Trailer: “General Orders No. 9”

The (appropriately timely) comparisons to Terrence Malick are obvious even without the pull quote from Hammer to Nail‘s Michael Tully or the acknowledgement from /Film’s Russ Fischer (on whose post I saw this trailer). Just look at the award-winning, visually poetic cinematography and listen to the pensive voice-over narration from William Davidson, who sounds like a drawling Emilio Estevez (son of “Badlands” star — but not narrator — Martin Sheen). The film in question is titled “General Orders No. 9,” and it’s the longtime effort of first-time filmmaker Robert Persons. Perhaps he’s inspired by Malick, but I might be more inclined to think about another disciple, David Gordon Green, whose earlier work seems more similarly interested in the rusting decay of the changing Southern American landscape.

The “tone poem” style documentary, which made its way through the festival circuit in ’09-’10, is also being likened to the work of Godfrey Reggio (“Koyaanisqatsi”), but I’d place its kinship even before that with his city symphony predecessors. “General Orders No. 9” isn’t about just one city, though, so let’s call it a South symphony film. It additionally seems like both the perfect companion and the very antithesis of something like “Sherman’s March.” As much as I hate to say it, I kind of understand why the doc currently has an embarrassing 3.4/10 rating at IMDb. It must be really fresh and wonderful.

I literally just marked June 24 on my calendar, because that’s when “General Orders No. 9” opens at Brooklyn’s awesome reRun Gastropub Theater (playing through June 30 only). Join me there for the first showing. You’ll want to after viewing the trailer after the jump.

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Doc News: Brad Pitt; “The King of Kong” Remake; Wim Wenders; Divine

Brad Pitt has allegedly been confirmed as narrator for Terrence Malick’s upcoming IMAX documentary “Voyage of Time,” which will apparently be like “Tree of Life” without all the pesky human drama stuff. (Hopefully Malick can also one day give us a version of “Tree of Life” that’s just the human drama stuff without the ineffectual space-time context. Or Sean Penn, who is hardly part of the human drama stuff because he’s so lacking in anything resembling a human being. Anyway, that’s a discussion for another place.) Up to now, Pitt’s involvement in documentary has surprisingly been fairly slim. He has an executive producer credit on “God Grew Tired of Us,” appears in Spike Lee’s “If God is Willing and da Creek Don’t Rise,” and can currently be heard supplying part of the voice-over narration in Harry Shearer’s “The Big Uneasy.” I actually don’t see any certainty in the claims that Pitt will be attached to this film, since the L.A. Times’ 24 Frames blog only references an old outline that gave us the initial notion in the first place. But it’s probably going to happen anyway.

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News: Terrence Malick, Sarah Palin, Ellen Page and “50 Documentaries to See Before You Die”

– Producer Bill Pohlad revealed to that Terrence Malick is still working on an previously announced IMAX documentary titled “Voyage of Time.” Footage for the film, which Pohlad hints will focus on something like the history of the universe, was shot during the making of Malick’s new drama, “The Tree of Life” (pictured above). No word on when the doc will be finished, and Pohlad notes that with more shooting occurring it could all change into something else entirely, hence one of many reasons for secrecy at this juncture. Also still just a rumor is the possibility that Brad Pitt will narrate. For now you should just go see “The Tree of Life” for an old-school-effects presentation of the origins of Earth. It’s kind of like a documentary.

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