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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

CAROL CHANNING: LARGER THAN LIFE

By D.E.Levine


A TribeByca Film Festival Selection

Producer/director Dori Bernstein has done it again - choosing a fascinating subject and then doing a brilliant documentary.

At 91, Channing permits an in-depth look at her life and talks candidly about her having discovered her love for the stage when she first stepped onto one at age 7.  Never troubled by stage jitters, she considers center stage to be "the safest place on the face of the earth."

Having originated memorable roles on Broadway, like that of Dolly Levy in "Hello Dolly", she is forever linked to those roles although she has gone on to play other memorable roles both on stage and in film.

Raised as a Christian Scientist in San Francisco, after attending Bennington College, Channing became a star as Lorelei in 1949 in "Gentleman Prefer Blondes."

Appearing in the film with her is her fourth husband Harry Kullijan, a childhood friend with whom she reconnected after a 70-year hiatus, following an unhappy 42-year marriage to publicist and manager Charles Lowe.

A host of well-known actors, journalists, composers, designers and other arts-related individuals pay homage to Channing in this amazing documentary.

Thoroughly enjoyable throughout, we have rare insight into the life of Carol Channing, who still performs on request and is actively involved in a campaign to get the arts back into schools

Friday, April 20, 2012

THE BANG BANG CLUB

By D.E.Levine


A Tribeca Film Festival Selection

 Based on the true story of a quartet of combat photographers who documented the South African civil war in the 1990s that pit Naleson Mandela and his African National Congress against the existing government and the Zulu-based Inkatha Freedom Party.


The four photographers - Greg Marinovich, Joao Silva, Kevin Carter and Ken Oosterbroek - were bonded by their desire to tell the truth and the fast friendship what formed as they continually risked their lives to get photos.

Their photos told the truth about the brutality and violence associated with the first free elections in post Apartheid South Africa.  During this time the four did what was probably their best work, including two winning Pulitzer Prizes.

But the life and the sacrifices took a heavy toll, including some actual deaths.  Their story was recounted in a book of the same name written by Marinovich and Silva.  The film,written and directed by Steven Silver, an award winning writer/director, explores the moral questions as well as the thrill and danger of exposing the truth.