Monday, February 06, 2012

Rendezvous With Death: Kennedy And Castro

John F. Kennedy's assassination on November 22, 1963 was the murder of the century. Over the intervening 40 years, divergent conspiracy theories surrounding the assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, have captured the imagination of people the world over. Now, for the first time since the Warren commission presented its findings in 1964, compelling facts supporting a new scenario have been uncovered and are presented in the documentary, Rendezvous With Death: Kennedy And Castro.

The documentary presents the findings from years of in-depth research carried out by Wilfried Huismann and his team. Huismann believes that the evidence revealed in this documentary proves Oswald to be a weapon-for-hire in the ultimate round of a deadly duel between John F. and Robert Kennedy vs. Fidel Castro.

This dual was sparked by the US invasion of Cuba's Bay of Pigs that was ordered by President Kennedy in April 1961. The success of Castro's troops in putting down the US forces was a political disaster for Kennedy and set in motion a chain of events that ultimately ended with the death of John F. Kennedy.

Rendezvous With Death reveals that only a few close aides to JKF and his successor Lyndon B. Johnson were privy to the secret details regarding the political stand off between Kennedy and Castro. With Huismann's camera running, top-level historical witnesses reveal for the first time what they know: Alexander Haig, Joseph Califano, Sam Halpern - responsible, in 1963, for the top-secret CIA "AM-LASH' program aimed at murdering Fidel Castro - as well as FBI supervisor Lawrence Keenan.

Weeks before Kennedy was shot in Dallas, Oswald travelled to Mexico. The documentary looks at how just after the assassination, Laurence Keenan re-traced Oswald's movements in Mexico to find out what he had done during his seven-day stay there. According to this documentary, the information that Keenan and his team of FBI and CIA experts were confronted with was so explosive that the newly sworn-in President Johnson personally ordered an immediate halt to the investigations in Mexico.

For the first time in the history of the investigation of the Kennedy assassination, the Mexican secret service DSF - responsible for the tight surveillance maintained on Oswald during his Mexican sojourn - allows filmmaker Wilfried Huismann and Laurence Keenan access to the archives. Filed under 'Oswaldo-Kennedy' Huismann and Keenan discover copious material: Surveillance reports, interrogation transcripts and photos.

Rendezvous With Death is a milestone on the long road to the final resolution of the open question of the century, one that has grown to mythological proportions: Who really killed JFK?

You Tube playlist in 6 parts.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Nazis: Art, Racial Theory and Genocide

Documentary showing how the National Socialist's theories of aesthetics and "race hygiene" let to the mass murder of the mentally ill and handicapped and to the genocide of the European Jews.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Philip K Dick – A Day In The Afterlife

"A Day A Day in the Afterlife focuses on the man himself, in all his crazy, drug-addled, paranoid glory. The mind behind some of my favorite books is fascinated by the constant bombardment of advertising, the effects of giant media conglomerates, and the overwhelming feeling that the world in which we live exists only in the glowing vacuum tubes of countless television sets. It is an ode to one of the most creative minds in science fiction, and another step in the crusade for a wider recognition of his accomplishments.” Ross Rosenberg

BBC 1994 57 minutes

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl

Part 1

Part 2

"This 1994 German documentary is a profoundly unsettling three hours at the movies. Riefenstahl made two brilliant documentaries—“Triumph of the Will” (1935) and “Olympia” (1938)—under the aegis of the Nazi Party. She was known as “Hitler’s favorite filmmaker,” but has always insisted that her movies were never meant to advance a political program—that she looked at contemporary events with the pure, disinterested eye of an artist. Subjected to on-camera interrogation by this film’s director, Ray Müller, she sticks to that story. If you believe her, she’s one kind of monster; if you don’t, she’s another. The juxtaposition of her grotesque apologia with clips from her grandiose, strikingly composed films makes for a bizarre and sobering spectacle." Terrence Rafferty, The New Yorker

183 Minutes. Written And Directed By Ray Müller. In English And German With English Subtitles.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


In his film Defamation (2009) Israeli director Yoav Shamir embarks on a provocative – and at times irreverent – quest to answer the question, “What is anti-Semitism today?” Does it remain a dangerous and immediate threat? Or is it a scare tactic used by right-wing Zionists to discredit their critics? Speaking with an array of people from across the political spectrum (including the head of the Anti-Defamation League and its fiercest critic, author Norman Finkelstein) and traveling to places like Auschwitz (alongside Israeli school kids) and Brooklyn (to explore reports of violence against Jews), Shamir discovers the realities of anti-Semitism today. His findings are shocking, enlightening and – surprisingly – often wryly funny.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Shadowing The Third Man

2007 BBC 4 documentary on the making of Carol Reed's The Third Man.

You Tube play list in 7 parts.

With Orson Welles: Stories from a Life in Film

Leslie Megahey interviews Orson Welles for BBC 2 (1988).

You Tube play list in 16 parts.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Let's Get Lost

Let's Get Lost (1988) is an Oscar nominated American documentary about the turbulent life and career of singer and jazz trumpeter Chet Baker written and directed by Bruce Weber.

