TV Documentaries and Extreme People
Published by Jan Woodhouse
Iím not much of a box-watcher, though Ė when its season arrives Ė I shall no doubt become re-addicted to the X-Factor, for reasons that I could attempt to analyse or rationalise but wonít . But over the past couple of weeks Iíve been watching some brilliant documentaries Ė there seemed to be a sudden spate of them.
Notably, Andrew Marrís Megacities, which ends next Thursday, for sweeping insights into where our world is heading. Iím a big admirer of Andrew Marr, the way he lightens the impact of what he is saying with that knack of not taking anything, including himself, too seriously. He also shows an ability to relate to all kinds of people which Iím sure some of our politicians could learn from.
Then there was that offbeat series by Adam Curtis, All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace. So much was packed into these three hours, that I found myself wanting a book of the series, something to keep on my shelf and dip into. I think what has stayed with me is a reminder of how extreme people can be when they focus on a particular goal, and the ambiguity of motivation.
An ambiguity that reminds me of that irritating woman, Rachel, in Windfarm Wars. How much was she set on saving planet earth, and how much was it all about winning? She seemed as much a diva as any would-be tennis player or pop star.
Finally Ė that beautiful and sensitively filmed documentary by Jezza Neumann, Poor Kids. I donít have much money to spare, but it left me feeling like a millionaire. The faces of those children as they described the bleak scenarios of their young lives said more than a million written words and statistics could ever do. And the joy on one girlís face when her family was eventually re-housed. This should have been essential viewing for all those people out there (and Iíve met them) who go around saying thereís no real poverty in Britain any more, or that people choose their own lives.
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