Then I saw a handful of docs. First up was Joshua Oppenheimer's The Look of Silence
, which is sort of a sequel/follow-up to his masterful The Act of Killing, although truth be told, it feels more like an addendum than something else that warranted further exploration -- it's the chapter that wouldn't fit in the first film, so to say. It's still teeth-grindingly maddening, showcasing an enraging case of goons not admitting their responsability in the grisly murder of thousands during the Indonesian coup d'etát; although the means it displays that are far more limited and toned-down compared to whatever Oppenheimer had in stock in his previous effort. Check it out if you really liked Act of Killing, I'd say.
Then it's Davis Guggenheim's He Named Me Malala
. This one I liked best, although nowhere to say it's among my top 10 films of the year or something. It's about Malala Yousafzai, the 17 year old girl who's won a Nobel Peace Prize by advocating in favor of girls' right to education everywhere, and whose cause was further boosted when she received a non-fatal gunshot to the face. The documentary does quite a good job displaying the benefits of learning seen through Malala's family's eyes, as it portrays Malala in a less-than-iconic light: she's still a teenager, after all. She's got her crushes and hobbies and other things to attend to. Like school. The film brings back to humanity a Nobel Peace Prize winner, a figure often seen as naturally, and acceptably seen as some kind of holier-than-thou. It's a bit self-congratulatory however (to the point of showing how bummed
they felt when they lost the prize the first time around), but it's earnest and candid enough to be insightfully enjoyable.
Way less savory was Anthony Wonke's Ronaldo
, a doc on Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo. But who the fuck is Anthony Wonke in all of this? This is a CR7 thing through and through, a vanity project if I've ever seen one. It follows him from when he won the 2013 FIFA Ballon d'Or award... to when he won the 2014 FIFA Ballon d'Or award. There's a few matches highlighted in between, namely a couple of World Cup matches in which he played with the Portugal squad (they were dismal), and a Clásico match against Barcelona which Real Madrid won 3-1. Don't expect any specifics about these matches, though, the movie will be too busy portraying CR7 as some sort of demigod of football, swiftly evading anything that may put him in a bad or a questionable light in favor of padding the runtime with footage of him playing with his son. They're not even playing football, they're playing shit like "which one of our sports car is not here right now?". Answer: the Lamborghini. Riveting. So humble, so human.
This is not a movie, but something made so CR7 could masturbate to when he walks inside the museum of himself
he's made. It's just porno. Away from his mother, his brother and his agent, no one that truly mattered in Ronaldo's life, personally or professionally, gives any sort of account. Don't expect Messi (who when it comes down to it, is the main reason for why CR7 is as interesting as he is), former teammate Wayne Rooney of Manchester United, or legendary Real Madrid players like Íker Casillas to chip in with their two cents. Don't even expect the press to have anything to say about him. He's made sure that only compliments are being said about him, meaning there's next-to-no room for criticism or awkward inquiry. Such an unrewarding sit.
And just out of completionist's sake, I saw Álex de la Iglesia's Messi
. As I was writing my review of Ronaldo, I realized someone else had made a Messi doc, so the real debate of who's better between them could also be taken to the documentary realm. And like I would've imagined, Messi stood out by far as the better documentary (and for my money, a better footballer, too) by virtue of him being more of a team player. Granted, Messi's absent from this doc, but that's a good thing, because de la Iglesia litters the film with several of people previously or currently close to Messi, like his old teachers, his childhood friends, his family, his Newell's Old Boys' teenage squadmates, his current Barcelona teammates like Javier Mascherano, Gerard Piqué and Andrés Iniesta, and some other tangential figures like reporters and football legends like Johan Cryuff. They all take turns telling the Messi story from his childhood to today in a pretty unique fashion, having all the narrators enjoying a private dinner at a restaurant and the camera switching to anyone who's telling a story about a certain point in Messi's time. And it's not all just talk, but there's also dramatization to whatever they're narrating (although of course, it's limited to Messi's childhood and teenage years. No point in dramatizing something there's plenty of footage around like his Champions League games and the matches he's played for Argentina). Granted, the dramatization's a bit too corny, but it's sweet and enjoyable regardless.
CR7 gets only mentioned once, but I wouldn't consider it a negative or anything, because Messi's not helming the narrative here. He only gets mentioned in a way similar to how experienced Paris Saint Germain star Zlatan Ibrahimović gets mentioned, which given the context, is fine enough -- especially considering it goes pretty indepth about his technique and his relationship with his teams. As a whole, it's a movie made for Messi fans -- if you're a Real Madrid fan, I can't imagine what's in here for you other than seeing something about a football great. It's good, but not great -- maybe I would've waited until Messi retires or won a World Cup to really look back on his career, because as is, it kinda feels like it's telling you something in progress -- and all known rather well.
Lastly, there's the movie of the now. Francis Lawrence's The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2
. I'm sure lots of you are looking forward to this film, so I'm not going to go as indepth with it as with the ones I've already discussed. I'll just say I never saw any of this sequels being as good as the original entry was. Katniss was an interesting character, but the further the story went from the Games, the less she had to do or say of her own accord, which made things pretty boring. This one's no exception, although it's better than Part 1. It reaches a much needed sense of urgency and anguish, but it came after an hour or so of nothing, and it was followed by a chain of non-endings.
Look, it's not a bad film by any means, but the hype was a bit too much for something this grey and dull.
That's that for now! Stay cool