‘Le Joli Mai’ and ‘Medora’ Top This Week’s Nonfics Home Picks

joli mai dvd

Most people don’t get to see documentaries until they arrive on a home video platform of some kind, whether it’s DVD, Blu-ray, VOD, iTunes, TV, Netflix streaming, etc. So, this may be the most important post of the week for fans of nonfics. Join us every Tuesday for a look at what documentaries and reality programming is recommended by myself and other contributors to the site. As always, if you know of something we missed or should be aware of, drop us an email or a note down below.

Here are our ordered picks for November 26, 2013:

1. Le Joli Mai

[New to DVD, via Icarus Films] — This week’s top pick comes recommended by Nonfics contributor Robert Greene, who says, “it’s amazing.” I’m sure he’s right, and I regret that I haven’t yet had the chance to see the 1963 classic, which got a theatrical re-release earlier this year following a special Cannes Film Festival screening. Directed by Chris Marker (Sans Soleil) with cinematographer Pierre Lhomme, this film essay features on-the-street interviews with people around Paris during the month of May 1962, which marked the first period of peace for the country in decades. 50 years ago, it was named Best First Work at the Venice Film Festival.

2. Medora

[Now on iTunes and Vimeo On Demand] — I apologize for getting to this one late. The film is about a small Indiana town and the high school basketball team that has the dishonor of being the worst in the state. It’s produced by actors Steve Buscemi and Stanley Tucci yet surprisingly hasn’t been talked about much, and even when it hit iTunes/VOD two weeks ago the release managed to slip past me. Better now than never, though, as this is a documentary that has to be seen and really needs the extra mention. In my review for Film School Rejects, I wrote: “Directors Andrew Cohn and Davy Rothbart seem to only use the basketball story as a means to show smalltown America as an underdog against the rest of the world, though not exactly positively. We’ve seen countless movies stressing the poverty and the hopelessness of areas like this, and a lot of them wind up peddling inspiration. Medora is at times quite moving, perhaps even crowd-pleasing, but it can’t really be called uplifting, even when its subjects are at their most triumphant. The endurance of the town and the team is more respectable than rousing.”

Also coming to DVD and Blu-ray in February 2014

3. Is The Man Who Is Tall Happy? An Animated Conversation With Noam Chomsky

[New to iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, SundanceNow and other VOD outlets] — Haven’t we posted enough on this film already? Maybe, but it did hit VOD yesterday and we do love it so we can’t not include it among our picks. Be sure to read Daniel’s review here and my interview with director Michel Gondry here.

Also now in theaters

4. State 194

[Premieres on Pivot this Sunday, December 1 at 9pm] — One of the less-spotlighted among the recent wave of films about Israel and Palestine, Dan Setton’s documentary is more focused on the future than the history of the political conflict by looking at former Palestinian Prime Minster Salam Fayyad’s campaign for statehood recognition by the U.N. Especially recommended if you’ve already seen The Gatekeepers, 5 Broken Cameras and The Law in These Parts.

5. Last Call at the Oasis

[New to Netflix Watch Instantly] — I championed this documentary a bunch after its Toronto premiere two years ago, and I’m disappointed it never became a hit anywhere near the level of fellow Participant Media release Food, Inc. Everyone who drinks water needs to see this movie, and that’s a fact more than just a blurb or a tagline. But more notably, director Jessica Yu (Breathing Lessons) showed how an issue film should be done, entertainingly, beautifully shot, amusing as well as daunting, positive and hopeful.

Also continually airing on Participant’s cable channel, Pivot, and available on DVD, iTunes and streaming via Amazon Instant Video

Also New to DVD [and/or Blu-ray]:

30 for 30

American Meat

Beyonce: Life Is But a Dream

Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me [Also available on Blu-ray]

Bill Cosby: Far From Finished [Also available on Blu-ray]

ESPN 30 for 30 Gift Set Collection Season II — Volume I, with Bonus Disc

Free China: The Courage to Believe

Galapagos With David Attenborough 3D [New to Blu-ray only]

Highest Level: Documentary on the Recording [Also available on Blu-ray]

How Sherlock Changed the World


Inside the American Mob

Micro Monsters With David Attenborough 3D [New to Blu-ray only]

Red Obsession (★★ Nonfics Review)

Stay More: The World of Donald Harington

Tibet: Beyond Fear

Undressing Israel: Gay Men in the Promised Land

Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Also New to Netflix Watch Instantly:

Dirty Business [Stream Now]

Outrage [Stream Now]

Sisterhood of the Traveling Rants [Stream Now]

Also New to iTunes/VOD:


40 Years of One Night Stands [Amazon Instant Video]

AKA Doc Pomus (C+ Film School Rejects review) [Amazon Instant Video]

Always Faithful [iTunes]

The Antarctica Challenge [Amazon Instant Video]

The Carrier (Spout review) [Amazon Instant Video]

Dinner at the No-Gos [Amazon Instant Video]

Inside Man Season 1 [Amazon Instant Video]

Meat Hooked [iTunes]

The Polar Explorer [Amazon Instant Video]

The Typewriter (In the 21st Century) [Amazon Instant Video]

When Ghosts Attack Season 1 [Amazon Instant Video]

Yukon Men Season 3 [Amazon Instant Video]

More Must-See Nonfiction TV:


El Bulli: Cooking in Progress[11/26 on Link TV, 10pm ET]

Chimpanzee [11/27 on Starz Kids & Family, 2:20am ET]

We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists [11/27 on Pivot, 8pm ET]

Catfish [11/28 on MTV, 10am ET]

American Teacher [11/29 on Pivot, 10am ET]

West of Memphis [11/29 on Starz, 9pm ET]

Valentine Road [11/30 on HBO 2, 12pm ET]

One Day in September [11/30 on Jewish Life TV, 5pm ET]

Make Believe [11/30 on Showtime Beyond, 5:25pm ET]

Last Call at the Oasis [12/1 on Pivot, 7am ET]

The Redemption of General Butt Naked [12/1 on Pivot, 11pm ET]

Janis [12/2 on Ovation, 10:30pm ET]

Primary [12/3 on Pivot, 10pm ET]

(Editor in Chief)

Christopher Campbell is the founding editor of Nonfics.