“Let's Get Lost isn't primarily about Chet Baker the jazz musician; it's about Chet Baker the love object, the fetish. Behind it all is a soundtrack made up of Baker recordings that span more than three decades — the idealized essence of the man. And maybe because Weber, despite his lifelong fixation on this charmer, knew him only as a battered, treacherous wreck, in the two years before his death, Let’s Get Lost is one of the most suggestive (and unresolved) films ever made. It's about love, but love with few illusions.” – Pauline Kael

You Tube play list in 12 parts.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The End of God?: A Horizon Guide to Science and Religion

As the Pope ends his visit to Britain, historian Dr Thomas Dixon delves into the BBC's archive to explore the troubled relationship between religion and science. From the creationists of America to the physicists of the Large Hadron Collider, he traces the expansion of scientific knowledge and asks whether there is still room for God in the modern world.

The relationship between science and religion has been long and troubled: from the condemnation of Galileo by the Catholic Church in 17th century Italy, through the clashes between creationism and evolution in 20th century America, right up to recent claims that the universe does not need God.

Delving through the rich archive of programmes from Horizon and BBC Science, Thomas Dixon looks at what lies behind this difficult relationship. Using original footage from 1925, he tells the story of John Scopes, a Tennessee teacher who was tried for teaching evolution. He sees the connections between religion and American politics in the story of a more recent court case -- the trial of Intelligent Design. He looks at what happens when new scientific discoveries start to explain events that were once seen as the workings of God, and explains how some of our most famous scientists have seen God in the grandest laws of the universe. Finally, he finds intriguing evidence from brain science which hints that belief in God is here to stay.

BBC4 September 2010. You Tube playlist in 4 parts.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Cadillac Desert

Cadillac Desert: Water and the Transformation of Nature (1997)

An American four-part documentary series about water, money, politics, and the transformation of nature.

The film chronicles the growth of a large community in the western American desert. It brought abundance and the legacy of risk it has created in the United States and abroad.

The first three episodes are based on Marc Reisner's book, Cadillac Desert (1986), that delves into the history of water use and misuse in the American West. It explores the triumph and disaster, heroism and intrigue, and the rivalries and bedfellows that dominate this little-known chapter of American history.

The final episode, is drawn from Sandra Postel's book, Last Oasis, (1992) which examines the global impact of the technologies and policies that came out of America's manipulation of water, demonstrating how they have created the need for conservation methods that will protect Earth's water for the next century.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

John Adams: Nixon In China

PBS broadcast Houston Grand Opera, 1987 Music by John AdamsLibretto by Alice Goodman
Directed by Peter Sellars Choreographed by Mark Morris Conducted by John DeMain
Introduced by Walter Cronkite You Tube playlist in 17 parts.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

David Morrison: Surviving 2012 and Other Cosmic Disasters

Dr. David Morrison is the Director of the NASA Lunar Science Institute and Senior Scientist for Astrobiology at the NASA Ames Research Center. He holds a Ph.D. in astronomy from Harvard and is internationally known for his research on small bodies in the solar system, including advocacy for developing plans to defend the Earth from impacts by comets and asteroids.

A Fellow of CSI, he has written extensively on such fringe science topics as Velikovsky, cosmic catastrophes, UFOs, the creation science movement, and most recently the climate crisis caused by global warming. For the past two years he has been the primary scientist critic of the widespread fear that the world will end in 2012, and of the doomsday sleaze artists who use the Internet, blogs, and cable TV to frighten people for profit. 59 minutes

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Conspiracy Files - Oklahoma City Bombing

The bombing of April 19, 1995, was the biggest attack on American soil before 9/11, killing 168 people, including 19 children. The programm talks to conspiracy theorists who claim that the US government not only had foreknowledge of the attack, they had informants inside the conspiracy who actively encouraged the bombing. The film features revealing interviews with the leading FBI investigators in the case, one of whom, for the first time, is now calling for the investigation to be re-opened.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Climate Change: Facts and Myths

These videos examine and explain the science of climate change and debunk some common myths. You Tube playlist in 8 parts.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Manufacturing Dissent

Manufacturing Dissent is a 2007 documentary that asserts that filmmaker and polemicist Michael Moore has used misleading tactics. The documentary exposes what the creators say are Moore's misleading tactics and mimics Moore's style of small documentary makers seeking and badgering their target for an interview to receive answers to their charges. The film was made over the course of two years by Canadians Debbie Melnyk and Rick Caine after they viewed Fahrenheit 9/11, Moore's controversial film that attacked the Bush administration and its policies. Melnyk and Caine have stated that when they first sought to make a film about Moore, they held great admiration for what he had done for the documentary genre and set out to make a biography of him. During the course of their research, they became disenchanted with Moore's tactics. You Tube play list in 10 parts.

Pauline Kael's review of Michael Moore's Roger and Me:

I’ve heard it said that Michael Moore’s muckraking documentary Roger & Me is scathing and Voltairean. I’ve read that Michael Moore is “a satirist of the Reagan period equal in talent to Mencken and [Sinclair] Lewis,” and “an irrepressible new humorist in the tradition of Mark Twain and Artemus Ward.” But the film I saw was shallow and facetious, a piece of gonzo demagoguery that made me feel cheap for laughing.

