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IDFA 2006.2: Wide Awake

IDFA 2006.2: Wide Awake

It’s not often that you find yourself reciting dialogue from a documentary as if you just saw a Zucker brothers movie (I can only think of docs like American Movie or Hands on a Hardbody that do the trick), and it’s usually because the doc is somewhat comic or has a humorous tone. That certainly isn’t the case with Jose Gonzalez Morandi and Paco Toledo’s devastating Can Tunis, a disturbing verite glimpse at a desolate and crime-ridden neighborhood in Barcelona. But, sure enough, in the midst of horrific imagery (including a rather brutal and overlong pig-torture sequence) one of the incorrigible youths in the film tries to avoid her household chores by making the plea to her family, “Shall I make a junkie take the trash out?” As shocking as the context is, a group of us (perhaps hungry for some levity) could not help but find this alarmingly humorous in the most sorrowful kind of way.

Levity is always a welcome thing at IDFA, as a lot of the compelling and brilliant documentaries at the festival are usually very somber. Last year, I was especially gripped by the amazing doc KZ, even though it’s one of the toughest/saddest 90 minutes you could find. So, as I continue my journey through the program, we’ll see which docs can out-sad the saddest. Here’s some new pics:

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(The street scene near the main theater venue, the City cinema, on Saturday night in Amsterdam.)

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(Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, directors of doc success ‘Jesus Camp,’ seen here hanging out at the “Movies that Matter” party at De Balie. It’s great to see the filmmaking duo at IDFA, having not seen them since we premiered their last film, ‘The Boys of Baraka,’ at SXSW 2005.)

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(Chatting away at the Israel reception, are SILVERDOCS’ Amy King and Sky Sitney, along with ‘Kurt Cobain About A Son’ director AJ Schnack, and Tribeca programmer David Kwok.)

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(Legendary doc filmmaker Alan Berliner takes part in one of the late-night “IDFATalks,” as he discusses his “Top 10” documentaries, all screening at the festival. They are joined by his entire feature canon, which includes recent work like ‘Sweetest Sound’ and ‘Wide Awake.’)

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(Noted documentary filmmaker Peter Wintonick hosts the nightly “IDFATalks” discussions, and is always a big hit with the crowd.)

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(A group of about 20 of us gathered at a terrific Indian restaurant for one of those sprawling, long, frustrating, amazing, delicious, random dinners that you can only truly have at a film festival.)

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