NOW STREAMING on OVID: the strange attractions of Peter Friedman

Eight Films by Peter Friedman

This week on OVID, they are presenting eight films by Academy and Emmy Award-nominated filmmaker Peter Friedman! 

Friedman’s documentaries exude a boundless curiosity about the relationships we forge with our bodies, objects, animals, and each other. Collected here for the first time on any SVOD platform and made over the course of forty years, these films explore topics including the early days of the AIDS crisis, animal psychics, and the totemic powers of an Elvis impersonator, to name a few. If you have never before encountered Peter Friedman’s work, OVID can’t wait for you to dive in.

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I Talk to Animals
A film by Peter Friedman

Samantha is an “animal therapist and psychic” who has convinced skeptical pet owners, zoo keepers, and racehorse trainers that she really can “talk” to their animals. Here we see her at work counseling racehorses in need of leisure time, “depressed “cats, and negotiating with naughty ants.
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The Life and Times of Life and Times

A film by Peter Friedman and Jean-François Brunet
Why do we age? Do we wear out piece by piece like an old car? Or do our genes determine our lifespan? Scientists are now approaching this complex problem from a variety of angles. This scientific “road movie” combines scientific rigor which a whimsical use of archival metaphors and animation to make an accessible, entertaining film about something which concerns us all.
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Death By Design
A film by Peter Friedman

A guided tour into the invisible world of cells, told through a collage of metaphors. State-of-the-art micro-cinematography is playfully intercut with parallel images from life at the human scale: a hundred lighted violins, imploding buildings, pieces of film on the cutting room floor.
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MANA: Beyond Belief
A film by Peter Friedman
This feature-length essay explores “power objects.” Power objects include paintings by Rembrandt and, to a lesser extent, paintings which are no longer by Rembrandt. They also include people like Elvis Presley and, to a lesser extent, people who imitate Elvis in order to vicariously embody his mana. And they include voodoo priests who dress in the costumes of their long-dead ancestors in order to incarnate their mana. People, all people, all over the world have their own versions of mana, residing in their minds or in the objects themselves.
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Fighting in Southwest Louisiana
A film by Peter Friedman

Danny Cooper, a rural mailman, lives with his lover Ben Royal in a remote town in the deep south. Far from the sophistication and relative tolerance of urban centers, Danny has been openly gay since his teens. 
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Silverlake Life
A film by Peter Friedman

A video diary of life with AIDS. Told with guts and humor by longtime lovers Tom Joslin and Mark Massi, this documentary celebrates the power of love in the face of a devastating illness.
 
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The Devil is in the Detail
A film by Peter Friedman

 A feature-length cinema vérité portrait of one of the world’s greatest stage directors at work, filmed over the course of a year. 
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Nominated for an Academy Award!

Roy Smeck: Wizard of the Strings
A film by Peter Friedman

 
The life and times of the legendary vaudeville performer and recording star Roy Smeck. Includes archival footage of Smeck in the 1920s and 1930s, his farewell performance at the age of 82, and testimonials from Gene Autry and Arthur (“Pennies from Heaven”) Tracy.
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