Director Frank Borzage’s wonderful 1937 History Is Made at Night, newly restored and released on Blu-ray and DVD by the Criterion Collection, defies pigeonholing.
The documentary strikes a remarkably rich vein, covering not only music, fashion and a late-1970s social critique, but also matters of race, class, gender, mental health and spirituality.
In its day, Ingagi raked in the crowds with a promise of weird African animals and “wild” women, and a teasing of bestiality.
The filmmakers use their story to point towards a way to help us navigate through our own polarization; it has something to do with each of us widening our perspective to take in more than just our immediate experience.
Director Rubika Shah ends her film on this high note, but no one watching could conclude that the struggle is over
Feisty, funny, frightening when necessary, Boston’s Frank Gallop classed-up the airwaves.
This is a feminist battle where all participants wear marshmallow boxing gloves.
The documentary has a “why me?” element to it, with a dark comic edge, but it isn’t a pity party.
A fuller accounting of the creative contributions of women to the film industry in its early decades is still fighting for a place in mainstream awareness. The documentary Be Natural is a valuable battering ram in that fight.
“They were pieces of shit when we shot ‘em, but later on they became relics.”