Quick Ramblings: Documentary Edition
I've watched some very thought provoking documentaries lately. I haven't had a lot of time to blog, mostly everything I've been posting has been queued, so here are some quick thoughts on what I watched.
Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992
When you think of the LA Riots and what you learned about them in school - you think of Rodney King. The names James Mincey Jr or Edward Song or Latasha Harlins don't come to mind, at least not at first. This documentary shows the unrest had begun long before King was beaten. The interviews conducted here are very in depth. (and in some cases, like the arresting officer trying to minimize Mincey's death and the affect it would have on his then expecting girlfriend was infuriating) They talked with several survivors, witnesses, police officers. They're each given adequate time to tell their stories as well and this is where the documentary excels.
This is one I hope is shown in schools, or at least recommended to keep the discussion going. My only complaint was with my local ABC station. There was severe weather going on during our broadcast, so the weather indicator at the bottom was often covering up the names of who was speaking.
I Am Heath Ledger
I knew this was going to be tough to watch. Heath Ledger was my favorite actor. At the time, I had never quite reacted to a celebrity death with such sadness as I did his. I still remember where I was, sitting at my office at work.
I felt like a voyeur watching his personal footage. I see why they used it, but some of the times I just felt like they maybe could've used something else to get around that particular part. I liked the interviews with his friends and family. It was especially nice hearing from his personal non actor friends. Of course, no Michelle Williams but I don't see her talking about Heath in depth for a very long time. Over all, it did feel quite rushed. There were so many more people I wish we could've heard from.
Netflix's newest entry into their true crime series follows the murder of a nun named Cathy Cesnik in 1969. Over the course of the seven episode documentary, the subject shifts from murder to systematic abuse within the Catholic Church. It focuses less on who killed Cathy, but why her murder happened. All of this started because of two of Sister Cathy's former students started investigating on their own, and that's inspiring in its own right. There's conspiracy theories all over the internet but you can't deny that sometimes good comes from people pouring over case files on the internet.
This case is bleak. When I think about how I felt after watching Making a Murderer, and then this, that hope for resolve is missing. Most of the people who probably know the answers as to what happened to Sister Cathy are dead, and the ones alive likely won't talk. Of course, the Archdioceses isn't going be of much help either. The head of the sex crimes division at the time manages to be of even less help.
I Am Not Your Negro
First off, it's ridiculous how long it took me to finally see this movie. You'd think earning an Oscar nomination would be enough to get this film in more theaters, but apparently not. It came nowhere near me and I had to wait for Netflix to get the DVD. This is about writer James Baldwin's unfinished text on race in America. He talks about the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. Malcom X and Medgar Evers. The documentary expands on them, which I think the film does very well. It made good use of historical footage and clips from films that were relevant to the discussion. (Although I wish I could unsee that Solider Blue clip)