Two docs in shaky-cam.
1: Mondovino, in cinemas today, arguably the best of this year’s documentary explosion. Like The Corporation it’s an investigation of global capitalism, but rooted in a concrete analysis of one product: wine, opening out from an immediate symptom — an Bove-via-Ealing-style counteroffensive against a giant Napa Valley combine in a corner of France — to reveal the massive number of contradictory factors in play. The ‘amateur’ camerawork (with the lensman concentrating mainly on the interviewees’ pets) actually pays off: better this than the blank ‘talking head’ style that makes everyone an equivalent voice.
2: Don’t Look Back (1965): a famous ‘direct cinema’ piece following the still-acoustic Bob Dylan on his May 1965 tour of England. Bob ends up playing the Albert Hall, but before doing so asks a hanger-on whether England has any poets like Allen Ginsberg. The answer comes in the negative. Just a month later saw the Albert Hall Incarnation (at which Ginsberg performed, along with a plethora of transatlantic beats), usually seen as the ‘year zero’ of the English underground, and which provided the material for the first work of English cinema-verite: Peter Whitehead’s Wholly Communion. Alas, Bob leaves with the impression that this is an island of bible-bashing, adulating know-nothings — so much for ‘synchronicity’, that watchword of the ’60s.