(*homocinematically inclined)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Dearie Awards 2009: Documentary of the Year - OUTRAGE

Filmmaker-agitator Kirby Dick has turned his probing camera on increasingly sizable targets. He took on predatory Catholic priests in 2005's Oscar-nominated Twist of Faith and the Motion Picture Association of America's secretive ratings board in his follow-up, This Film Is Not Yet Rated. With Outrage, Dick names members of Congress and other US politicians who have been living closeted gay lives while supporting and/or passing legislation against the GLBT community.

A bit more balance would have been helpful in the final film (which makes its DVD debutJanuary 19) but Dick's approach, employing equal parts journalistic skill and righteous anger, is undeniably effective. With Dick's filmmaking technique continuing to improve, his will no doubt become an even more powerful voice in the fight for freedom from oppression, wherever it exists. Which bastion of enduring hypocrisy will be next? The US Armed Forces? Network television? The Vatican? They had best beware of Kirby Dick!

Honorable Mentions:
My personal favorite documentary of 2009, After the Storm, played several film festivals but hasn't yet gotten a theatrical release. This shouldn't stop readers from checking out this inspiring saga of a group of New Orleans youth staging a production of Once on This Island in the wake of Hurricane Katrina's destruction. Learn more, including where the film might be available for viewing in 2010, at the film's official website. Also theatre-based and inspiring was Every Little Step, about the evolution of the enduring musical A Chorus Line. Both docs are potent reminders of how theatre, film and the arts can be truly transformative for local communities and our culture at large.

By Rev. Chris Carpenter, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and the Orange County and Long Beach Blade.

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