The Church of Scientology may be mulling whether to cancel its HBO subscription. The pay cable network debuts the controversial new documentary "Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief" this Sunday (March 29) at 8pm. The film is contoversial-- well, because anything associated with Scientology is controversial. Rest assured, it does not paint a flattering portrait of the church, founder L. Ron Hubbard or current Scientology leader David Miscavige.
"Going Clear" is the latest film from Academy Award-winning director Alex Gibney (or does that honor belong to Gibney's "Steve Jobs: Man in the Machine," which just premiered at SXSW? He's extraordinarily prolific). It's based on the book of the same title by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Lawrence Wright, whose works include "The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11" and the recently-published "Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David."
In the midst of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, Showtime debuts a new documentary on legendary coach Dean Smith, who won two national championships at the University of North Carolina. Sadly for Tar Heels fans, the team lost Thursday night to number one seed Wisconsin in a close contest, but this documentary may offer some solace. Smith earned 879 victories over the course of his coaching career, capped by titles in 1982 and 1993. Watch a promo for the documentary here.
How do you survive in the most dehumanizing conditions possible -- a place where your very identity marks you for death? The answer for a number of prisoners held in Nazi concentration camps was to somehow create art in the midst of the horror that was the Holocaust. The new documentary "Because I Was a Painter," from director Christophe Cognet, explores drawings and paintings made surreptitiously by inmates in the death camps. The film opens April 24th at Lincoln Plaza in New York.
Click here to watch the trailer
Publicist Sasha Berman provided additional information about the film: "In 1945, when the Allies liberated the concentration camps, they discovered thousands of secretly created artworks. These drawings, hidden from the Nazis, offer an unparalleled understanding of life in the camps. Featuring interviews with surviving artists, curators, as well as recently uncovered evidence, this fascinating documentary considers the ability of art to capture, reflect and survive under unimaginable conditions.
BECAUSE I WAS A PAINTER explores a wide range of perspectives, from an artist who grapples with finding beauty in paintings of corpses to Treblinka survivor Samuel Willenberg who believes that the artworks can be nothing but inherently devoid of beauty. In addition to works intended as art, the film contemplates the role of alternative relics such as portraits of Romani victims killed by infamous Nazi physician Josef Mengele and paintings that were recreated years later because originals were lost or destroyed."
The Academy Award-nominated documentary "The Salt of the Earth" reaches U.S. theaters Friday, March 27. The film about the life and work of photographer Sebastian Salgado, who has created visually stunning images of human suffering, is co-directed by Salgado's son, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado and acclaimed filmmaker Wim Wenders.
Read the New York Times Q&A with Salgado here. The New York Times' A.O. Scott reviewed the film in December 2014.