Thursday, January 01, 2009

Jesus Camp and Operation Filmmaker

I'd have to say that this is my least favorite time of the year. December anyway. I usually can't wait until all if the holiday season is over so I can ski, but so far it's been difficult to get up to the mountain. That will soon change I hope.

So I have been watching a lot of TV. Documentaries are my favorite kind of TV program. I shovel snow then I come in and watch a documentary. Shovel snow, documentary. Shovel snow, news. Snow, documentary. Snow, Leave it to Beaver, and so on..

Two documentaries have left an impression on me lately. The first one was Jesus Camp. Somewhere in North Dakota religious right people bring their kids to be drilled on how to be just like their parents. That was a trip. At one point one of the instructors/ pastors got out a little case with little fetus dolls in it at different stages of development and showed them to the kids. My gosh I thought. That just felt wrong to me for kids that age. It was difficult to watch actually. Talk about kids growing up too fast. They had kids crying and leaning how to protest abortion. I think Boy Scout/ Girl Scout camp might be a better option. Perhaps they could learn to value life by enjoying it. Teach them how to canoe and this sort of thing...

Jesus Camp had kind of a cool ending though. This woman was driving her SUV or mini-van down this business strip with the flag flying over a KFC and saying how she loved the american life. Then she drove it into an automatic car wash while she listend to religious radio confirm her belief system. That was pretty well done.

The next one that left an impression on me was on Independent Lens called Operation Filmmaker. It was about bringing an Iraqi young person interested in filmmaking out of Iraq and letting him work on the set of Everything Is Iluminated and then following his struggle to not go back to Iraq after the filming was over. Nina Davenport made the documentary. It was also a trip. I've heard different things about this film. My impression of it was that many of the movie/ TV people, except the star of Doom (Dwayne Johnson/ The Rock?) couldn't really grasp the reality of this guys situation. I think everything in this documentary illuminated how removed from the Iraq war we've all been, with the exception of those who have been doing the fighting, (and The Rock who is a very nice guy)

It also had a cool ending. (Before I gave too much of it away, so I'll change this to say that this is a good film and worth watching. They do re-air them a few times but usually it's in the middle of the night so you might have to set your recorder.)


Diane said...

TV Documentaries are really enjoyable. If you get a chance search on YouTube "How's it made". There are a bunch of 5 minute segments of how everyday items are industrially produced.

Jesus Camp sounds scary. I feel sad that there are some parents with such extreme political motivations who force their kids into that stuff.

It seems like growing up isn't about being a kid and having fun anymore, it's about being a tool or symbol for the parents. That doesn't seem right to me.

don said...

I've seen how it's made now and then. I watched how they made beer cans...

Jesus camp was really something. Totally worth watching. Operation Filmmaker was really interesting too. Both were really well done. I should have given Nina Davenport more credit for her film.