Documentaries watched, 2020 Apr — Jun Edition

Reviews of Workspace, Cuba and the Cameraman, Bamboo Theatre, 13th


Workspace

Workspace

(2014)

Gary Hustwitt

★★★★

I have almost forgot, architecture, from physical, monumental structure to the details of space, is still an integral part of design discipline. The film went through history to see the evolution of workplace, which is a product of human evolution in the last 100 years only. Remote-work and Work-from-home culture that COVID-19 led of course is a new addition to this topic today.

Cuba and The Cameraman

Cuba and The Cameraman

(2017)

Jon Alpert

★★★½

Havana has always been on my city wishlist to visit. But behind the facade of vintage cars and cityscape frozen in time, the capitalist tourism boom in the last decade has so much more story to tell. Director Jon Alpert visited Cuba and interviewed Fidel Castro in the 70s, the visit has further developed into a moving visual record of Cuban history.

Over the course of 45 years, he returned to the country every few years, and visited families he met since the first time. The film started from the optimism on Castro’s vision and leadership, then struggles on everyday life after the fall of Soviet Union and now the well being after the heavy reliance on tourism. Families welcomed new life as well as farewell.

Bamboo Theatre

Bamboo Theatre

(2020)

Cheuk Cheung

★★★

The film is very focused on capturing the craftmanship and professionalism of bamboo theatre, maybe it is even too focused. It captures bamboo theatre in a static way, offering a glipse to the "life and death" cycle of the theatre, construction, setup, the show and deconstruction. The film has reminded me of the work of Sergei Loznitsa, show but not tell, in an aesthtic way to capture without much explanation to things happened on screen.

It may not be an introduction material to the Canontese Opera culture, since the director managed to separate two things, with little canton opera left but inserting classical music from Bach. It managed to ritualize the work of the construction workers and troupe, making this temporal nature of bamboo theatre, happening for a week once a year in different neighbourhoods in Hong Kong, a special tradition to be remembered.

I’m dedicating June’s documentary slot to learn more about the history of US and support #BLM.

13th

13th

(2016)

Ava DuVernay

★★★

There is a lot to process after watching 13th, the film explained mass incarceration is an institutional problem instead of a phenomenon. More colored people served jail time is not a proof but an end result of a problem. From one loophole from constitution of America, it has become a institutional problem that is too big yet to eradicate.