by syaffolee

What I’ve Seen

These days, I have very little inclination to watch movies. If I had the free time and opportunity, chances are, I’d pick something else to do. However, this doesn’t mean that I don’t watch anything at all. It just means that I’m picker about what I do watch. For me, it’s been skewing towards BBC documentaries.

Wild China narrated by Bernard Hill. I love the opening sequences. Although I’m bit of an Attenborough fangirl, I found Hill’s narration to be a perfect balance of pacing without being too overwhelming. I could probably watch every single episode on infinite repeat and not get bored. It’s primarily a wildlife documentary so it’s understandable that it’s mostly focused on the animals and people’s interactions with them–but I would have definitely liked a little more focus on the modern problems, too.

Japanorama with Jonathan Ross. This program contains three series with six episodes each, but so far, I’ve only seen the first series and five episodes of the third. With violence, sex, and plenty of disturbing weirdness, this is definitely not for the kiddies. In fact, I skipped the horror episode of the third series after seeing the corresponding one in the first series because there was too much gore and freakiness for my taste. (My preference leans towards Lovecraft and psychological horror rather than splatterpunk.) Despite that, it’s a fascinating look into a culture that has managed to spawn cross-dressing lolitas and best-sellers on train groping.

Galapagos narrated by Tilda Swinton. Gorgeous, gorgeous cinematography. I could stare at this all day. Swinton’s narration isn’t bad but sometimes it gets a little soporific. But who cares about that when there are lizard cat-fights, tortoise-on-tortoise action, and baby seagulls committing fratricide?

Currently, I’m in the middle of watching the series How Art Made the World which is hosted by Nigel Spivey. So far, I’m liking this primer on art history–especially since it actually ties in some real science!–but frankly, I find some of the explanations a bit too tidy (and probably simplistic for the sake of television). And I find Spivey hilarious because he sort of reminds me of my advisor, except with a British accent and a different area of expertise.

Over the Christmas break, I’m going to try to finish Simon Schama’s series A History of Britain (I’ve seen the first three episodes already) and another documentary called Congo. I’ll also be on the look-out for a copy of Ganges and David Attenborough’s The Tribal Eye.

So, anyone else seen any good documentaries lately?

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