This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

A Marathon of Documentaries

I have watched some amazing documentaries lately. Tim started it by starting La Corona then switching it off because it was too depressing for him. This started the taste for me and I decided to watch the short film documentaries available on HBO.

La Corona
This documentary is set in a women's prison in Bogota, Columbia. A beauty pageant is held within this awful prison (the directors felt like they were making the prison look to, um, nicer than it'll scare you straight). The focus is basically on the women who are representing their cell blocks. They have been imprisoned for being part of the guerrillas, armed robbery, murder. They are all young and beautiful; most have a child or two. And in this hell of a home, there is one particular time in their sentence that they can focus on something else besides their time in prison.

The story is amazing in learning about these women, what they are going through, and what they see in the future. It's eye-opening to see the struggles of living in Bogota, a poor country for the 'regular' folk, hence, many sentences for armed-robbery. There is a great empathy for these young ladies but there is also a little of the "Intervention" idea: will they really not turn back to a life of crime upon release?

Autopsy: Postmortem with Dr. Michael Baden
Autopsy has been a regular documentary series on HBO for years. I love these. Some of the cases that are covered are cases that shown on the CSI, Law & Order type shows. This particular film showcases some very famous cases:
The Assassination of JFK - Dr. Baden was part of a 1978 review by a House Select Committee on the Warren Report regarding JFK's death. Not only do we see a few autopsy photos of JFK (wow, they were allowed to do that?), we learn of the shoddy work that was done to the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. Baden states that this shoddy work has led to the continued conspiracy theories regarding the assassination to this day.

OJ Simpson
This one was of great interest to me. Let's just say that "we" all have seen and heard the evidence and yet I tend to disagree with the vast majority of people about the verdict. Dr. Baden covers a lot of what I remember from the trial that leads me to believe what I still believe today.

Sid and Nancy
I've heard of these two names. I'm not a Sex Pistols fan, unless any of their songs were remade and I liked the remade version (but didn't know it). I know there is a movie with the same title (never saw it)...but that's all I knew. What I did find out is, Sid Vicious is a drugged out looney tune who found another drugged out looney tune and they lived happily ever after. NOT.

The Romanovs
This was another cool case that reminded me of something Bones would do as a forensic pathologist. As most know, the remains of the Nicholas the II, Emperor of Russia, and his family were unknown. Remains were found in 1998 and with Dr. Baden's help, were identified as the Romanovs and their aides, minus son Alexei and daughter Anastasia (who inspired the disney movie). Although the documentary ends with the last two remains not being found, they were found in 2007 and identified in 2009.

Tell Them Anything You Want: A Portrait of Maurice Sendak
This is from Spike Jonze, who also directed Sendak's famed children's book Where the Wild Things Are. I have not read the book, nor watched the movie, nor knew anything about Sendak. A great, great documentary that is funny and heartbreaking. Sendak is now 80 years old and complains about not being ready to go yet, but also implies a wish to never have been born. There is pain in his life and he tells it all, without trying to open the book on his entire life. Amazing amazing story.

I loved all three of these. I watched a bit on Thank You, Mr. President, Helen Thomas at the White House but I didn't concentrate too much on it. Worth another watch as she brags that she said that dubya was one of the worst presidents ever (and she's seen a lot of them). And asks "where is the liberal press?" A new heroine :).

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