For this week's Doc Talk I'd like to spotlight two highly recommended films involving the South: Ross McElwee's personal ancestry exploration from 2003, Bright Leaves, and Micki Dickoff and Tony Pagano's civil rights film Neshoba: The Price of Freedom, which finally gets a theatrical release this Friday (in NYC; next month it opens in LA).

The reason I revisited McElwee's film is primarily because of the recent death of Oscar-winning screen legend Patricia Neal (Hud), who appears briefly in the doc. But it also ended up fitting in somewhat with Neshoba, because both films deal with a Southern history, both concern events that previously inspired fictionalized Hollywood movie plots (Bright Leaf for the former, Mississippi Burning the latter) and both follow modern stories relative to the historical material.

As for Neshoba, aside from the fact that it opens this weekend, I was intrigued about the film's subject matter due a recent reference to the infamous 1964 murders of James Chaney, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman on the season premiere of Mad Men, which mentioned the tragic case as a subtle way of telling the audience in what year the series was now set.