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Talking Movies

New York Film Festival: Eclectic documentary mix

The New York Film Festival offers a wide and varied mix of non-fiction films. Tom Brook considers three – from New York, Nepal and Egypt.

Feature films like Paul Greengrass’ Captain Phillips and Ben Stiller’s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty are creating most of the buzz at the New York Film Festival. But a range of innovative documentaries also feature in the two-week programme.

Frank Keraudren and Allison Berg’s documentary The Dog looks back to New York of thirty years ago. It tells the story of John Wojtowicz, who botched a bank robbery in 1972 and was later famously portrayed by Al Pacino in the 1975 classic Dog Day Afternoon.

Manakamana is quite different – an experimental film that is simple but highly original. The directors placed a fixed camera inside a cable car travelling up to a temple in Nepal. The camera never stops until the film runs out: you just watch a selection of travellers. Many critics and audience members found it completely enthralling.

But perhaps the most topical documentary at the festival has been The Square. It was put together by the Egyptian-American filmmaker Jehane Noujaim, who in 2011 began following specific activist individuals caught up in Egypt’s unrest.

Tom Brook meets the filmmakers behind all three movies.

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