Two Good Docs

GIRL IN THE PICTURE, directed by Skye Borgman, is on Netflix. It’s a true crime doc about an extremely disturbing and effed up case. It’s actually kind of TWINS PEAKS-like in the way it deals with a pure soul in hell. A lot of the praise has been about the way it makes its mystery around a victim, not a perpetrator. The perp here is horrible but clearly uninteresting — just a very damaged and horrible person, not much to learn from.

It’s very well made and the high gloss and the occasional use of “reconstructions” never feels gloating or salacious. It’s tragic, but there are a lot of lovely characters we get to meet.

THE ASSASSINATION AND MRS PAINE, available on Vimeo and Amazon Prime, is a Good documentary also in the sense of being directed by one Max Good, who befriended Marina Oswald’s landlady, a woman who has found herself shoehorned into multiple conspiracy theories on account of her having found Lee Harvey Oswald his job at the Texas School Book Depository. The fatal rifle was stored in her garage. She seems nice.

There are definitely times when she seems to be just undeniably honest in her denials. The rest of the time she seems perfectly credible. She is fairly closely tied to the CIA though: her sister worked for them and she has other connections. But lots of people have ties to the CIA and some don’t even know about it (she says she didn’t know about her sister’s work). William Burroughs knew a hell of a lot of people who worked for the CIA. What do we make of THAT?

There are some good commonsense barriers to a belief in conspiracy here: at the time Oswald got his job, JFK’s route would NOT have taken him past the TSBD building. It was changed later. So we would have to ask who changed it and why? (This week’s may have given us some doubts about the Secret Service.) But I keep coming back to the fact that JFK was assassinated and then his assassin was assassinated. And while we’re told that Jack Ruby did it out of a concern for Jackie Kennedy, here he is on film in the doc saying it was a conspiracy involving powerful people. (Ruby seems pretty incoherent a lot of the time and his defense cited “organic brain damage”). Ruby died soon after with cancer of the entire body, which he claimed had been given to him deliberately. He also said he could say more about the case if he was moved out of Texas.

I will admit — a lot of guns in Texas, a lot of crazy people, a lot of crazy people with guns.


8 Responses to “Two Good Docs”

  1. “William Burroughs knew a hell of a lot of people who worked for the CIA. What do we make of THAT?”
    Perhaps the CIA took the very reasonable view that Burroughs needed to be very carefully watched.

  2. Oswald Did It And He Acted Alone. PERIOD!

  3. One of the spooks in Burroughs orbit was Bryon Gysin, who didn’t seem to be holding him back: Gysin gave him the idea for the cut-up technique and pushed him towards extreme misogyny and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

    Mrs. Paine agrees with you, David E! And she is the most convincing person in the documentary.

  4. Daniel Riccuito Says:

    I like Gysin’s drawings. Never saw the light machine thingy in action.

  5. Daniel Riccuito Says:

    911 was an inside job.

  6. That case can be made… all you need to do is argue that the Bush administration’s apparent negligence about terror threats was deliberate, because they realised any attack could be used to their political advantage. This has the advantage of being neither provable nor disprovable.

    I’d like to try a Dreamachine. I tried rigging one up with a turntable and an anglepoise lamp but could never get the thing to work.

  7. Daniel Riccuito Says:

    The “theory” has been convincingly argued, not on the grounds you insist upon.

  8. Daniel Riccuito Says:

    CALL ME!

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