Docs rule Friday Night Flicks

Dec 29, 2012
Werner Herzog builds a bridge from the past to the present in “Cave Of Forgotten Dreams.”

Belfast — Many great films present true stories about real people but are overshadowed by big budget Hollywood fare. In January, Friday Night Flicks, Belfast Free Library's free film series, will cast a spotlight on documentaries with four fascinating non-fiction films. All Friday Night Flicks screenings are presented free of charge, beginning at 7 p.m., in the Abbott Room of Belfast Free Library, 106 High St.

In 1994, French scientists discovered the oldest known artwork in the world on the walls of Chauvet Cave. In 2010, director Werner Herzog was given special access to film in these caverns. The result is “Cave Of Forgotten Dreams,” a mesmerizing film that explores not just the caves and their breathtaking images, but also the nature of art itself. “Cave Of Forgotten Dreams” will be shown on Jan. 4.

The Jan. 11 feature will be “Capturing the Friedmans.” When Andrew Jarecki set out to make a documentary about children's party entertainers, he had no idea that he would stumble into learning about one family's terrible history. “Capturing the Friedmans” involves disturbing subject matter and may not be suitable for sensitive viewers.

Fred Leuchter, the subject of Erroll Morris' fascinating character study “Mr. Death, The Rise and Fall of Fred A Leauchter, Jr.,” screened Jan. 18, was an engineer who became a self-styled expert of methods of execution, designing more efficient electric chairs and lethal injection machines. His downfall begins when he becomes immersed in the twisted world of Holocaust denial.

This month’s series will conclude on Jan. 25 with a winner of the Academy Award for Best Documentary, “Man on Wire,” which tells the amazing story of French high wire artist Philippe Petit who, in 1974, strung a wire between the two towers of the World Trade Center and stepped out into the space between the buildings. Director James Marsh has said he made the film so that when people remember the Twin Towers, their memories will include Petit's incredible feat.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401 or

“Capturing the Friedmans” depicts an American family gone awry.
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