Doc talk

At sea, on stage, in training, at Shea

A scene from Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel’s “Leviathan.”
Cinema Guild
A scene from Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel’s “Leviathan.”

The Sensory Ethnography Laboratory of Harvard really lives up to its title with “Leviathan” (2012) – a documentary about a New Bedford-based fishing trawler on the North Atlantic that depicts its subject with such visceral realism that some have come down with seasickness while watching it.

To achieve this effect directors Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel placed dozens of microphones and cameras all over the vessel and the crew to record the experience from every conceivable point of view. This creates not so much a virtual-reality experience as a kaleidoscopic, cubist canvas. As such it requires active participation from the viewer to figure out what is going on when meaty fish debris sweeps by resembling asteroids seen from a spaceship, or upside-down flights of seagulls become abstract patterns that look like an M.C. Escher engraving, all backed by the gulps, gurgles, and splashes of the David Lynch-like soundtrack mixed by sound designer Ernst Karel.

The filmmakers offer a clue about their intent with the film’s title and opening quote. The latter is from the Book of Job: “Upon earth there is not his like,” it reads in part, referring to Leviathan, “who is made without fear.” As such the title beast is perhaps the embodiment of an all-powerful, inhuman force of nature, like Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. Or perhaps it is the Leviathan described in the 17th-century book of that title by Thomas Hobbes, a metaphor for the vast entity of the state to which all things are obeisant and which devours all things, including the human beings who created it.


“Leviathan” screens at 1 p.m. on July 31 at the Harvard Art Museums, 32 Quincy Street, Menschel Hall, Lower Level. Admission is free and open to the public.

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Ticked off

The pride of its hometown of Providence, the band Deer Tick plays an exuberantly eclectic mix of rock, folk, country, and blues, both covers and original music. Over the years it has evolved from a hard-playing, hard-drinking ensemble into one of the most acclaimed cult bands around. William Miller’s aptly titled documentary “Straight Into a Storm” brings them to the screen as he covers the band’s 10th-anniversary run in New York, interweaving a fan-chosen set list, a live New Year’s Eve performance, and archival footage of the bands’ rough-and-ready origins and development.

“Straight Into the Storm” screens as part of the 2016 Newport Folk Festival weekend on Sunday, July 24, at 7:30 p.m. at the Jane Pickens Theater & Event Center, 49 Touro Street, Newport, R.I. A Q&A with the band’s manager, Zeke Hutchins, and the director follows the screening.


Remember when many scoffed at Michael Moore’s suggestion in “Sicko” (2007) that Americans should seek medical treatment in Cuba, where health care is free? It looks like he might have been on to something.


Many good things have resulted from the recent rapprochement between the United States and Cuba, including the mutually beneficial cooperation between the medical establishments of each country. Kunle Ekunkonye’s documentary “Community Doctors” examines one such instance, in which American medical school students, many from poor or underprivileged backgrounds, participate in Cuba’s ELAM (Latin American School of Medicine) scholarship program where they will join other students from the Caribbean, Asia, and Africa.

Not only is it a good deal for the students but also for the world, as the students pay back their free education by promising to practice in underserved communities around the world. Those who want to follow their desire to help relieve suffering but lack the means to do so can now see their dream fulfilled.

“Community Doctors” can be streamed for free at

Teammates of a different Mookie

Thirty years and three championships later, Red Sox fans can at last regard with equanimity, if not sympathy, the team that crushed their dreams in the 1986 World Series.

The New York Mets at that time were a talented, volatile, and spirited bunch who were no strangers to the coke-and booze-fueled excesses of that period. In particular, two of their biggest stars fell victim to these temptations – had in fact been doing so since high school -- hot-hitting outfielder Daryl Strawberry and fire-balling ace Dwight (“Doc”) Gooden.


Directed by raunch-comedy auteur and mega-Mets fan Judd Apatow (“The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” “Anchorman”) and documentarian Michael Bonfiglio (“You Don’t Know Bo”), “Doc & Daryl” reunites the two former superstars in a Queens cafe (the same one in which Robert De Niro and Ray Liotta meet near the end of “GoodFellas” ). There they reminisce about glory days, bad decisions, tragic weaknesses, and hopes for redemption.

Strawberry, who in 1987 hit 39 home runs and stole 36 bases, making him at the time one of just 10 players to qualify for the 30-30 club, would eventually be suspended three times for substance abuse. Gooden, who was rookie of the year at the age of 19, in 1984, would miss the Mets victory parade in 1986 because he was too wasted on cocaine.

It almost makes you forget Game Six.

“Doc & Darryl” is a “30 for 30” documentary from ESPN that can be seen Sunday, July 24 at 11 a.m. and Tuesday at 1:30 a.m. on ESPN 2.

Peter Keough can be reached at