Arts & Culture » Television

The reel thing



For 18 years, P.O.V. (Point of View) films has been premiering contemporary independent documentaries on PBS. This season, there’s a great range of films not to be missed. Here are the highlights:


June 28 Big Enough, by Jan Krawitz, is a follow-up to her 1982 film Little People, a documentary about youth affected with dwarfism. The director revisits some of her subjects, contrasting footage from the first film with portraits of them today.

July 5 Marshall Curry’s Street Fight follows the practically Shakespearean electoral efforts of Cory Booker, a 32-year-old Rhodes Scholar campaigning against Sharpe James, the incumbent mayor old enough to be his father, in Newark, N.J.

July 26 On home video, Susan Stern profiles the life and death of her father, solar energy pioneer Bob Stern, who, at age 77, discovers he is gravely ill and decides to take his own life. The Self-Made Man is about the instinctive struggle to fight against a loved one who wants his right to die.

Aug. 9 In late summer of 1972, the Stax recording label staged a concert in Los Angeles featuring everyone who was anyone in the world of gospel, soul, funk and R&B. The original Wattstax (1973) has commentary by Richard Pryor and includes live performance footage of the Staple Singers. This updated version also includes Isaac Hayes performing “Theme from Shaft” and “Soulsville” — not included in the original film.

Aug. 16 Hardwood is Hubert Davis’ intimate autobiographical film about his life as the son of former Harlem Globetrotter Mel Davis. Through archival footage, home video and present-day interviews, the director’s father recounts falling in love with a white woman, Davis’ mother, and the family feuds spurred by racism.

Sept. 13 In Omar & Pete, director Tod Lending profiles two aging ex-cons from Baltimore who are longtime best friends. One finds peace through helping others and the other struggles with fear of life on the outside in this moving documentary.


P.O.V films air Tuesday nights at 10 p.m. on WTVS, local Channel 56. Visit for more info.

Rebecca Mazzei is the arts editor of Metro Times. Send comments to


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