With the exception of Barbershop Punk, and possibly My Perestroika, we’ve got a pretty dark set of films on the docket today. There’s 20-something suicide, death in Vietnam, sketchy tourists in Laos, and more conflict in Palestine and Israel.
When Comcast blocked Robb Topolski‘s ability to share music fines even when they were in the public domain, he fought back. The barbershop music aficionado helped raise the issue of net neutrality (the notion that Internet service providers shouldn’t be able to restrict access based on types of traffic) to national prominence, thereby embodying the ideals of punk. Jonathan L. Fischer is high on the film, writing, “As a David and Goliath tale in which a pudgy barbershop singer (with, OK, the help of lawyers, academics, and the FCC) whups Comcast? Awesome.”
At 4:30 p.m.; also on Friday, June 25, at 8:30 p.m. Both screenings at AFI Silver Theater 2.
In recent years, Laos has loosened its restrictions on tourism and now allows Westerners to stay long than a week. Malcom Murray documents those visitors, many of whom come for the cheap sex. Benjamin R. Freed calls the film “insufferable,” filled with people you don’t want to meet and with “half-speed, painfully saturated scenes of street life.”
After experiencing professional disappointment and heartache, photographer Francesca Woodman killed herself at 22. Nearly 30 years later her family is still grappling with her death and pondering their role. Her parents may be grieving, but they’re not necessarily likable: Accomplished artists in their own right, they continue to express criticism and jealousy about Francesca’s work, and her father calls suicide the “psychic risk in being an artist.”
At 5:15 p.m. at the Discovery HD Theater; also on Saturday, June 26, at 8:30 p.m. at AFI Silver Theater 3.
Classmates Borya, Lyuba, Ruslan, Olga, and Andrei—now 40 years old— were among the first generation of Russians to begin their careers in a capitalist society. Using contemporary interviews as well as footage from the ’70s and ’80s, this film examines the classmates’ Soviet childhoods and their present-day lives.
At 6:30 p.m. at AFI Silver Theater 3; also on Saturday, June 26, at 1:30 p.m. at AFI Silver Theater 2.
When Israel constructed a wall through Palestinian town of Budrus, one man, Ayed, led a peaceful resistance. This film documents both sides struggles—the Palestinians’ desire to protect their cherished trees, and the Israelis’ desire for increased security.
At 7:15 p.m.; also on Saturday, June 26, at 4 p.m. Both screenings at AFI Silver Theater 2.
Vietnam War soldier McKinley Nolan deserted the U.S. in 1967 and joined the Viet Cong, never to see his family again. His brother Michael, back in Texas, has been searching for him ever since. Director Henry Corra, takes him back to Vietnam, interspersing classic war footage with that of the search. Unbeknownst to Michael, but not Corra, McKinley is dead. “It’s certainly a cruel trick,” writes Jeff Winkler.
At 9:30 p.m. at AFI Silver Theater 2; also on Saturday, June 26, at 5 p.m. at AFI Silver Theater 1.