On May 1, Turner Classic Movies is showing Gates of Heaven (1978), the first masterpiece by documentarian Erroll Morris. It’s overtly about a Bay Area pet cemetery, but as Morris interviews the cemetery owners and the pet owners (as well as the guy at the rendering plant), the subjects expose their passions, aspirations and vulnerabilities. And it’s hilarious.
This is an excellent introduction to America’s best documentarian, whose other films include The Thin Blue Line (which freed a wrongly convicted man from Texas’ Death Row) and Standard Operating Procedure (which exposed what was behind the abuses at Abu Ghraib).
Morris’ newest film, Tabloid, will be released on July 15.