The origin story behind one of Broadway's most beloved musicals, Fiddler on The Roof, and its creative roots in early 1960s New York, when "tradition" was on the wane as gender roles, sexuality, race relations and religion were evolving.
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The iconic Merce Cunningham and the last generation of his dance company is stunningly profiled in Alla Kovgan's 3D documentary, through recreations of his landmark works and archival footage of Cunningham, John Cage, and Robert Rauschenberg.
While this film received outstanding reviews from pro critics, I found it to be one of the weirdest and most bizarre documentaries that I've seen in quite a while.
When Luis Barragan, considered by any to be the most acclaimed Mexican architect of all time, died in 1988, his personal archive and his architecture remained in Mexico, but his professional archive which contained thousands of drawings, negatives, models, was sold. This would include the intellectual property rights of Barragan's archive. The buyer was Rolf Fehlbaum, chairman of the Swiss furniture maker Vitra, who, rumor has it, bought it for his fiance at the time Federica Zanco. They would marry and the archive was moved to Switzerland, was named the Barragan Foundation and Federica became the director, as it would become shut from the public.
Enter Jill Magid, the narrator, director, and person who appears on screen mostly in the film, who was a devoted follower of Barragan's work. She begins to stay at the Barragan home, now a museum, and learns the details of the Barragan professional archive transfer some 2 decades before. Majid feels that corporations should not control and "hide away" artistic properties such as Barragan's.
Thus begins a long series of letters sent between Magid and Federica, which to me came across as "dancing around the subject" without being honest enough to spell it out. This is followed by Majid getting the Barragan family together for a presentation where she proposes a partial removal of Barragan's ashes for reasons the viewer is not told till near the end of the doc. The family approves, and Majid gets the local Mexican government's approval, so we get to see the box of ashes removed and 525 grams are taken out.
When we discover what's going on and how the ashes are used for an eventual proposal, I was completely turned off by this whole scenario. Overall, all the hidden agendas and manipulations in this movie left me rather angry that I spent all this time viewing it.
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