With more than 70 films screening over four days, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival is filled with
choices. And needless to say, figuring out what works to see can sometimes be as difficult as navigating Interstate 40 during rush hour. But we’re here to help. We’ve run down the list of offerings and have come up with a few recommendations. In addition to the screenings listed here, watch fullframefest.org for times when audience favorites will have encore showings on Sunday. Lewis Beale
You want trailblazing athletes? Althea Gibson, a sharecropper’s daughter who grew up in Harlem, became the first black woman to play, and win, at Wimbledon. Once ranked as the world’s top female tennis player, Gibson could not make a living in an era when there was no pro tennis, and eventually moved onto the LPGA, toured with the Harlem Globetrotters and even acted in films. This is the latest work from Durham resident Rex Miller.
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See it: 2:10 p.m. Sunday in Cinema 4, Durham Convention Center, 301 W. Morgan St.
‘Best of Enemies’
There are fireworks galore in this doc about the rancorous 1968 televised debates between liberal Gore Vidal and conservative William F. Buckley Jr., in which they sparred over everything from religion to politics and sex. The verbal jousting culminated with Vidal calling Buckley a “crypto-Nazi,” and Buckleyreferring to Vidal as a “queer” and threatening to clock him. Intellectual cat fights don’t get any better than this.
See it: 7 p.m. Thursday in Cinema 1, Carolina Theatre.
‘Curious Worlds: The Art and Imagination of David Beck’
Chapel Hill filmmaker Olympia Stone’s latest work is about artist and miniature sculptor David Beck, who creates fascinating fantasy pieces, ranging from animals to humans to architectural wonders.
See it: With “Crooked Candy” at 1:30 p.m. Friday in Fletcher Hall, Carolina Theatre, 309 W. Morgan.
‘Listen to Me, Marlon’
That’s Marlon as in Brando, and this film compiles private audio tapes the iconic actor made at home during business meetings, therapy sessions and press interviews. One critic referred to it as “Brando Confidential,” and that sounds plenty juicy.
See it: 10 a.m. Sunday in Cinema 1, Carolina Theatre.
‘The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution’
Former Full Frame honoree Stanley Nelson returns with his newest film, an in-depth look at the radical 1960s-era organization regarded by many members of the black community as heroic and relentlessly hounded by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies. “This is the first time we had black people standing up to white people and getting in their face,” Nelson has said of the group.
See it: 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Fletcher Hall, Carolina Theatre.
Two modern-day vigilante groups fighting Mexican drug cartels. One is a Mexican citizen uprising against the Knights Templar cartel. The other is an American paramilitary organization patrolling the Arizona border. Common enemies, but different styles and approaches.
See it: 4:20 p.m. Saturday in Cinema 3, Durham Convention Center.
‘Love Marriage in Kabul’
Abdul is in love with Fatemeh, the girl next door. But her father wants to marry her off for a large sum of money. So Abdul turns for help to Mahboba Rawi, a mother figure who runs programs supporting orphans like Abdul. In a country where arranged marriages are the norm, can love conquer tradition?
See it: 4:40 p.m. Friday at the Durham Arts Council.
We’re in modern-day Mark Twain territory, as a towboat drifts down the Mississippi headed for New Orleans. On board are a green deckhand, an ex-con trying to go straight and a veteran engineer in no hurry to retire. For 28 straight days, they’re on the water in America’s heartland.
See it: 4:10 p.m. Friday in Cinema 4, Durham Convention Center.
What’s a legendary chef to do when times and tastes have seemingly made his 40-year-old restaurant irrelevant? Georges Perrier’s internationally renowned Philadelphia eatery Le Bec-Fin is in danger of closing, and its proprietor is desperately trying to keep its traditional style of cooking alive. Will he succeed?
See it: 7:20 p.m. Saturday in Cinema 3, Durham Convention Center.
‘Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon’
The history of the irreverent magazine spawned in the 1970s, which morphed into hit movies and influenced “Saturday Night Live.” Expect to see clips featuring everyone from John Belushi to Gilda Radner.
See it: 2 p.m. Sunday in Fletcher Hall, Carolina Theatre.
‘Hot Type: 150 Years of The Nation’
Two-time Oscar winner Barbara Kopple (“Harlan County, U.S.A.” and “American Dream”) hits the festival with a film about The Nation, the oldest continually published weekly magazine in the U.S. The documentary follows the daily life of staffers, as well as reporters in the field.
See it: 10:30 a.m. Sunday in Fletcher Hall, Carolina Theatre.
‘Of Men and War’
At The Pathway Home in Yountville, Calif., the first of its kind therapy center for combat vets with post-traumatic stress disorder, a dozen anger-filled men try to deal with their demons. Their therapist is a Vietnam vet who guides them through the path to recovery.
See it: 7:40 p.m. Saturday at the Durham Arts Council.
What: Full Frame Documentary Film Festival
When: Thursday through April 12
Where: Various venues in Durham, including Carolina Theatre, Durham Arts Council, Durham Convention Center
Cost: Multi-film passes sold out. Individual films, $16. Closing-night film, free.
Info: 919-684-4444 or fullframefest.org