Netflix Documentary Recommendations

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]When I subscribed to Netflix, I thought I would be enjoying the series and I don’t have to be happy with a so and so print from Burma Bazaar or spyware distributing streaming sites. Of Course, I was blown away by the quality of streaming. But when I look at the content I had seen thus far in two months, I am surprised that I watched more documentaries than anything else. Here is a list of documentaries or docudramas as they call it, which I enjoyed. Perhaps you might like it too.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

Abstract – The art of Design

Anybody who has something to deal with marketing in any firm will know the importance of graphic designers. And mostly they will remember what pain in the neck they are. Abstract – The art of design is a series of interview with artists, like photographers, interior designers, architects, shoe designers and car design specialists. The series was too good. I didn’t have any expectation so I was pleasantly surprised. My only gripe was the first episode was so tastefully done and set the tone for the rest of the episodes. But from then, it was mostly a sit-down interview of the designer or his colleagues. And all the designers who succeeded had one thing in common. They didn’t go abstract for the sake of it. They wanted to tell a story, they wanted their design to be practically useful and they always took the feedback from the people who consume their art. A brilliantly made documentary about design and what goes on in a designer’s mind when they come up with something. The most moving episode for me is the photographer Platon Antoniou. I was already a big fan of his photographs. And to know that he was dyslexic and that influenced his compositions was like, “yes it all makes sense now” moment for me. And since he is dyslexic, he explains his inspirations, his workflow very clearly than the rest of the people who were interviewed. The episode had breathtaking artwork, a lot of heart and amazing make.[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYaq2sWTWAA” align=”center”][/vc_column][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Among the Believers

The first thing I noticed about the documentary was “Wow. Pakistan is so beautiful”. The documentary is about Abdul Aziz, who runs a madrassa network called Red Mosque across Pakistan. Red Mosque provides students with free food, accommodation, and Religious studies. The trouble is, they are not taught anything else other than religion and the religious texts.  Abdul Aziz’s father was a more resolute extremist who had pledged support to Osama Bin Laden. Abdul Aziz himself had fought frontline in Afghanistan, against Soviet. Abdul Aziz’s father was shot at his own mosque. Abdul Aziz’s son was killed in the siege laid down by Pakistan military, forcing the occupants of Red Mosque to fight back. Abdul Aziz tried to escape the siege wearing a burqa. It may remind you of certain someone.  What shocks you in the documentary is the systematic approach of Red Mosque to set shop in the rural part of Pakistan, brainwashing the parents to send their wads to Madarasas. Just after two months, we see kids grow in something else who are hardened. There is a nuclear physicist Pervez Hoodbhoy, who calls for state control. The fate of the unassuming citizens who are caught in crossfire between regular schools and Madarasas and their infighting is brought out very well. The documentary left me heavy-hearted but at the same time, I understood why people hate us. It is not something they rationally do. They are taught to hate and frankly, hate is a much strong emotion than love.[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSklZY_VCIM” align=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

Freeway: Crack in the system

Let me tell you a story. As a country, you are trying to coup another country and supply arms and money to the fringe groups also dubbed as “Freedom Fighters”. But you don’t have enough money to do that. To fund this campaign of yours, you bring in cocaine from South American companies, sell them in your country and take that money to help the “Freedom Fighters”. Sounds much like a movie or American series right? But it is not. This is what American did in the 1980s. Freeway deals with the rise, fall, and redemption of drug dealer/hustler Freeway Rick Ross. At one point of the documentary, Rick Ross says “I just wanted to be rich, man. Isn’t this what everybody in America trying to do?” When the drug consumption goes out of hand, the government sets up War on Drugs which gives way to cops stealing drug money, because there is no books or accounts and they start arresting primarily black people for dealing and using drugs. The system is messed up on so many levels and unsuspecting, unemployed youths in the black neighborhoods were pulled into the mess. We learn from the documentary that how a journalist who blew the whistle was hounded to killing himself, the black youths found redemption within the black community, and by the people who were former dealers and hustlers. It is a dark documentary where the system wrongs Rick Ross again and again but admirably, the former drug dealer, instead of going to the old path, reinvents himself to do things differently.[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AE4JQkRuQlM” align=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

Get me Roger Stone:

Who knew former United States President Richard Nixon’s election campaign was “Make America Great Again.” Nixon era is known for the surveillance they had put, bad press and very bold statements.  And the similarities don’t end there. Roger Stone worked in both the campaigns as a strategist.

Dubbed as everything evil in American Politics, Roger Stone is so dirty that you cannot stop loving him. He may be a chief strategist for Trump, even persuaded the mogul to come into mainstream politics, but Roger Stone keeps his personal life different. He is a great supporter of LGBTQ community. He doesn’t care when he takes the pride processions even though he is booed by the crowd for being in Trump’s team. He quits the campaign when the recording of Donald Trump degrading women comes out. But still, he is still an architect of all the outrage leading up to the Presidential election. There are few one-liners he gives out during the interview like “It is better to be infamous than never to be famous at all” and “One Man’s dirty trick is the other man’s political action”. My favorite one is this. “I understand fame. There are four stages of fame. 1) Who is Roger Stone 2) Get me Roger Stone. 3) Get me someone like Roger Stone 4) Who is Roger Stone?”

If you are looking to see how to manipulate information and spread misinformation, this is a must watch. The documentary ends with a question to Roger Stone. “Do you know that lot of people hate you?” and he answers “I revel in your hatred. You wouldn’t hate me so much if I weren’t effective.” And he gets into his limo and smoothly travels to Trump Towers.[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IPyv4KgTAA”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

Icarus:

This is one documentary which made me proud of our athletes. They may not have won so much of medals in big games. They might not have even qualified for few track events. But when they come back to their normal life, the maximum we see as failures in their physical change is obesity. Most of the people are fit enough to return to coaching. Can the same be said about the athletes who won a lot of medals? Icarus starts off after the Lance Armstrong scandal. The director of the documentary tries to film how easy it is to bypass the doping test, a rigorous one which is put in place by WADA (World Anti-Doping Association). He finds help with a lab director which was approved by WADA and was responsible for all tests during Sochi Winter Olympics. The twists and turns in the documentary put any thriller movies, novels or series to shame. And the level of conspiracy is taken to next level. And America is so keen to prove that Russia had indeed cheated so they came second in the medal tally in Sochi Olympics.  I can only wonder, if Russia, whose government has so many struggles and defectors can make this happen since 1968, what secrets are American Athletes keeping?[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXoRdSTrR-4″ align=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

2 Comments

  1. Divya January 7, 2018 at 4:10 pm

    Wonderful suggestions Bragadeesh – The “ABSTRACT – THE ART OF DESIGN” sounds fascinating indeed. I wish I could show some portions to my students.

    Reply
    1. prasanna January 7, 2018 at 5:38 pm

      You can actually. The documentary is not a critical analysis of the design. The DVD should be available in pirated market by now.

      Reply

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