Having trouble finding something good to watch on Netflix Instant? Here’s a rundown of a couple of new additions for the week of February 18th, ranging from silent classics to Oscar-winning contemporary documentaries.
Undefeated / Daniel Lindsay & T.J. Martin / 2011
The winner of last year’s Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, Undefeated has been praised as an emotional and moving look at an improbable, underdog high school football season. It’s earned comparisons to Friday Night Lights for its exploration of inspirational coach-player dynamics and drama on and off the field.
Boccaccio ’70 / Vittorio De Sica, Federico Fellini, Mario Monicelli & Luchino Visconti / 1962
This anthology film looks at contemporary Italian life in the 1960s through the eyes of some of Italian cinema’s most important directors. While each of the 4 short films it comprises vary in viewpoint, tone and style, together they document a range of attitudes towards Italy’s economic boom and a country and a national cinema in transition. Fellini’s short is his first color effort.
ESPN: 30 for 30 / Various / 2009-2012
Many of ESPN’s critically-acclaimed TV documentaries are now available on Netflix Instant. These films cover a wide variety of sports topics from some big names in documentary filmmaking. I’d be interested in seeing Oscar-winner Alex Gibney’s Catching Hell, the story the Chicago Cubs fan who interfered with a live ball with disastrous results, or Ice Cube’s Straight Outta L.A., about the influence of the Raiders on 1980s hip-hop culture.
Earth / Aleksandr Dovzhenko / 1930
A classic example of Soviet Montage during the silent era, Dovzhenko’s Earth is a visually stunning film about a struggle between a group of peasant farmers and a higher class local landlord. While Dovzhenko was commissioned to make the film as propaganda to encourage the growth of farming collectives, it is nonetheless beautifully poetic and an example of personal artistry in film no matter what the subject matter. For a different take on the style of Soviet Montage, Pudovkin’s The End of St. Petersburg is also now available.