Documentaries about creative, inspiring people are basically the only kind of movies I see. For some unknown reason, 8 such documentaries are being released this month. I’ve seen two of them in the last week: Dior and I (about Raf Simons coming from Jil Sander to Dior and doing his first show – I cried at the end!). Totally fantastic – as was Seymour (Ethan Hawke’s film about a legendary concert pianist who helped Ethan work thru an existential crisis in his life).
On my schedule for the next two weeks are six more documentaries, 3 are music-related – one about the 80’s DC punk scene, one about Kurt Cobain, and one about Spandau Ballet. Another film I’m dying to see is about how comedians get into the “funny” business (the trailer looked awesome). I’m also looking forward to The Great Museum and most especially, Iris (about Iris Apfel, Albert Maysles’s last documentary).
Read below for more details on each, along with theatrical release dates (some will be nationwide, some limited release).
SALAD DAYS/ IFC – opens Friday April 17
A long-awaited documentary on the influential 80s D.C. hardcore scene. Ian MacKaye, the driving force behind the Teen Idols, Minor Threat, Embrace, Fugazi, Dischord Records and the scene in general, is featured prominently. Early on he describes the profound impact seeing The Cramps play at Georgetown University had on him — which included singer Lux Interior vomiting, leaving the stage and returning to play. “That was it,” Mackaye exclaims in the film, “That was the night I was like, ‘I’m cutting my hair.” Henry Rollins of SOA (and later Black Flag and Rollins Band) pays homage to the influential Bad Brains and recalls how he learned to fight fending off the suburbanites in Camaros who bullied the teenaged punk rockers loitering about Georgetown’s Wisconsin Avenue and M Street. Dave Grohl makes several appearances and rather emotionally credits his days playing in Scream and the scene in Washington as making him the person he is today.
The film took four years and $50,000 to make, which was raised on Kickstarter.
The film offers up a who’s who of comic greats such as Amy Schumer, Judd Apatow, Lisa Kudrow, Larry David, Steve Coogan, Whoopi Goldberg, Tom Hanks and Jimmy Fallon and looks at what inspired them to get into the business of making people laugh.
Another Kickstarter film.
KURT COBAIN: MONTAGE OF HECK/ IFC – opens Friday April 24
The first fully authorized doc about Cobain is a raw, visceral journey with no-holds-barred access, featuring never-before-seen home movies, recordings, artwork, photography, journals, demos and songbooks. Directed by Oscar-nominee Morgen and executive produced by Cobain’s daughter, Frances Bean Cobain, it includes dozens of Nirvana songs and performances, plus previously unheard Cobain originals.
THE GREAT MUSEUM/ IFC – opens Friday April 24
Reveals the inner-workings of Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum, one of the most important art institutions in the world. Widely known as the art palace that houses paintings by Rembrandt, Diego Velásquez, Pieter Brueghel, Peter Paul Rubens and Caravaggio, among many other canonical works, the museum also features a remarkable and magnetic group of employees – here shown with equal honesty and sensibility.
As the camera follows the spacious rooms hosting some of the world’s most valuable art works, director Johannes Holzhausen reveals a dynamic, reflective and fast-moving institution that’s both adapting to the marketing and funding realities of the 21st-century while remaining faithful to its core mission.
SOUL BOYS OF THE WESTERN WORLD/ IFC – opens Wednesday April 29
Relive the music, fashion, and spirit of the 1980s via the incredible saga of the rise, fall, and comeback of New Wave legends Spandau Ballet. From the streets of working class London to the top of the pop charts, Spandau Ballet conquered the airwaves in the 80s with international hits like “True” and “Gold.” But the behind-the-scenes story was just as compelling, as the band overcame ego clashes and a bitter breakup to reunite triumphantly for their current tour.
IRIS/ Film Forum – opens Wednesday April 29
Iris Apfel, fashion’s grand dame and the subject of Albert Maysles’s last documentary. This “rare bird of fashion,” as she is now known, first came to prominence in the 1950s, when she and her husband, Carl—who turned 100 during filming—founded Old World Weavers, a textile company hired by nine presidents for White House restorations. In Iris, we see Apfel mingle with Bruce Weber, Jenna Lyons, and Kanye West, while behind the closed doors of her Park Avenue apartment she quietly grapples with old age. Fashion, she says, never keeps her up at night. “Matters of health and things like that [do]. Things that are really important.”