During these extraordinary times in which social distancing is advised, one gravitates toward the arts for solace y compañía.
Sin dudas, documentary films are great tools to use for its ability to cover a diverse myriad of subjects, from history, sports to social and political issues. On the many streaming services one can find a bountiful of great documentaries, para aprender, llorar y reir passionately.
Today I will continue this series with a few more recommendations from the streaming platform Netflix.
Aquí comparto la tercera lista, hope you enjoy!
The Social Dilemma is a 2020 docudrama directed Jeff Orlowski and written by Orlowski, Davis Coombe and Vickie Curtis. The film explores the remarkable rise of social media and the considerable damage it has caused to society. It includes interviews with many tech experts who sound the alarm on their own creations. The docudrama focuses on how tech companies used surveillance capitalism and data mining to exploit the users of these platforms for financial gain.
The viewer is introduced into how the design of these apps is produced to nurture an addiction, its use in politics, its impact on mental health (including the mental health of adolescents and rising teen suicide rates). Its role in spreading conspiracy theories and aiding groups —like flat-earthers and white supremacists— is also explored.
At a moment when we live through all of this, it becomes perfectly relevant for today’s time.
Capital in the 21st Century
This film by Justin Pemberton is based on economist Thomas Piketty’s international bestseller, Capital in the 21st Century. This is a captivating documentary that offers the viewer an eye-opening journey through wealth and power and breaks the popular assumption that believes that the accumulation of capital runs hand in hand with social progress.
Pemberton’s documentary version of the Piketty’s best seller travels through time from the French Revolution and other huge global shifts, to world wars and through the rise of modern technologies today. The film assembles accessible pop-culture references coupled with interviews of some of the world’s most influential experts delivering an insightful and empowering journey through the past and into our future.
Honoring the book, this documentary shines a new light on the world around us and its growing inequalities.
This film is an exploration of the international power and impact of John Coltrane’s music. Here, the passions, experiences and forces that shaped his life and revolutionary sounds are revealed. Written and directed by critically acclaimed documentary filmmaker John Scheinfeld, the film was produced with the full participation of the Coltrane family and the support of the record labels that collectively own the Coltrane catalog.
Set against the social, political, and cultural landscape of the times, CHASING TRANE brings John Coltrane to life as a fully dimensional being, inviting the audience to engage with Coltrane the man and Coltrane the artist.
ReMastered: The Two Killings of Sam Cooke
ReMastered: The Two Killings of Sam Cooke is a 2019 documentary film about the artist and activist, Sam Cooke, and the circumstances and controversy surrounding his murder.
Ahead of his time as an advocate for artists’ rights, he established his own record label and publishing company, later partnering with manager Allen Klein. Cooke was also a civil rights activist.
The film discloses how Cooke’s historic meeting with football legend Jim Brown, Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali was spied on by the FBI.
Directed by Kelly Duane de la Vega, the film invites the viewer into an investigation that explores the mystery behind the murder of Cooke, who died from a gunshot wound in 1964. The documentary draws from interviews with family, friends, journalists and academics as well as archival footage.
Immigration Nation is a six-episode documentary series directed by Christina Clusiau and Shaul Schwarz.
The series consists of footage filmed from 2017 to 2020 of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency’s work during the Trump era. The film presents a deep look at the state of U.S. immigration, utilizing unprecedented access to ICE operations and moving portraits of immigrants.
The Pharmacist is an American true crime documentary series produced by The Cinemart. The series relates the efforts of Dan Schneider, a small-town pharmacist in Poydras, Louisiana, after losing his son in a drug-related shooting. The small-town pharmacist, Dan Schneider, embarks on a crusade to bring a reckoning against the powerful figures behind the nation’s devastating opioid epidemic.
This documentary presents a moving look at the ways in which grief can thrust a person into activism. Spanning the early days of the U.S. opioid epidemic, the four-episode documentary series shows how one person, after suffering a loss, finds a modicum of healing through the act of saving others.
Feminists: What Were They Thinking?
The documentary film was directed by Johanna Demetrakas. Women of different ages and backgrounds are interviewed by Demetrakas and a team of assistants on the subject of feminism, anchored in the book ‘Emergence’ with portraits published in 1977. Feminists: What Were They Thinking? revisits those photos, those women, and those times and takes aim at our current culture revealing all too vividly the urgent need for continued change.
Edwin Rosario Mazara is the producer of the YouTube talk show La Sala Talks. He is also founder of the digital magazine Spanglish Voces. Ama las miles de historias de los desconocidos, “los de abajo” de esta tierra. He loves reading, la música, nature y un buen trago.