Peter Jackson's remake of WWI brings back humanity

I’m pretty stoked about this:

Many documentaries on the war are informative but, frankly, quite dull. In striving for objectivity, they lose sight of humanity. Rather than adopt the voice of god and newsreel look that characterizes the usual fare, Jackson has taken an active role in shaping the narrative for us with cutting-edge blockbuster cinematic techniques. He gives us characters to care about in showing the horror of trench warfare, the confusion and camaraderie of war. Though he uses original footage, it is digitally enhanced and colorized, screened in 3D, with recordings of remembrances from the soldiers themselves dramatically overlaid to create the sense that the figures we see onscreen are speaking to us (via).

"To memorialize these soldiers a hundred years later," he says, "is to try to bring some of their humanity back into the world again, to stop them being a black and white cliché.” In creating this moving memorial, Jackson goes far beyond the mandate of an educational film. He has used all the techniques at his disposal to make good on the promise in Robert Laurence Binyon’s 1914 poem “For the Fallen,” from which the documentary takes its title

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

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TIME's 100 most influential images


In this unprecedented exploration of 100 photographs that shaped the human experience, TIME goes behind each spectacular image to reveal how and why it changed the course of history (via).

There is no formula that makes a picture influential. Some images are on our list because they were the first of their kind, others because they shaped the way we think. And some made the cut because they directly changed the way we live. What all 100 share is that they are turning points in our human experience (via).

Here are a few of my favorites so far:

You can explore the stories behind the top 100 photographs, or you can watch short documentaries of the top 20 OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL PHOTOS OF ALL TIME.

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The Tables, a short film by Jon Bunning

A look at the powerful connection between a pair of outdoor ping pong tables in the heart of New York City and the unlikely group of people they’ve brought together, from homeless people to investment bankers to gangbangers (via).

Love this documentary. The cinematography for sure is fantastic, but also it's message.  It reminds me a bit of the kids in Detroit who are waging paintball wars as a way to battle against gang violence. Give people something to do, a purpose, and a way to find community, and they will (I believe) stop destroying neighborhoods, their neighbors, and themselves. 

Also, Sergio is my favorite. 


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The Fallen of WWII : A Short Documentary of War and Peace

This video, at various points, made me sick. The graphs, of each figure equaling 1000 people who died, and that red line of Russian casualties . . . goodness. I thought it would never end. 

Yet, when it came to the midway point, when Halloran said, "More people died in WWII than in any other world in history. For comparison, here are twenty or so of the very worst wars we have on record," I couldn't help but think of a quote from a book I recently read, Born a Crime.

Trevor Noah, an American comedian born in Apartheid South Africa writes

The thing Africans don't have that the Jewish people do have is documentation. The Nazis kept meticulous records, took pictures, made films. And that's really what it comes down to. Holocaust victims count because Hitler counted them. Six million people killed. We can all look at that number and rightly be horrified.

If you look at that infographic closely (minute 13:13), only two African countries are mentioned, "The Congo" listed at 8 million and Mideast Slave Trade at 19 million. And these are just the millions that "count". And they mights simply be guesses. 

. . . When you read through the history of atrocities against Africans, there are no numbers, only guesses. It's harder to be horrified by a guess. When Portugal and Belgium were plundering Angola and the Congo, they weren't counting the black people they slaughtered. How many black people died harvesting rubber in the Congo? In the gold and diamond mines of the Transvaal?

As the film spans out and the graph of millions dead shrinks, the title, "Worst Atrocities on Record" appears. 

How many more have died who haven't been recorded? How many more are still dying today, during the "Long/New Peace"? Because even though we are better than we were, can we honestly call this a time of peace, just because the major powers (dare I say important powers) aren't fighting each other? 

If people are still dying, needlessly, at the hands and minds of others, and if people are still fearing for their lives and losing their homes, can we really call this a time of peace?

What about the refugees that are spread all across this world? The wars and genocides that have plagued Africa and the Middle East, what about the thousands of deaths that are growing daily in shit-hole countries? . . . oh. Right. Now I get it.

That's why we're allowed to be content. Because we're only counting the countries that count. 


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-N- Stuff  :  Documentaries  :  Infographics that say more than what they say  :  WWII

Featured Photographer : Sebastiao Salgado


Sebastião Salgado’s early influences included Lewis Hine, W Eugene Smith and Walker Evans. Much like his heros, Salgado developed a style in black and white that found beauty in brutal subjects of poverty, hardship and oppression of various cultures under the wake of industrialization to the native landscape (via).


With a photojournalistic, monochromatic style that combines complexity with a high sense of drama, his work is dedicated to awareness of conditions of both wildlife and humans (via).


Salgado’s work raised global awareness to varying human conditions which revealed "the often harsh conditions of large scale industrial sites including oil fields and commercial fisheries" (via).


In 2004, after decades of seeing and capturing the worst humanity has to offer, "his work shifted to landscape and wildlife as he began his work on Genesis, a collection of images from some of the most remote parts of the world."

"Salgado aimed to capture landscape that is completely untouched by humans" (via). 


For forty years, Salgado documented deprived societies in hidden corners of the world, and the images, the people, and the experiences slowly yet methodically took its toll - his soul became sick, "I no longer believed in anything," Salgado found, "in any salvation for the human species."

It was then that he returned to his Brazilian home to began a new project: restoring the rainforest and mending his soul. 

For a deeper, more intimate glimpse into Sebastiao Salgado's heart and mind and camera, check out The Salt of the Earth, a film directed by Salgado's son that explores the life and loves and work of the brilliant Sebastião Salgado.

Here's a trailer of the film.

Little did I know that I was going to discover much more than just a photographer.

And so will you.

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"To feel alive again" : The Boho's Lament

A tribute to Phillip and his storytelling that celebrates the New York City he once knew - via

A tribute to Phillip and his storytelling that celebrates the New York City he once knew - via

"I want to sing the song of my life to the world with a guitar and a park bench.

I wanna get crazy, get high, get excited, get happy, get creative, get arrested.

I just want to feel alive again.

I've been to New York a few times. The last time I was there, I bought an "I (heart) NY" t-shirt. I regret it.

Because it was just a facade. 

Because I didn't actually feel a thing.


For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  :  Documentaries  :  Photos of NY from the early 1920's   :  The people Joseph Rodriguez saw through the windshield.




Young@Heart : A documentary

YOUNG@HEART chronicles seven weeks in the lives of the members of the chorus as they prepare for a one-night-only concert in their hometown of Northampton, Massachusetts. The group is made up of two dozen spirited seniors — former schoolteachers, executives, doctors, and food service workers — who specialize in reinterpreting rock, punk, and R&B classics from a unique perspective. What ultimately emerges in the film is a funny and unexpectedly moving testament to friendship, creative inspiration, and expectations defied (via).

And it's one of my favorite documentaries. 

Not because its highly entertaining or expounds upon some new or fascinating idea, but because its devoid of it. 

It's simple, yet extremely personal and human, and it just about brings down the house. Like this scene with Fred Knittle who is supposed to be singing this as a duet, but when his partner falls ill, he has to push through and perform it alone. 

He nails it.


Or here, as they perform live at Hampshire County Jail.


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Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond

Been wanting to watch this for a while. It didn't disappoint.

You may not agree with Jim Carrey on everything he says - or maybe nothing, I know I didn't. But his brilliance is unmatched. 

Good God he and this was good.


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