Tag Archives: documentary

Michael Jordan

An ESPN Sports Classic documentary on the life and times of basketball legend Michael Jordan.

Its a nice short documentary with a lot of sound bytes from a lot of people including his team mates, coaches and the media guys with a lot of videos thrown in for good measure.

It starts with his younger days and goes on to his college playing days for North Carolina, his NBA career with Chicago Bulls with whom he won 6 NBA championships. Then his sudden retirement to play baseball and his return to Chicago Bulls again and then he retires again and comes back again for a third and last time as owner of Washington Wizards who couldn’t resist playing basketball.

Nice documentary on the major star in world of sports.

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The Romantic Life and Tragedy: Robert Schumann

A documentary on the romantic life and times of the German composer Robert Schumann.

Its a two part documentary, on the early life of Robert Schumann when he learnt piano at the age of 5 and started composing at the age of 7. A scholarly kind he also wrote novels and published a music magazine. Robert started studying music with Frederik Weick a piano teacher and fell in love with his young daughter, Clara.

After an injury to his right hand, he concentrated on writing music. The documentary subsequently prevails upon his love affair with Clara and the fighter with her father to secure her hand. His musical career flourished after his marriage and he became an acclaimed composer.

The last part of the documentary deals with his mental illness, his incarceration at a private asylum and his death from that illness. The documentary was a talking one, with few images thrown in and some dialogues muttered in between.

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Brilliant and haunting Netflix documentary on the mass incarceration of black people in the USA since decades, privatization of the prison system, the nexus between corporations and law makers, the corruption in the system, and the deliberate otherisation of black people that has been going on for ages and ages.

It is both haunting and disturbing at the same time, the extent to which racism existed in America and still exists today and the systematic manner in which black and Hispanic and Latino people are put down in their society. When slavery ended with the 13th Amendment to the Constitution (hence the name 13th), it was mandated that nobody be kept as a slave or in detention unless he or she has committed a crime.

And that’s where the industrious police, of course backed up by the administration, started putting thousands and thousands of people of colour in jails for pretty offences which should have been thrown out at the first instance by the magistrate. Then they had this plea bargain system, where you could accept the crime and be put away for a shorter time or go trial and be put away for something like 30 years.

US has this CCA which is a private prison industrial complex with its own set of bureacracy and rules and rules and sponsors and multi million dollar contracts for everything from prison uniforms, to food to health services to sophisticated surveillance system. All to keep more people inside jails.

Very scary and it seems that everybody has just bought into this system until the Black Lives Matter which is now supposedly making a huge difference. India also has got its own racism (multi racism in fact) where people of one or two religion and people of lower caste are frowned up, beaten, killed, put into jail, denied facilities, and everything that blacks and coloured people undergo in the US.

Brilliant documentary this one – it is in the form of comments from important people interspersed with images and videos from the past.

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Style Wars

1984 documentary “Style Wars” on graffiti art, rap songs and break dance. But mostly the theme is about graffiti art.

The film focuses on the 1970s counter culture of graffiti art in New York on the trains and building walls. The focus of the documentary is mostly on train walls. The film does’nt delve into the founding of the graffiti art but mostly on the constant fight between the graffiti artists on the one hand and the establishment on the other.

The establishment in the form of the metro authority who spend considerable sums of monies in cleaning up the trains and who have their million plus passengers who have their own freedom of expression. If graffiti is seen as a freedom of expression then the then Mayor Ed Koch went considerable distance to prevent it including installing barbed wire fences, deploying dogs etc . The graffiti writers on the other hand say that there is no other place for them to display their art.

There emerged from the graffiti artists some big names such as Mr. Seen whose graffiti is depicted here above and some other big names who had a huge fan following. Nowadays the courts are debating whether graffiti artists own the IPR on such graffiti art. Few cases have already been decided by court.

The documentary is a little bit grainy, but it has some excellent live videos and images to go by with the narration being kept to the bare minimum. This documentary won at the Sundance.

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