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Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project

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Nov 15, 2019

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Synopsis

Marion Stokes was secretly recording television twenty-four hours a day for thirty years. It started in 1979 with the Iranian Hostage Crisis at the dawn of the twenty-four hour news cycle. It ended on December 14, 2012 while the Sandy Hook massacre played on television as Marion passed away. In between, Marion recorded on 70,000 VHS tapes, capturing revolutions, lies, wars, triumphs, catastrophes, bloopers, talk shows, and commercials that tell us who we were, and show how television shaped the world of today. Before fake news Marion was fighting to protect the truth by archiving everything that was said and shown on television. The public didn't know it, but the networks were disposing their archives for decades into the trashcan of history. Remarkably Marion saved it, and now the Internet Archive will digitize her tapes and we'll be able to search them online for free.

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Metacritic

80
May 2, 2019

Wolf’s directorial command when selecting material to showcase and contextualize the anecdotes spun throughout the film further affirms his mission to paint the most compendious picture possible, and he succeeds quite admirably.

Metacritic review by Matthew Roe
Matthew Roe
Film Threat
70
May 1, 2019

This is a small, carefully crafted film that tries hard to pierce the protective armor of a recluse known to be difficult and domineering. In the end, Stokes still remains slightly unknowable, as she’d undoubtedly prefer. Yet the documentary’s deep dive into her extraordinary archives, and the grainy video treasures it unearths, make for fascinating viewing.

Metacritic review by Stephen Whitty
Stephen Whitty
Screen International
80
Apr 26, 2019

[A] fascinatingly oddball story.

Metacritic review by Frank Scheck
Frank Scheck
The Hollywood Reporter