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The Unusual Subjects

The Unusual Subjects

Have you ever wondered about the diverse reaches (and implications) of dust? Wanted to know the history of a Coney Island roller coaster? What about what it’s like to work on a globe-trotting cargo trip? Or what it takes to compose some of the world’s most adventurous electronic music? Welcome to The Unusual Subjects, a series of eclectic documentaries plunging into topics few venture to explore.

DAWSON CITY: FROZEN TIME

Bill Morrison United States, 2016

A history lesson had never been so mesmerizing! This wondrous work of cinematic excavation by Bill Morrison is an archival odyssey into the abyss of capitalism. The documentary is an exquisite ode to the materiality of celluloid and a political and poetic act of resistance in the digital age.

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F*CK FOR FOREST

Michał Marczak Poland, 2012

Directed by Michal Marczak (All These Sleepless Nights), this documentary takes us on a journey from Berlin to the deepest jungles of the Amazon. A portrait of an NGO selling erotic videos to support environmental projects, the film is both endlessly entertaining and incredibly poignant.

SCENES FROM THE LIFE OF ANDY WARHOL: FRIENDSHIPS AND INTERSECTIONS

Jonas Mekas United States, 1990

A career-spanning chronicle of one of Jonas Mekas’ contemporaries: the American artist Andy Warhol. In diaries between 1962 and 1982, Mekas captures his everyday life, celebrity, and friends, among them: The Velvet Underground, John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

TWO YEARS AT SEA

Ben Rivers United Kingdom, 2011

This gorgeous, transfixing documentary from U.K. artist Ben Rivers is the tranquil yet fascinating study of a life of unique solitude. Using 16mm black-and-white film, Rivers captures the slow, palpable rhythms of isolation from the modern world, and a life attuned to the smallest details of nature.

GIUSEPPE MAKES A MOVIE

Adam Rifkin United States, 2014

Focusing on the titular DIY auteur and his no-budget production in Ventura, California, Giueseppe Makes a Movie is an ecstatic plunge into ingenuity pairing with genius. The passion and community here is what the movies are all about—portraits of filmmaking don’t get any more inspiring than this.

ZIPPER: CONEY ISLAND'S LAST WILD RIDE

Amy Nicholson Honduras, 2012

Get ready for the ride of your life on this Coney Island roller coaster! The Zipper takes on a symbolic role in this ground-level portrait of a changing neighborhood, as the iconic and once-glorious Brooklyn amusement park tries to finds its place in a gentrifying and changing New York.

AMONG WOLVES

Shawn Convey Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2016

In this delicate documentary from Bosnia, survivors of the war sort through the pieces of their collective trauma by answering their sense of neglect with a quest to protect a herd of wild horses. Among Wolves indelibly expresses the healing connection between human and beast amid the ashes of war.

THE CREEPING GARDEN

Tim Grabham, Jasper Sharp United Kingdom, 2014

The scientific anomaly of slime mold is at the center of this doc which continually spirals outwards, encompassing the topics of art, the universe, and even cinema history. Whether you’re interested in the mystery organism or not, there’s much to discover in this unexpected, philosophical journey.