This in-depth documentary looks into the mysterious life of Catcher in the Rye author J.D. Salinger with interviews from some of the artists his work has influenced, from Gore Vidal, Judd Apatow, Martin Sheen, Tom Wolfe, Edward Norton, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and many more. See an exclusive clip here.
Often learning about the artist behind a given work can give audiences a new, possibly deeper, appreciation for the art, be it a book, photograph or movie. In the case of the docs below, the creator is as fascinating as their creations. Learning about both feels rich and rewarding, and is made all the sweeter by docs that are works of art on their own.
Hey, Boo: Harper Lee & To Kill a Mockingbird (2010) The Pulitzer Prize-winning Southern Gothic novel To Kill a Mockingbird has been a great influence on American culture since its release in 1960. While school children from generation after generation can recount the book’s incredible story of Scout and her father Atticus Finch, far less could tell you about the life of author Harper Lee. Director Mary McDonagh Murphy explores Harper’s history and the continued relevance of her work through interviews with James Patterson, Anna Quindlen, and Tom Brokaw.
Marwencol (2010) This fascinating documentary is a character study about Mark Hogancamp, an American photographer whose art was born from a need for therapy, both mental and physical. Documentarian Jeff Malmberg reveals Hogancamp’s art—photos of carefully choreographed dolls who inhabit the titular model town he has built in his back yard—as well as who Hogancamp himself is with a tender and exhilarating approach. A man who nearly died from a brutal assault, Hogancamp rose from the ashes with no memory of his life before, but a burning need to create art and heal himself through it. I cannot recommend this title enough.
The Woodmans (2010) American photographer Francesca Woodman has caused stir with her black and white photographs of herself and female models, many of which dealt in nudity and sexuality. But when her work failed to catch on, Woodman fell into a depression and killed herself by jumping off a building in 1981. In this documentary, her painter father, noted ceramicist mother, and videographer brother Charlie look back on her life and work. C. Scott Willis directs.