SF Doc Fest 2011 – “Where Soldiers Come From”, “How To Start A Revolution”, and “General Orders #9”

Movie: Where Soldiers Come From

A great documentary.  It takes you through the lives of a group of young men who decide to join the National Guard on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan while the country is at war.  We see them as they go from innocent post-high school students with somewhat grand images of the future to soldiers enjoying, though overwhelmed with, the first days to becoming disillusioned – and finally coming home, trying to re-adjust.  It is a moving and powerful documentary that successfully makes you feel acquainted with the people you view.  The people on screen, as well, are interesting and intelligent, and occasionally lucidly self-aware.  This is well worth seeing.

Showtimes for Where Soldiers Come From:

Saturday, October 15th, 5:00pm (Shattuck – Berkeley)

Sunday, October 16th, 12:30pm (Roxie Theater)

Sunday, October 23rd, 2:45pm (Roxie Theater)

Movie: How To Start A Revolution

How To Start A Revolution is about a subject extremely relevant and strangely not well known. Gene Sharp is an American intellectual who has, over the years, put together a pamphlet instructing people on the basic elements of how to perform a successful revolution.  The documentary covers him somewhat (with an occasionally odd fixation on his orchids), and then shifts to the revolutions where his ideas have aided.  Unfortunately, the music creates an overly sentimental feeling and often comes across as forced.  I was not disappointed seeing it, but I felt like if the film had more confidence in its overall ideas and less in the music’s ability to overpower people, it would have been much better.

Showtimes for How To Start A Revolution:

Friday, October 14th, 5:00pm (Shattuck – Berkeley)

Wednesday, October 19th, 9:30pm (Roxie Theater)

Sunday, October 23rd, 9:30pm (Roxie Theater)

Movie: General Orders #9

In this film, Robert Persons seems to begin to paint a portrait, or write a poem, lovingly about his home in Georgia. The scenery is striking, the pacing is methodical and careful, and the mood is one of devotion.  Then we see the ominous modernization which destroys the sanctity of nature with the destruction of humanity.  At times it reminds me of Terrence Malick’s contrast of images and narration, but is definitely unique, and unlike anything I’ve seen.  A very interesting exhortation, and a very beautiful film.

Showtimes for General Orders #9:

Saturday, October 15th, 12:30pm (Roxie Theater)

Sunday, October 16th, 5:00pm (Roxie Theater)

Tuesday, October 18th, 2:45pm (Shattuck – Berkeley)


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