Women He's Undressed, Best Of Enemies, Where To Invade Next
Clockwise from top left: Hitchcock/Truffaut, Women He's Undressed, Best Of Enemies, Where To Invade Next Photo: Courtesy DOC NYC
DOC NYC is the place to see on the big screen costume designers Ann Roth, Colleen Atwood, Catherine Martin, Michael Wilkinson and Kym Barrett speak about Orry-Kelly - Martin Scorsese, David Fincher, Arnaud Desplechin, Wes Anderson, James Gray, Olivier Assayas, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Richard Linklater, Peter Bogdanovich and Paul Schrader discuss Alfred Hitchcock and François Truffaut - Michael Moore conquering Europe and Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley Jr. trying to conquer each other.

Gillian Armstrong's Women He's Undressed, Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon's Best of Enemies, Hitchcock/Truffaut directed by Kent Jones and Michael Moore's Where to Invade Next, are four of this year's early bird highlights.

Women He's Undressed

Ann Roth in Gillian Armstrong's documentary about the great, triple Best Costume Design Oscar winner, Orry-Kelly, sums up brilliantly what costume design is all about: "You keep looking in the mirror and suddenly another being is there and the actor for a second does not recognize themselves. It sounds like magic, but it isn't, it's real. You can do it with a shoulder pad, you can do it with a beer belly - something that removes the actor from himself." Armstrong presents her fellow Australian via staged stylised re-enactments, mostly of Orry's early years, perfectly placed film clips, interviews with contemporary costume designers, actors he dressed, such as Jane Fonda and Angela Lansbury, and a collection of Hollywood historians and friends of friends who knew him. If you don't know Orry-Kelly's contributions to cinema and even if you do, Women He's Undressed is a must-see.

Behind the Scenes - Sunday, November 15 at 9:15pm - SVA Theatre: Expected to Attend: Subject Ann Roth

Hitchcock/Truffaut

New York Film Festival Director Kent Jones, together with co-writer Cinémathèque Française Director Serge Toubiana, took on the downright nearly impossible but, undoubtedly, equally pleasurable task of turning the epic 50 hour 500 question interview between Alfred Hitchcock and François Truffaut into a script for an 80 minute documentary. For eight days in 1962, the two directors discussed Hitchcock's career, resulting in Truffaut's groundbreaking 1967 Hitchcock/Truffaut. Kent Jones with sharp-witted timing put together clips from the master's oeuvre with commentary by some of the best filmmakers working today, speaking about the impact the book had on them and about Hitchcock in general. Martin Scorsese gives marvelous insight into his understanding of the man, Hitchcock, who perfected the "religious angle" and why "plot is just a line that you hang things on."

Special Events - Saturday, November 14 at 6:45pm - Bow Tie Chelsea Cinemas: Expected to Attend: Director Kent Jones, Subject Martin Scorsese

Where To Invade Next

Semper Fidelis - Michael Moore conquers Europe and a slice of Tunisia on a one-man mission, invading countries to bring back to the US the treasures he has found. He plays Dorothy without Toto - and most likely in sneakers - who sees what exists in the world beyond Kansas. Moore's first stop is Italy, where a policeman and his wife, a buyer for a department store, talk about the 35 days vacation they get each year. France is the next stop on his yellow brick road invasion. A school cafeteria in Normandy where children eat from real plates. On to Finland, introduced by slightly puzzling yodeling sounds, we learn that the country is the world's number one in education. Slovenia has one letter less in their alphabet - Moore wonders when they dropped the W. The famous pencil factory of Faber-Castell in Nuremberg, Germany, is his next invasion target. A May Day rally in Lisbon leads to a conversation with Portuguese policemen. The Norwegian prison system is explored on an island and in a maximum security prison that has its own recording studio and singing guards. In Tunisia he discovers free government-funded women's health clinics and in Iceland the role women played in the recovery of the economy.

Short List - Thursday, November 12 at 9:30pm - SVA Theatre: Expected to Attend: Director Michael Moore, Producers Tia Lessin and Carl Deal

Best of Enemies

Morgan Neville (Best Documentary Oscar winner for 20 Feet From Stardom) and his Best Of Enemies co-director Robert Gordon have mirthfully and wisely embedded the verbal duels between William F. Buckley Jr. and Gore Vidal into the surroundings. We start out with archival footage of Vidal's Italian villa, in which he gives a tour of his bathroom and proudly points to photographs hanging over the bathtub that place him with Buckley at the Democratic Convention debates in Chicago in 1968. Vidal is shown in a clip with Arthur Miller and Paul Newman with commentary on them driving in a car through "clouds of teargas" to the convention. At the time, Haskell Wexler was capturing the violence in his great film Medium Cool. In one of the many fascinating interviews, Reid Buckley, says about his brother Bill that "most of all, he is a revolutionary." The debates, were and still are in a way about "lifestyle" and "who is the better person?" Christopher Hitchens calls the aftermath in lawsuits and magazine articles by both of the men an "enormous opportunity for the practice of malice."

Short List - Saturday, November 14 at 2:00pm - Bow Tie Chelsea Cinemas: Wednesday, November 18 at 2:45pm - Bow Tie Chelsea Cinemas; Expected to Attend: Director Morgan Neville on November 14

The sixth annual DOC NYC, running from November 12-19, will showcase 153 films and events, including screenings of 104 feature-length documentaries, eight programmes comprised of 40 shorts, and 35 doc-related panel discussions and master classes. For more information and to book, visit the official site

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