Cinema: Real People in a Reel Peephole

Three documentaries provoke giggles, anger, nostalgia

Television would seem to have devoured the documentary film whole: in 90- second bites on the nightly news, in the lapel-grabbing journalism of 60 Minutes, even in the nature studies that now stud the pbs schedule. So why put nonfiction on the big screen? Because there are stories whose subjects, and filmmakers whose points of view, demand the isolation and intensity of the movie-house experience. One such story is The Times of Harvey Milk, winner of this year's Oscar for Best Documentary Feature. Its plot--all-American guy shoots the mayor of San Francisco and a gay-activist supervisor, then goes to trial pleading...

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