Check out the amazing 2012 documentary film, McCullin directed by David and Jacqui Morris. (You are not invited to the Gala)
This is the best documentary I’ve seen in a very long time. Seems to me that Don McCullin’s seen more than anyone on the planet. He systematically sought out access to the worst part of any war/conflict/disaster he visited, the story behind the above photo is tragic, but not nearly the worst in his legendary career. It’s a very hard watch.
Here in full is Alex Gibney’s fantastic documentary Park Avenue: money, power and the American dream
Salon: In one striking scene, a psychologist has put together an experiment involving an openly rigged game of Monopoly to look at why the ultra rich seem to be so unsympathetic and even hostile to those on the lower rungs of the economic ladder. In this game, one volunteer is arbitrarily assigned the role of the rich player and gets a number of unfair advantages – earning more money, using two dice to go around the board faster – that ensure the player will win. Despite the fact that the game is obviously rigged, rich players start displaying a palpable sense of entitlement, even gobbling up the majority of the strategically placed snacks and coming to believe that they deserve to win, as though their victory is due to innate intelligence and strategy rather than unfair rules that pre-determined the outcome from the start.
Young Aborigines are four times more likely to commit suicide than non-indigenous Australians due to a variety of reasons including a disconnection from traditional culture and land. 101 East visits remote aboriginal communities which have seen a spate of young suicides and looks at some of the desperate attempts by some of the worst affected aboriginal communities to save their young.
Here’s Sam Branson’s (Richard’s son) new film Breaking the Taboo, a new documentary about the war on drugs.
Breaking the Taboo – a new documentary about the war on drugs – premiered last night at Google’s New York headquarters, with stars including Katie Couric, Virgin mogul Richard Branson, Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Natalie Imbruglia in attendance. While the one-hour film is not available in theaters, it’s streaming in its entirety online.
The web-only strategy is part of producer Sam Branson’s plan to make the thoroughly researched anti-prohibition film a viral sensation, potentially inspiring serious drug policy reform. The filmmaker (who is Richard Branson’s son) hopes to reach a wide audience for the all-star project – which includes never-before-seen interviews with former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, narration by Morgan Freeman and a trailer starring Kate Winslet.
The film’s main message is that the substantial losses of life and freedom resulting from the war on drugs, not to mention the amount of money being spent, are just not worth the paltry results: A country that continues to consume and demand drugs from a fractured global market. “It’s about putting the alternatives to the prohibitionist regime on the table,” says Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “Progress has been stymied, because the only options that can be discussed are ones that essentially are grounded in a law enforcement and prohibitionist approach.”
A great little episode of American Masters featuring James Baldwin in San Fran in the 60s.
See and hear author, activist and American Master James Baldwin meet with members of the local African-American community in San Francisco in the early 1960s. “Take This Hammer” shows a Baldwin intent on discovering what he called, “the real situation of Negroes in the city, as opposed to the image San Francisco would like to present.”
Marcel Ophüls’ Hotel Terminus: The Life and Times of Klaus Barbie
A 1988 documentary film directed by Marcel Ophüls about the life of Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie. The film covers Barbie’s relatively innocent childhood, his time with the Gestapo in Lyon (where he apparently excelled at torture), through to the forty years between the end of World War II and his eventual deportation from Bolivia to stand trial for crimes against humanity. The film explores a number of themes, including the nature of evil and the diffusion of responsibility in hierarchical situations.
It’s a lot harder to find but I’d also recommend Kevin MacDonald’s excellent, My Enemy’s Enemy. It focuses on how after the war instead of being tried for war crimes Barbie became a trusted advisor of the US government.
I saw this great little doco a while ago and this Smithsonian article just reminded me of it.
Who was Henrietta Lacks? She was a black tobacco farmer from southern Virginia who got cervical cancer when she was 30. A doctor at Johns Hopkins took a piece of her tumor without telling her and sent it down the hall to scientists there who had been trying to grow tissues in culture for decades without success. No one knows why, but her cells never died.
Why are her cells so important? Henrietta’s cells were the first immortal human cells ever grown in culture. They were essential to developing the polio vaccine. They went up in the first space missions to see what would happen to cells in zero gravity. Many scientific landmarks since then have used her cells, including cloning, gene mapping and in vitro fertilization.
Here’s the excellent The Way of All Flesh by Adam Curtis
Jarvis Cocker narrates a BBC documentary David Bowie - The Story of Ziggy Stardust
David Bowie may be semi-retired from music (an archival photo book he’s been compiling, Bowie: Object, is now reportedly set for October), but having made an indelible mark on music over the past 4 decades, it isn’t hard to imagine why he’d choose to rest on his laurels. Or simply just rest. While his most memorable singles and personas might seem like a foregone conclusion at this stage, the fact is they were the result of relentless persistence — a long trial and error process, as Open Culture points out — that finally paid off in full upon the commercial success of Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust era. Much has been glossed over in the annals of rock history, but there’s value in taking a more nuanced look at the progression toward this once-unlikely moment. Enter The Story of Ziggy Stardust, a recent documentary aired by the BBC, featuring Jarvis Cocker narrating over rare archival material, scenes from D.A. Pennebaker’s 1973 doc Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars and other footage from the vaults. It’s an insightful project, whether one’s familiar with the details or not.