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  1. I suspect some of our younger members have never heard of "The Thin Blue Line" (1988), but due to a Facebook post by Sweth, I was inspired to watch it again last night - the only other time I'd seen it was when it was released in theaters 27 years ago. I was raving about the film when it came out, and I think every bit as highly of it now, even though I knew exactly how the story ended. This is a non-fiction exposé of a murder conviction that might have been incorrectly decided. The two principal suspects, Randall Adams and David Harris (I'm purposely not linking to them so you don't peak at their fates since 1988) play a central role in this crime-re-creation (*) documentary which is about as *exciting* as any documentary I've ever seen. "The Thin Blue Line" is an incredibly important film, yet is only the 95th-highest grossing documentary produced since 1982, grossing a mere $1.2 million - unbelievably, this great film lost money; nevertheless, it is timeless, and will be just as great in 2042 as it is in 2015 as it was in 1988. One thing I never knew is that the music is by Philip Glass (see "Koyaanisqatsi"), but I was jolted into noticing the opening theme song, and when Glass's name came on the screen, I just smiled - he really is a terrific composer for the medium. Watch this movie on Amazon Prime ($3.99), and if you don't like it, I'll pay you back. (*) I originally didn't hyphenate crime-re-creation, but it came out as crime-recreation.
  2. I just watched Koyaanisqatsi for the second time. This must-see film is mesmerizing and thought-provoking. With no dialogue or characters, it tells a story through stunning cinematography perfectly paired with an evocative score. Koyaanisqatsi is a Hopi word meaning "unbalanced life." It can be argued that this film is about the effect of technology on the natural world. Time-lapse and slow-motion footage of landscapes and cities throughout the United States are shown, juxtaposed with moving, minimalist music by Philip Glass. Yes, there are contrasts between the natural world and urban life, but the film is so much more. The imagery of the cities, even the slums of St. Louis, are beautifully shot. Watching this film is a transformative experience. It draws you in, transfixes you, and Koyaanisqatsi becomes a personal experience for the viewer. To appreciate this film you need to watch it, uninterrupted, preferably on a larger screen with a decent set of speakers. Don't go on Wikipedia and read a synopsis. There is no point. (After viewing the film, however, I found it interesting to read about how the images were shot.) Watching Koyaanisqatsi brought me to a meditative state. I watched it, on the recommendation of a friend, when my life felt "out of balance." I became lost, captivated by the imagery and the music that accompanies it. It altered my mood dramatically, both times. I thought I might lose interest the second time I watched it, but the experience was richer and more moving than my first viewing.
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