Roger is Roger Smith, the chairman of General Motors, who, in Moore’s account, closed eleven GM plants in Flint, Michigan, in 1986 (despite big profits), laid off thirty thousand workers, and set up plants in Mexico, where the wage rate was seventy cents an hour. In the film, he’s directly responsible for bringing about the city’s (unconvincingly speedy) deterioration. Flint, GM’s birthplace, is also Michael Moore’s home town, and Moore, a journalist, previously inexperienced in film, set out, with a camera crew, ostensibly to persuade Roger Smith to come to Flint and see the human results of his policies.

This mock mission is the peg that Moore hangs the picture on: he pursues Roger Smith over a span of two and a half years, from February, 1987, to August, 1989. Moore, who directed, produced, and wrote the film, and is its star, has defined his approach: “I knew the theme would be ‘looking for Roger’ and showing what was happening in Flint during this time period.”

What happens is that Moore, a big, shambling joker in windbreaker and baseball cap, narrates his analysis of the ironies and idiocies of what’s going on, and deadpans his way through interviews with an assortment of unlikely people, who are used as stooges, as filler. He asks them broad questions about the high rate of unemployment and the soaring crime rate, and their responses make them look like phonies or stupes; those who try to block his path or duck his queries appear to be flunkies. Low-level GM public-relations people make squirmy, evasive statements; elderly women on a golf course are confused as to what’s wanted of them; visiting entertainers are cheery and optimistic; Miss Michigan, who is about to take part in the Miss America Pageant, tries to look concerned and smiles her prettiest. What does Moore expect? Why are these people being made targets for the audience’s laughter? The camera makes brutal fun of a woman who’s trying to earn money as an Amway color consultant, and it stares blankly at a woman who’s supplementing her government checks by raising rabbits. (For a minute or two, we seem to be watching an Errol Morris movie.) Moore’s final jab is at a woman with a Jewish name, whose job promoting the attractions of the city has been eliminated. He asks her what she’s going to do next. When she says she’s going to Tel Aviv, Moore seems to be drawing the conclusion that the rats are deserting the ship; something distasteful hovers over the closing credits.

Moore is the only one the movie takes straight. (Almost everybody else is a fun-house case.) This standup crusader appears to be the only person in town who’s awake to the destruction of what used to be a thriving community. And we in the audience are expected to identify with his puckish sanity. The way he tells it, the people who run the town are incompetent twerps. (That’s always popular with movie audiences.) He reports that the civic leaders have been thinking about solutions for the decay of the city and have come up with lamebrained fantasy schemes to attract tourism: a Hyatt Regency hotel and convention center; AutoWorld, a theme park; the Water Street Pavilion, a mall. The three projects are actually built; roughly a hundred and fifty million dollars is poured in, and all three are fiascoes.

I had stopped believing what Moore was saying very early; he was just too glib. Later, when he told us about the tourist schemes, I began to feel I was watching a film version of the thirties best-seller A Short Introduction to the History of Human Stupidity, and I began to wonder how so much of what was being reported had actually taken place in the two and a half years of shooting the film. So I wasn’t surprised when I read Harlan Jacobson’s article in the November-December, 1989, Film Comment and learned that Moore had compressed the events of many years and fiddled with the time sequence. For example, the eleven plant closings announced in 1986 were in four states; the thirty thousand jobs were lost in Flint over a period of a dozen years; and the tourist attractions were constructed and failed well before the 1986 shutdowns that they are said to be a response to. Or let’s take a smaller example of Moore at play. We’re told that Ronald Reagan visited the devastated city, and we hear about what we assume
is the President’s response to the crisis. He had a pizza with twelve unemployed workers and advised them to move to Texas; we’re told that during lunch the cash register was lifted from the pizza parlor. That’s good for a few more laughs. But Reagan visited the city in 1980, when he wasn’t yet President--he was a candidate. And the cash register had been taken two days earlier.

Whatever the reasons for the GM shutdowns, the company had a moral and financial responsibility to join with government agencies and the United Automobile Workers in arranging for the laid-off workers to reënter the labor force. Moore doesn’t get into this--at least, not directly. Possibly he thought
that he’d lose the audience’s attention if he did. Maybe he thought that it was implicit in the gimmick of his wanting to show Roger the damage the company has done, but it’s almost perverse of him to pretend that what’s happened is all Roger Smith’s fault, and to tell the story in cartoon form.

The movie is an aw-shucks, cracker-barrel pastiche. In Moore’s jocular pursuit of Roger, he chases gags and improvises his own version of history. He comes on in a give-’em-hell style, but he breaks faith with the audience. The picture is like the work of a slick ad exec. It does something that is humanly very offensive: Roger & Me uses its leftism as a superior attitude. Members of the audience can laugh at ordinary working people and still feel that they’re taking a politically correct position.

The New Yorker 1/08/1990