Docs In Theaters: ‘The Last of the Unjust,’ ‘Afternoon of a Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq’ and ‘Kids For Cash’


Nonfics is not able to review every documentary and nonfiction film released in the U.S. That’s why Docs In Theaters is here to provide at least a guide to all the new releases, without critical thoughts. Where available, we will link to our own review of the film or a review at our sister site, Film School Rejects.

Afternoon of a Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq

Written and directed by Nancy Buirski (The Loving Story)

Produced by Buirski, Ric Burns (New York: A Documentary Film), Paola Freccero (Red Diaper Baby), Bonnie Lafave (Death and the Civil War) and Alysa Nahmias (Unfinished Spaces)

Featuring the voices of Michael Stuhlbarg and Marianne Bower as the voices of Jerome Robbins and Tanaquil Le Clercq, respectively.

Official Synopsis: Of the great ballerinas, Tanaquil Le Clercq may have been the most transcendent. She mesmerized viewers and choreographers alike — her elongated, race-horse physique became the new prototype for the great George Balanchine. The muse to both Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, they loved her as a dancer and a woman. Balanchine married her and Robbins created his famous Afternoon of a Faun for Tanny. She was the foremost dancer of her day until it suddenly all stopped. At age 27, Tanny was struck down by polio and paralyzed. She never danced again. [Kino Lorber]

Nonfics Rating: ★★★★ [Review by Daniel Walber]

Also check out Daniel’s interview with Buirski

Now playing at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center in New York City and at the Boedecker Theater in the Dairy Center for the Arts in Boulder, Colorado.

For details on current and upcoming theatrical openings, check the Screenings page on the film’s website.

Kids For Cash

Directed and produced by Robert May (executive producer of The Fog of War and Stevie)

Official Synopsis: Kids For Cash is a riveting look behind the notorious scandal that rocked the nation when it first came to light in 2009. Beginning in the wake of the shootings at Columbine, a small town in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, elected a charismatic judge who was hell-bent on keeping kids in line. Under his reign, over 3,000 children were ripped from their families and imprisoned for years for crimes as petty as creating a fake MySpace page. When one parent dared to question this harsh brand of justice, it was revealed that the judge had received millions of dollars in payments from the privately-owned juvenile detention centers where the kids — most of them only in their early teens — were incarcerated. Exposing the hidden scandal behind the headlines, Kids for Cash unfolds like a real-life thriller. Charting the previously untold stories of the masterminds at the center of the scandal, the film reveals a shocking American secret told from the perspectives of the villains, the victims and the unsung heroes who helped uncover the scandal. In a major dramatic coup, the film features extensive, exclusive access to the judges behind the scheme. Now serving a 28 year sentence in federal prison, the former juvenile court judge at the heart of the scandal shares his ulterior motives, revealing that his attorneys never knew about his interviews for this film. [SenArt Films]

Nonfics Rating: ★★★★ [Review by Christopher Campbell]

Now playing in Philadelphia, Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

For details on current and upcoming theatrical openings, check the See The Film page on the doc’s website.

The Last of the Unjust

Written and directed by Claude Lanzmann (Shoah)

Edited by Chantal Hymans (Love Songs; Ma Mere)

Featuring Benjamin Murmelstein

Official Synopsis: 1975. In Rome, Claude Lanzmann filmed a series of interviews with Benjamin Murmelstein, the last President of the Jewish Council in the Theresienstadt ghetto in Czechoslovakia, the only “Elder of the Jews” not to have been killed during the war. A rabbi in Vienna, following the annexation of Austria by Germany in 1938, Murmelstein fought bitterly with Adolf Eichmann, week after week for seven years, managing to help around 121,000 Jews leave the country, and preventing the liquidation of the ghetto. 2012. Claude Lanzmann, at 87 — without masking anything of the passage of time on men, but showing the incredible permanence of the locations involved — exhumes these interviews shot in Rome, returning to Theresienstadt, the town “given to the Jews by Hitler”, a so-called model ghetto, but a ghetto of deceit chosen by Adolf Eichmann to dupe the world. We discover the extraordinary personality of Benjamin Murmelstein: a man blessed with a dazzling intelligence and a true courage, which, along with an unrivaled memory, makes him a wonderfully wry, sardonic and authentic storyteller. Through these three periods, from Nisko in Poland to Theresienstadt, and from Vienna to Rome, the film provides an unprecedented insight into the genesis of the Final Solution. It reveals the true face of Eichmann, and exposes without artifice the savage contradictions of the Jewish Councils. [Cohen Media Group]

Nonfics Rating: ★★★★ [Review by Daniel Walber]

Now playing at New York City, Los Angeles and Miami, Boca Raton and West Palm Beach, Florida.

For details on current and upcoming theatrical openings, check the Opening Playdaes page on the Cohen Media Group website.

(Editor in Chief)

Christopher Campbell is the founding editor of Nonfics.