Lonely wives in Baltimore

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Lonely wives in Baltimore

Sometimes film festivals can be a little daunting. So many films, often overlapping. Be sure to check out their website for the complete schedule and how best to fest. On top of being that sickly color, everything is coated in a claymation-like substance. There is no food or water. It becomes menacing. In the morning, Preble wakes up and logs his dream into an automated system.

Turns out, this is a not-so-distant future where dreams are recorded, stored, and audited. There are thousands of hours of tape. Horror film tropes being as they are, we suspect that the cheerful, chatty, slightly daffy Arabella might secretly be dangerous. Baltimore-based documentarian Theo Anthony is part sociologist, part poet, part philosopher—a combination which in some fascinating and provocative films.

But it was equally about human nature, how we conform and adapt to our environments, and how, well, rat-like we all really are. His second documentary, All Light, Everywherewhich features another hypnotic and spacy soundtrack by local maestro Dan Deacon, is about the dangers of our surveillance state.

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Axon makes body cameras that are used by the police as well as tasers, which is remarkable—but less so when the narrator explains that the first movie camera operated a bit like an automatic rifle, with a rotating chamber that clicked pictures. The metaphor may be thick, but it also bears the advantage of being true. Then the tour le to an atrium of sorts, with blackened windows. Anthony also takes us inside a police training class where a group of cops are learning to use the body camera.

The class is taught from the perspective that body cameras protect police officers, not citizens. Suspects lie about cops, the instructor explains, but the body camera can exonerate them. But, of course, what the body cam sees is not truth, Anthony reminds us. At one point, the film explains that cops are actually allowed to view the body camera footage before coming up with their official of what happened.

One of the most fascinating sequences takes places inside a community town hall in West Baltimore. Ross McNutt, the owner of Persistent Surveillance System hey, points for truth in advertisingis trying to sell the notion of his surveillance planes to the neighborhood. McNutt looks briefly chagrined—no, the footage is strictly to be seen by law enforcement, he admits.

Again and again, the documentary has us questioning what we see and what we think we see—the very notion of a shared truth. Mass surveillance. Deep fake photography that can literally trick the eye. Weapons created by the same companies that make cameras. The film is a portrait of an extraordinary Baltimore family: Nikki and Elise and their adopted daughter Sansa. Oftentimes a documentary takes place after the fact, giving both the audience and the main players a chance to process the events and reflect on the big picture. It just kind of plunks into the story in medias resas it were—making it all the more compelling.

Sansa, a bundle of energy and charm, has just finished her last treatment for leukemia and is starting kindergarten for the first time. Her parents worry about her illness returning, and, of course, they worry about how she will fit in at school. My only issue with the film?

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I wish it were a little longer! This slickly made local documentary short, directed by Jason Gray and Katie Martin and edited by Charles Cohen, takes us into the world of ball culture.

Lonely wives in Baltimore

Today, ball is, if not quite mainstream, much more understood. They talk about how, back in the day, they had to sneak out of the house and put on their drag in alleys. Now they can do it at home. The documentary short revolves around the Peabody Ball—held at, yes, the Peabody Library. As the voguers visit the library for a walkthrough, they are wide-eyed. This is the ultimate stamp of mainstream approval for the ballers, who have had to move from one basement on The Block to the next to keep the show going. They also talk about the thrill of living out their fantasies of fame in this insular world.

Outside, they sometimes struggle with a lack of money or place to live. To get you started, here are reviews of four wonderful, locally-made films. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it.

Lonely wives in Baltimore

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