Want to watch documentaries more often, but don’t know where to start? Get in here!
The Greatest Movie Ever Sold is probably the biggest one of the bunch, both in name and budget. Morgan Spurlock (Supersize Me) wants to make a film that is completely financed by sponsors. What follows is a trip past a lot of companies led by people with dollar signs in their eyes. They all want to know what Spurlock can do for them, how good it will make them look and how bad the competition, and oh yeah, how much money they’ll make with it. Really, it would be grade-A entertainment if you could get past the reality of these people deciding how our films and TV shows look.
Spurlock does a thorough job, visiting both sides of advertisement and sponsoring. Your head might be rolling over the floor by the end because you shook it so often, but you learned a lot about the influence of money as well.
The Ambassador is also about money, but in a very different setting. Danish Mads BrÃ¼gger (it takes a while to get used to that accent) buys himself a diplomatic title and dives into a corrupt world. Or how BrÃ¼gger puts it himself: “I want to show an Africa stripped of NGOs, Bono, child soldiers and kids with bloated bellies, to show the kind of people you never see in the documentaries: white businessmen and diplomats, the fat cats in the urban centers, all the people who are in postcolonial Francafrique (French Africa) having a great time.”
Again, money (here called “envelopes of happiness”) makes everything happen. Except here it’s a little bit more life threatening to not have enough of it.
This won’t amuse you as much as the documentary above, probably only frustrate you. It’s people using an entire country as their money tree without any care for its inhabitants.
Alright, let’s watch a documentary about babies. Surely you can’t ““ oh, of course you can put a prize on a baby, as Google Baby shows. For up to $30,000 you get an embryo placed in an Indian uterus. This is probably not unknown for the majority here, but the calculated… factoryness of it is still flabbergasting. The woman that owns the surrogate house makes appointments while doing a Cesarean. There are databases of egg cell donors and tanks full of (decade) old babies. One man decided to “get this done” in India because “every company outsources to India for a reason. Money.”
Google Baby can be watched on Youtube in seven parts.
Want a palate cleanser? Watch A Brief History of John Balderassi. Tom Waits talking about The Godfather of Conceptual Art, John Balderassi. Doesn’t ring a bell? Doesn’t matter. It is a party of images, art and two (rumbling) voices. Oh, and let’s not forget the urn in the shape of a book.
This will probably make you wonder about the things mentioned being art. Maybe the entire documentary is an art piece. Or is the old man just a fool? Discover it for yourself, because this documentary last less than six minutes and can be found on Youtube.
Do you have a favourite theme/subject in documentaries or do you watch any you can get your hands on? And: any recommendations?