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Documentary

Blu-Ray Review: DIEGO MARADONA (2019)

When someone mentions the greatest footballer of all time, three names most likely come to mind. The oldest is Brazilian legend Pele. The newest would probably be Barcelona’s Argentine master Lionel Messi. In the middle, arguably, could be Argentina’s controversial and flamboyant striker Diego Maradona.

Just the name conjures up a whole wealth of iconic cultural images for anyone born before or around the early 1980’s; lifting the World Cup trophy in Mexico ’86, the same tournament as the infamous ‘Hand of God’ goal against England. But how much do we stop and consider the man behind the images himself? Maradona spent years in the tabloids, particularly for a powerful drug addiction which all but destroyed his playing career after his glory days, but do we know the man behind the myth? Asif Kapadia attempts to explore this question in his documentary, much anticipated after his striking debut Senna and the searing, emotional heights of Amy. There is a reason he doesn’t call his film simply Maradona, as we all know him. This is as much, if not more, about Diego too.

This question provides the lynchpin of a film which never hits the potent, powerful and affecting heights of Kapadia’s tragic previous two examinations, but nevertheless shines a light on a fascinating man at a fascinating point of sporting history.

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Film Review: MAKING WAVES: THE ART OF CINEMATIC SOUND (2019)

When considering a movie, how often do you consider how it sounds? Not just the score, which many increasingly recognise as a crucial and celebrated component of a cinematic experience, but the aural aspect of how a film is put together. If your answer is “not much”, then Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound is an eye-opener.

Directed by Midge Costin, a former sound editor who worked on films throughout the 80’s and 90’s (heavily on Jerry Bruckheimer productions such as Days of Thunder and Armageddon), Making Waves shines a light on sound design, a process which has been key to the history and evolution of cinema since the pioneering work of Eadward Muybridge all the way back in the 1870’s captured the possibility of an image on screen. Costin’s documentary roughly chronologically tells the story of sound in film, as Muybridge gave way to Melies and the silent film era of the early 20th century, all of which struggled to sync manufactured sound to film. Theatres would use orchestras or even employees banging equipment to mimic sound alongside image. None of it came from the actual picture at first, movies often shot in locations filled with sound because only image was required.

Then along came Don Juan, with John Barrymore, adding sound to image and finally the first talkie, The Jazz Singer, more infamous now for a blacked up Al Jolson, but which for the first time had audiences hearing someone not just sing but talk on a motion picture screen. Making Waves takes that history and runs with it across the subsequent century.