The best way to spend Christmas eve eve by yourself is too watch a triple header of documentaries.
Audrie & Daisy
I heard about this movie on an episode of the Adnan Virk movie podcast titled Cinephile where he interviewed one of the directors. This is a Netflix exclusive documentary that focuses on two public sexual assault crimes on Audrie Pott and Daisy Coleman in the year 2012. Both of these young girls (15 and 14 years old at the time of the assaults) were taken advantage of while under the influence of alcohol and their attacks were made public via social media. The hell that these two girls went through and the embarrassment that they suffered due to harassment via the internet is nothing short of depressing. Criminal sexual assault is difficult to enforce as most cases become a he said, she said case combined with the inherent male bias in our society.
This doc is very well produced and will make it very difficult to resist tears. As its name suggest, this movie focuses on Audrie Pott and Daisy Coleman, but they do feature other young girls who experienced similar traumas. The movie ends with a graphic that shows “Audrie & Daisy” which zooms out and adds names “& Delaney, & Jada” and then continues to zoom out farther with countless Jane and John Doe’s. That graphic really affected me.
Runtime:1 Hour 38 Minutes
Saudi Arabia Uncovered
Saudi Arabia is a fucked up and oppressive country. I knew this already but this documentary on Netflix exposed the extent of that oppression. Abusive religious police, women are literally second class citizens, protests are illegal, and citizens are commonly lashed and crucified in public. The country is ruled by king Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud who has been ruthless in his reign executing “criminals” at an alarming rate.
This movie is short as it didn’t have a lot of footage to use. Video cameras are illegal in Saudi Arabia so the crew used a hidden cam at a great risk. They were not able to obtain a lot of footage on their own as they were forced to flee the country as their cover had been blown. The directors used footage captured by a man on the ground using a similar hidden camera but he was also scared into stopping as 43 “terrorists” were executed.
Saudi Arabia is an oppressive country and the power that the kings family has due to their oil reserves guards their human right violations. Other countries like the U.K. keep a good relationship with the civil rights violating country knowing that they would be a recipient of their cheap oil. This doc also suggests that Saudi Arabia has directly influenced terrorism, most recently with ISIS. The Middle East is a scary place.
Runtime: 51 Minutes
Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck
This is one of the more creative documentaries I have seen. Kurt Cobain, lead singer of the grunge band Nirvana, accumulated a lot of notebooks filled with drawings and song writing along with home videos. These personal notebooks and videos combined with interviews and animated cut scenes formed a different perspective on the life of Cobain.
Parts of this movie are hard to watch as Cobain was clearly in a bad place with drugs, insecurities, and self-loathing. The dude was not ready for the fame that he received in the early 90’s when album Nevermind was released. It is amazing that In Utero, Nirvana’s third album, was ever made as Cobain was in an extremely dark place.
Before watching this doc on HBO I thought Cobain was a successful rock star who ended his own life because his drug addiction destroyed his life. This doc revealed that he was much more complicated than that. His childhood, disposition, and genius for art helped him create amazing music, but it also helped create an unhappy self hating drug addict. I liked how this movie ended with just a graphic stating Cobain took his own life without focusing on how or analyzing his suicide note like they did his note books. This documentary focused on his life, not his death.
Runtime: 2 Hours 12 Minutes
This session of sitting still for a dangerous amount of time lasted nearly 5 hours. Interesting documentaries are plentiful in the current movie streaming world and these three are just a few of them.
Total Runtime: 4 Hours 41 Minutes