Tuesday, June 03, 2008

BBC Documetaries

Since I have moved into my new place I am hosting a small kind island revolution against commercial television programs that are designed to brainwash viewers into spending more money and buying shit they have no necessity for, presenting people with illusions of false prophets, and demoralizing the human soul. In layman terms I have chosen not to apply for cable television. But I am still a fan of film and documentaries so with regulated visits to the sacred DVD store that is so covertly tucked away in an apartment not far from where I live, in a building I cannot name, I am keeping up to speed every now and then with my own quality supply of indoctrination. Think of cable television as some C grade crack you pick up in a dark alley from a guy with crusty blood and mud under his nails. There are white stains on the putrid skin around his mouth and lips that is slowly corroding away because of the continuous contact it has kept with paint thinners and other solvents. The only light in the alley is coming from a steady dull blue glow spilling out of the windows from decrepit 5 dollar an hour hotel rooms where old men pay middle aged transvestites with incomplete sex operations to fuck them in the ass. As you look down at the filthy sliver of crystal in your hand you can hear a chorus of men groaning in the background. However, carefully selected viewing material can be compared to walking into a 2000 square foot loft on 5th Avenue where the doors are opened by not one, but two scantily clad vixens (or guys). They help you off with your clothes and into a warm bath where one washes you and the other prepares a beverage of your choice. Once cleansed and robed you are led into a spacious room, the ipod is playing some sweet jazz tunes. The bed is warm and fluffy, you lie down and each of the hosts takes her (or his) place at your sides. They cook up the highest grade of purified heroin, flown in from Bolivia in the crotch of a hot Latino stewardess. Lay back and watch the magnificent display of visuals projected on the ceiling as you feel comforting chemicals flow through your veins, first to your lungs, then with one beat, the warmth spreads to your extremities as the world slips away and everything makes sense again. So yeah, cable TV bad, DVD purchase good. I don’t have too much time or energy to get through an entire film these days so I am watching selected documentaries one episode at a time, when I have the time. Until now I have also been paying most of my attention to documentaries made by the BBC. They are fucking wikid.


This collection of 11 episodes covers every natural aspect of the planet earth, at present day. Although there are references to Earth’s and animal life’s origins, the focus of the documentary squares mostly on the world as it exists now taking into account the challenges nature currently faces. This is the first BBC documentary I was introduced to almost a year ago. Since then it is still my first choice of something to watch on a Sunday morning or lazy afternoon. The first thing you would notice is the quality of the video film. Shot in High Definition, I have never seen such crisp and clear pictures of nature. Not to mention the quality of speed enhanced shots. Secondly, the narrator David Attenborough is magnificent. This guy could croon a 6 headed beast with a devilish temper to sleep within minutes with his soothing tones. His knowledge of the English language is vast and his usage exemplimary. He is a fucking genius. The soundtrack of the program which is composed by George Fenton now gained fan fare of its own. The unity of these elements has culminated in the most fascinating showcase of the planet Earth that you could imagine. The patience and dedication behind the crews responsible for each and every segment of this program is undeniably insane. People have spent weeks and months camped out in caves, holes, trees, and cars just to capture footage that has never before been recorded on film. The BBC has been releasing the program Planet Earth every few years, and the progressively outdo themselves each time. This show is 10 out of 10 on all fronts.


I currently still watching this program, I think I am on episode 4. I started it about 3 weeks ago. It is also a recently produced documentary hosted by the famous British comedian John Cleese. I remember him most fondly from the movie ‘A Fish Called Wanda’ and some of you might even remember him from ‘Faulty Towers’. This 8 episode program is simply about the human face. One might wonder what people would have to say for over 8 hours about the human face. But the content is intriguing. These programs are so facinting because it is as though the creators have left no stone unturned. They discuss everything from the power the human face on modern media with celebrity and fame interviewing people like Liz Hurley and Pierce Brosnan. Then they pick the mind of David Attenbrough for insights into the course of evolution that human features have taken and the importance of features in the animal kingdom. Watching this program has for one thing reminded me of the importance of actually going out and meeting the people I work with as opposed to communicating over telephone and email. Human beings are social creatures and our animal instincts can still reveal a lot about our associates when we meet them face to face. Did you know that samurai warriors shaved their heads and eyebrows because their expressions revealed that thoughts, and even fear. The show also openly discusses the fascination modern day humans have with plastic surgery and where the need to fit in stems from. What freaked me out most though is that in experiments where judges, lawyers, policemen, and detectives were tested to see how well they could spot liars, all of them scored extremely low. But KGB, MI5, and CIA agents had over 80% accuracy! This program actually reveals some experiments conducted by government agencies in the early 50’s to find out what went on behind the human face. Faces is a well made documentary that is worth more than the film it is printed on, which is not something you can say about most of the movies being made these days.

Simon Schama’s – POWER OF ART

I had never heard of Simon Schama before, but this guy is fucking awesome. In his program POWER OF ART, he introduces the viewer to 8 pieces of art that significantly changed the playing field they worked on. Each episode begins with an introduction to a painting or sculpture showcases its magnificence or in some cases its hideousness. Then he takes us through the life of the artist that lead him to create this work that is today heralded as a masterpiece. It may sound plain enough, but Schama is a genius with words and the ideal way to describe his presentation would be to say it is subconsciously surreal. At first I thought I must be too fucking stones because this guy is blowing my mind, but then I just put on the DVD for a friend of mine for only a few seconds and she was sucked in. I even passed the copy on to my uncle. He called up at 11pm last Saturday after watching an episode. He could not contain himself. I shit you not, this program is magnificent. Of the 8 artists featured Caravaggio was my favorite. Another character I have never heard of before, Schama introduces us to his painting ‘David and the Head of Goliath. It is a self portrait, the dead head is his. The painting was to be presented to the King as a gift but in a twist of fate even stranger than fiction, Caravaggio dies before it is received. The subject matter of this program is definitely fascinating, but what really makes this program work is the presenter’s wisdom that is translated so well through his expression. For me, the BBC hits another one straight out of the park with the Power of Art series. Truly, each of these programs will affect the way you think, in a positive way. You will walk away from the TV set feeling slightly more intelligent, for a change.

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