Thursday, August 15, 2013

My Must See Documentaries Part II

Premise: “There is so much beautiful humanity on display in this documentary about modern-day Uganda and the push by some to criminalize homosexuality to the point of executing gay men and women. Enduring such ugly discrimination, the Ugandan gays in this film are vibrant, soulful, beautiful people and offer sufficient counterpoint to the wicked justifications of their enemies simply by existing. Eye-opening does not begin to describe it, and as events unfold, it becomes one of the most emotionally intense experiences of the year.” Regardless of your viewpoints this is one to see.  

Venus Vs. (2013)  

Premise: This documentary is a part of ESPN’s Nine for IX film series. Nine for IX is a series of nine documentaries about women in sports by female filmmakers. Inspired by the 40th anniversary of Title IX, Nine for IX will give the chance to highlight the work of women, by women. Venus Vs. tells a story the US press largely ignored, the story of Venus Williams fight with Wimbledon for unequal treatment of female competitors. She took them to task and in 2007 won, now Wimbledon awards equal pay to all competitors, in all rounds. Well done Venus!

Premise: “A racially-charged criminal trial and a heart-rending love story converge in this documentary about Richard and Mildred Loving, set during the turbulent Civil Rights era. Long Way Home: The Loving Story is a story of love and the struggle for dignity set against a backdrop of historic anti-miscegenation sentiments in the U.S. The Lovings, an interracial couple, fell in love and married at a critical time in American history, and, because of a confluence of social and political turmoil our reluctant heroes bring about change where previously no one else could. They are paired with two young and ambitious lawyers who are driven to pave the way for Civil Rights and social justice through an historic Supreme Court ruling, changing the country's story forever.”

Under African Skies (2012)  

Premise: Filmed by BBC Imagine Paul Simon returns to South Africa to explore the journey of his Graceland album, including the political backlash he received for allegedly breaking the UN cultural boycott of South Africa designed to end the Apartheid regime. Another film I can watch over and over again.

These last two suggestions are not documentaries per say but they are excellent choices if you are interested in geography, history and politics. 

Premise: Simon Reeve travels around the edge of the beautiful Indian Ocean. The journey starts in South Africa and travels around the coast of the Indian Ocean, heading up the east coast of Africa, around India and back down the western coast of Indonesia to southwest Australia. The adventure takes Simon to 16 countries, as he confronts the front line of the conflict in Mogadishu. Somalia, one the most dangerous places on the planet, to the Maldives, Mauritius and the Seychelles. Simon travels by boat, car, train and plane. He encounters pirates, dives with sharks, patrols with Dutch Special Forces, goes underwater spear-fishing, dines in an underwater restaurant, stumbles into a seedy drug-den, visits a 5-star seaside palace housing thousands of refugees, meets a Yorkshireman on his Seychelles island paradise, and has close encounters with the amazing wildlife of the Indian Ocean, including lemurs, penguins, dolphins, elephants and manta rays. 

I enjoyed this series. After a while you feel like you are traveling with Simon. He shares his enthusiasm, humor and curiosity while exploring parts of the world few outsiders get to see.The BBC film-crew captured stunning images around the ocean from land, sea and air. The videographers did an amazing job with the landscapes they are simply beautiful. The only thing it is that we are not seeing these places through the local perspective as Simon is judging them based on his lens.

BBC Lost Kingdoms of Africa Series 1 (2010) 
In this series British art historian Dr. Gus Casely-Hayford explores the pre-colonial history of some of Africa's most important kingdoms. The Lost Kingdoms of Africa was shown in BBC Four's Wonderful Africa season, a wide ranging season of films that looked at the arts and culture, life and landscape of Africa in advance of the 2010 World Cup. 

Series 2 (2012) 
Part 2 was a carryover from the first series and explored more areas.

I hope everyone enjoyed these posts. Click here to see more Documentary suggestions for 2013. Happy Viewing!

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