Documentary deluge covers everything from DJ AM to VW Bugs

A rich week of non-fiction filmmaking also tackles climate change, Pakistani jazz, Ukrainian street kids, and a Satanic cult

“Weiner” is the must-see documentary of the week, but it’s certainly not the only worthwhile non-fiction flick to grace Portland screens. In fact, you can’t hardly go a day without some new doc dropping. Check out these factual films:

“The Bug”: You don’t have to be an entomologist to love Damon Ristau’s affectionate tribute to the Volkswagen Bug, which traces the history of “the people’s car” from its suspect origins in Nazi Germany through the iconic, unconventional ad campaigns that made it a hit, to the present day efforts of appreciators (including Ewan McGregor) and restorers–one of whom gets his hands on an actual stunt car from “Herbie Goes Bananas.” If that notion shifts your gears, you’ll probably want to check this one out. (Saturday, June 11, 7 pm, Hollywood Theatre)

The star of "The Bug Movie" in its natural habitat.

The star of “The Bug Movie” in its natural habitat.

“As I Am: The Life and Time$ of DJ AM”: Despite my reputation, I am not incredibly well-versed in the history of house music, so the saga of DJ AM (aka Adam Goldstein) was not familiar to me. This is a pretty typical “Behind the Music”-style portrait of an innovative talent who survived severe drug addiction and a horrific plane crash to become a revolutionary mix-master and a potent advocate for sobriety. But the absence of the film’s subject from any of its contemporary views makes his tragic end feel inevitable. (Sunday, June 12, 7 pm, Hollywood Theatre)

“Time to Choose”: Oscar-winner Charles Ferguson’s previous films (“Inside Job,” “No End in Sight”) have been righteously angry exposés of the 2008 economic crisis and the military debacle in Iraq, respectively. He adopts a more restrained tone in this willfully optimistic look at the challenges of global climate change and the technologies that may yet help humanity reverse its seemingly irreversible course. Narrated by Oscar Isaac. (Wednesday & Thursday, June 15-16, 7:30 pm, OMSI’s Empirical Theater)

“Almost Holy”: A Ukrainian pastor who goes by the evocative moniker of ‘Crocodile’ Gennadiy Mokhnenko uses any means necessary to get drug-addicted kids off the street, including kidnapping them and taking them to his private community/rehab center. This documentary admiringly paints him as a furious vigilante and almost a candidate for canonization. While occasionally skirting the moral complexities of his tactics, it would have been a more interesting film had it probed how much Mokhnenko’s ends justified his means. (Opens Friday, June 10, Regal Fox Tower)

“Sympathy for the Devil”: This is one that wasn’t available for advance screening, and it might be the most fascinating of the week’s lot. Not to be confused with Jean-Luc Godard’s film about The Rolling Stones, it actually profiles a group called The Process Church of the Final Judgment. This cult, originating in 1960s Britain, has been blamed for influencing Charles Manson, Sirhan Sirhan, and the Son of Sam. Now, purportedly, its members speak publicly for the first time about what the hell they were doing. (Saturday, June 11, 9:30 pm, Hollywood Theatre)

“Song of Lahore”: As part of their efforts to reclaim their culture in post-Taliban Pakistan, an orchestra experiments with playing Western jazz tunes. When their version of Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five” goes viral, they end up being invited to London to play with Wynton Marsalis. This feel-good ode to cross-cultural musical collaboration follows their journey. (Wednesday, June 15, 7:30 pm, Hollywood Theatre)

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