Staff Pick: Columbus Documentary Week

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From the March 27, 2014 edition

It feels like it was just Documentary Week at the Gateway Film Center — what feels like six months of winter will do that — but the biannual event returns this week. Hey, I’m not complaining. I love documentaries.

The only downside of the week at the Gateway is a veritable overload of choices for documentary lovers, meaning many of the docs have limited screenings. (As they say, check your local listings.) Here are some highlights I’m looking forward to.

The rock doc about The National, “Mistaken for Strangers, is being carried to Ohio (possibly in a swarm of bees), and the film has received raves from sources as varied as Michael Moore and Pitchfork. Noted for its wry, self-deprecating humor, it follows Tom Berninger, brother of National lead singer Matt Berninger, as he joins the band on tour as a roadie.

“The Human Scale” is a timely look at large-scale city planning — 50 percent of the world population lives in urban areas, a number projected to hit 80 percent by 2050. Presented in conjunction with ULI Columbus, The Center for Architecture and Design, and Ohio State’s Knowlton School of Architecture, the screening at 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 27, will be followed by a panel discussion on the topic.

One of the more bizarre entries is “The Final Member,” a doc about the Icelandic Phallological Museum, aka the world’s only penis museum, which exhibits the male genitals of every species of mammal except one. The film follows the two (two!) men who have bequeathed their junk to the museum. Before the March 27 screening, Columbus comics will regale the audience with their best dick jokes.

For those who like comics but can do without the dicks, Columbus funnywomen Sommer Sterud, Laura Sanders, and Nickey Winkelman will introduce Friday’s screening of “Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me,” a biodoc about the foul-mouthed 87-year-old Broadway legend (whom you may also know as Alec Baldwin’s mom on “30 Rock”).

With a total of 13 docs screening this week, head to gatewayfilmcenter.com to find the one that’s right for you. Viva Columbus Documentary Week(s)!