As usual… These aren’t necessarily recommendations. Consider the list more of an FYI – films we’ve talked about on this site, at one time or another, that are now streaming on Netflix, that you might want to check out for yourselves.
Without further ado, here’s this week’s list of 5:
1 – Jonathan Demme’s post-Katrina documentary I’m Carolyn Parker: The Good, The Mad And The Beautiful chronicles community activist Carolyn Parker, who Demme met in 2005 in New Orleans, and followed over the years afterward, as she lead a crusade to rebuild her house, her church, her community, as well as her life and family.
After premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival 2 years ago, the film received a limited theatrical run last year, before airing on PBS.
Here are a few clips from the the film:
2 – Avie Luthra’s international film festival-played South African drama Lucky, which was released Stateside last year, courtesy of Film Movement.
To recap, here’s the full synopsis:
How could a recently orphaned, 10-year old homeless South African boy ever be called Lucky? Over the grave of his dead mother, Lucky makes a promise to make something of himself. Leaving the security of his remote Zulu village for the big city with the hope of going to school, he arrives on the doorstep of an uncle who has no use for him. Lucky falls in with an elderly Indian woman with a pathological fear of Africans, who takes him in as she would a stray dog. Together, unable to speak each other’s language, they develop an unlikely bond. Through an odyssey marked by greed, violence, and ultimately, belonging, LUCKY shows how a child’s spirit can bring out decency, humility and even love in adults struggling to survive in the new South Africa.
Watch the trailer and three clips from the film below:
3 – Titled The Assailant (previously called Besouro), a film I’ve pushed a lot on this blog over the years.
Long-time readers should be familiar enough with it, given the number of times I’ve talked about and plugged it.
As a reminder… the story goes… As essentially an action movie set in 1920s Bahia, and based on the life of a legendary capoeirista from Bahia who uses the power of Candomble to fight the harsh conditions which, even post-abolition, the black population endured in Brazil, Besouro tells the fantastic and fantastical story of a young Afro-Brazilian man who became a symbol throughout all of Bahia for his bravery and loyalty, in defending the persecuted and oppressed.
João Daniel Tikhomiroff directed what is/was one of Brazil’s biggest productions ever!
Huan-Chiu Ku who directed the fight sequences in films like Kill Bill and The Matrix, does the same here, as the film features spectacular stunt sequences, with a soundtrack that includes Gilberto Gil.
So, here’s your chance to see it if you have not. Albeit dubbed.
Watch the thrilling trailer below:
4 – A 2012 SXSW Film Festival selection, the documentary feature Charles Bradley: Soul of America, is directed by Poull Brien and produced by Alexander Brough, and revolves around the peculiar and remarkable rise to stardom of aspiring Soul singer Charles Bradley.
Here’s the full synopsis:
Charles Bradley: Soul of America captures the extraordinary late in life rise of 62 year old aspiring soul singer Charles Bradley, whose debut album, “No Time For Dreaming,” took him from a hard life of poverty, homelessness and tragedy and rocketed him onto Rolling Stone magazine’s top 50 albums of 2011. This documentary follows Charles from his 62nd birthday through the electrifying and transformative months leading up to his unprecedented debut, world tour and ultimate triumph over an impossible dream 48 years in the making.
Watch the trailer below.
5 – A 2011 documentary on Miriam Makeba titled Mama Africa, which approaches Makeba as an artist, activist, mother, grandmother and a human being.
Directed by Finnish director Mika Kaurismäki, who originally conceived the documentary while Makeba was still alive, the film’s synopsis reads:
For nearly half a century, Grammy-winning South African singer Miriam Makeba—known to fans as “Mama Africa”—travelled the world with powerful songs of joy, love, and revolution that have resonated in the hearts of people across the world. Against the disharmonious backdrop of Apartheid and international liberation movements around the world, Makeba’s captivating melodies exposed the brutality and racism of the South African government and made her an early icon of Black freedom. Exiled from her homeland for nearly 30 years, Makeba moved to the US, but her controversial marriage to Black Panther Stokely Carmichael left her with revoked US record deals and cancelled national tours. In protest of an American brand of racism, Makeba moved to Guinea, where she continued her activism and leadership as the first black female representative to the United Nations.
Award-winning director Mika Kaurismäki’s inspirational tribute to Makeba is packed with five decades of rare archival footage, interviews, and excerpts from the legendary performances that exhilarated millions and inspired musicians like Harry Belafonte, Hugh Masekela, and Paul Simon.