sat 15/12/2018

documentary

Sir Cliff Richard: 60 Years in Public and in Private, ITV review - bachelor boy bounces back

It was when he was on holiday at his agreeable estate in the Algarve in August 2014 that Cliff Richard got a phone call telling him his Berkshire home was being raided by the South Yorkshire Police. It was the beginning of a four-year ordeal in...

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Barbra Streisand: Becoming an Icon 1942-1984, BBC Four review - the way she was

Perhaps belatedly prompted by the release of Barbra Streisand’s new album Walls, the worst-selling disc in her 55 years with Columbia Records, this documentary was an uncritical celebration of Babs’s brilliant career from her first stage appearances...

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Three Identical Strangers review - an extraordinary true story

The privileges of writing reviews are very few (it’s certainly no way to make a living these days) but one that remains is the possibility of seeing a film before reading about it. Sometimes it doesn’t matter knowing in advance how a story will play...

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Louis Theroux's Altered States: Choosing Death, BBC Two review - profound and moving

The toughest subject you can imagine: when, and how, would you choose death over life? This riveting film examined that excruciating dilemma within the legal frameworks on offer to some of the terminally ill in the United States. Louis Theroux,...

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They Shall Not Grow Old, BBC Two review - Peter Jackson's Great War finale

Peter Jackson has form when it comes to re-examining cinema history. In 1995 he made Forgotten Silver, a documentary about Colin McKenzie, a New Zealand filmmaker who not only made the first sound recordings but also invented the tracking shot and...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Hitler's Hollywood

Apart from Leni Riefenstahl’s insidiously seductive celebrations of Nazism and the propaganda excesses of Veit Harlan’s Jud Süß (1940), the films that were made in Germany during the Hitler period have been air-brushed out of cinema history, almost...

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WW1: The Last Tommies, BBC Four review - Great War stories

“Why should I go out and kill somebody I never knew? There was no reason at all in it in my way of thinking.” Britain’s very last Tommy was Harry Patch, born in 1898, conscripted in 1916 and still alive on his 111th birthday in 2009. He was one of...

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The Yukon Assignment review - two men in a boat test father-son bond

The Yukon Assignment tracks a 500-mile canoe journey along a remote river in Canada taken by a British adventurer and his father. The feature-length documentary is a gentle, unpretentious love-letter to untamed nature and its ability to bring two...

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Imagine... Tracey Emin: Where Do You Draw the Line, BBC One review - entertaining but deferential

It’s been a whirlwind year for Tracey Emin, CBE, RA. Her pink neon sign, “I want my time with you”, greets passengers at St Pancras station, she’s installed bronze birds all over Sydney city centre, she’s making a derelict print works in Margate...

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Donkeyote review - a quiet revelation

It’s an undeniably quirky set-up: an elderly Spanish farmer who takes it upon himself to travel to America and walk – alone – the epic, 2,200-mile Trail of Tears, following the westward route taken by the Cherokee fleeing white settlers. Alone, that...

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Science Fair review - big on ambition, light on rigour

More than 1,700 teenage finalists representing 78 countries take part in the annual International Science and Engineering Fair, virtually the Oscars for exceptional young biologists, physicists, chemists, mathematicians, computer scientists, doctors...

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DVD: Generation Wealth

“Psychopathologies come and go but they always tell us about the historical time period in which they’re produced.” So says the journalist and academic Chris Hedges in Lauren Greenfield’s documentary Generation Wealth. The idea the film plays with...

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