William Kunstler & Agnès Varda on POV


This Tuesday and next, the PBS doc show POV is broadcasting two great documentaries that I highly recommend.

Tomorrow at 1o pm (check local listings; your date and time may differ) check out William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe. Kunstler made his name as a radical civil-rights and first-amendment attorney in the 60s — most famously, he defended draft protesters, the prisoners who rebelled at Attica State Prison, and AIM at Wounded Knee — but by the late 70s he rarely represented clients with self-evidently noble causes, instead taking the cases of accused rapists, murderers, terrorists and mobsters. The documentary is about the man, but it’s also the story of his family: it was written and directed by Kunstler’s daughters, Emily and Sarah Kunstler, who remember their father with alternating tones of pride and shame. It’s a really fascinating doc.

Then next Tuesday, June 29th at 10pm, you’ll have a chance to see Agnès Varda’s very fine documentary from last year, the Beaches of Agnès. I probably don’t need to say much about this one — Varda remembers her life, with her characteristic blend of humor, pathos, and cinematic inventiveness — and it was one of the best docs I saw last year.

Jeremy Hatch is a writer, musician, and professional bookseller leading a cheerful, aimless life in San Francisco. He is the Junior Literary Editor of the Rumpus and has a blog which he updates once in a while. More from this author →