fri 24/03/2017

documentary

Puerto Rico: Island of Enchantment – Natural World, BBC Two

The soothing voice of David Attenborough narrated this cautionary tale, which is improbably heading not for a happy ending but a happy new beginning. Puerto Rico, the so-called island of enchantment, overwhelmed early western visitors with its...

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DVD: Reset

The curious thing about Reset, the documentary that tracks the making of a new ballet by Benjamin Millepied at the Paris Opera Ballet, is that it clearly had another agenda. Millepied, a Frenchman nicely named for his profession, was a left-field...

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War Child, Channel 4

In the mindset of Nigel Farage and his biddable followers, the route from Asia into Europe throngs with undesirables. Their threatening faces can be plastered on a vote-winning poster. In this calamitous failure of empathy, young men – hordes of...

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DVD/Blu-ray: The Creeping Garden

The creative, organisational and intellectual properties of slime mould are outlined in loving detail in Tim Grabham and Jason Sharp’s engaging documentary The Creeping Garden, though even this peculiar organism seems a little colourless when...

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Mutiny, Channel 4

The masochistic reality show heralds a culture with an inferiority complex. There have been documentary re-running the race to the South Pole. Countless series place modern Britons in historical contexts where the dietary, sanitary and heating...

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Dispatches: Under Lock and Key, Channel 4

Five years ago BBC Panorama went undercover, sending in a reporter with a hidden camera to expose the horror going on at Winterbourne View, a hospital for people with learning disabilities and/or autism. There was outrage as the nation watched...

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Meet the Lords, BBC Two

To Westminster and Meet the Lords, a series which Radio Times assures me follows “the larger-than-life characters” in one of our “most idiosyncratic and important institutions”. Obviously it was shot well before the current Brexit deliberations in...

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Lost in France

Pulling together a music documentary strikes me as a simple enough concept. Gather your talking heads in front of a nice enough backdrop, splice with archive footage in some semblance of a narrative order and there you go. There’s no need to, say,...

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Storyville: Life, Animated, BBC Four

Slipped out in the Storyville slot without much fanfare, Life, Animated is the Oscar-nominated documentary which won a theatrical release and rave reviews in the US and UK last year. It’s a horribly clichéd word, but heart-warming is the best way to...

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Life of a Mountain: A Year on Blencathra, BBC Four

Two years ago BBC Four had a film about a year in the life of Scafell Pike. Arriving at glacial pace is the sequel: Life of a Mountain: A Year on Blencathra. The star this time round is more of a best supporting character actor than a headline...

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DVD: Marc Isaacs - Two Films

There’s a nice pairing to these two character-led documentary films, as reflections on concepts of partnership presented from different ends of the spectrum of innocence and experience. Treating innocence, Someday My Prince Will Come (2005) is the...

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Andrew Marr: 'I don’t want to look like I'm in pain'

Television audiences love seeing familiar faces in different contexts – whether it’s actors exploring their ancestry in Who Do You Think You Are? or politicians awkwardly busting their moves on Strictly. But there’s always a risk that the camera...

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