Dear Docolytes,

As promised, we will be providing several sneak peeks into the programming of Autumn Quarter. Well, here's the first. If you'd like to know what Doc will be showing every Sunday, read what the very Programmer of the series has to tell you:

Kartemquin Films, a Chicago documentary group of recent The Interrupters fame, is celebrating its 45th anniversary this Fall with a retrospective at its birthplace, the University of Chicago. Founded in 1966 by UofC grads Stan Karter, Jerry Temaner, and Gordon Quinn (note the portmanteau), the company aims to expose deep societal problems by focusing in on the lives of those affected by them. Giving particular attention to Chicago’s under-represented voices—children, factory workers, gang members, the poor—these films garner support for social change, establishing an intimate emotional connection with groups of people otherwise ignored. After almost half a century of filmmaking, Kartemquin has become a potent force in the documentary world, refusing to ever stray from their provocative content.

The intensely political subject matter does not detract from Kartemquin’s production value. These films are incredibly artful. Inspired by the writing and filmmaking of Edgar Morin and Jean Rouch, many of their movies actively integrate the camera as a character. The methodology of “direct cinema” (closely related to cinéma vérité) enriches movies such as Hoop Dreams and Now We Live on Clifton with a sociological aesthetic. This approach challenges the distance and objectivity of the camera, freely interspersing dramatic, staged shots in what are otherwise “fly on the wall” films. In the end, though, it makes these documentaries feel truer and more powerful. As Edgar Morin, wrote: “Cinema is, perhaps, reality, but it is also another thing, a generator of emotions and of dreams.”

Quite Clearly Grant Rotskoff


Doc Films Forever

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