352MC – Inspirational/Motivational Films

by alexmasonphotography

Following on from the module #phonar these films still inspire me to this day and effect the way I create.

I have written a few notes about the following films. I have watched a lot of documentaries over the last few months to prepare myself for my exit module. From films about heroin and meth to wildlife documentaries and films about internet hackers I think these were my favourite. Some are shorts and some aren’t so I have provided a link to the trailer depending on the accessibility of the film.

In no particular order…

1. Dogtown and Z Boys – Documentary about the pioneering 1970s Zephyr skating team.

It was an interesting take on a sports documentary with a bold narrative with lots of sub plots throughout. The viewer gets a clear insight to the characters who talk and reminice about how it used to be back in the day. It is informative about where skateboarding originated and the personalities of the people give a reflection on the strong kind of characters that were about. There is a large amount of archival footage which helps make the story more believable.

2. Dagdraumer (an Icelandic word for day dreaming) is a wordless journey into the salt as Allan’s distinctive camera style captures both the cold bleakness of the city, and the panoramic beauty of the sea.

Allan wanted to create a dreamlike film which he has pulled off very well. I like how we get to see the journey that the guy who has been working his 9 – 5 job in the city takes to get to the sea. It is almost like he is imagining himself doing this. Some of the incredible tricks that the body boarder pulls off seem like the kind of thing people would dream of doing. I had an empathy and understanding of the music. The fact that there was no narration didn’t matter to me. The images alone said enough for me to be able to grasp the story. It was bitter sweet watching this, I felt a kind of sadness because of times I was going through whilst I would have been body boarding, there are certain triggers in there for me and I am not entirely sure why. I also felt happy because of the emotive music and watching a film like this leaves me feeling content.

3. The Isle of Man TT is one of the iconic events in the world of motorsport, and possibly the most famous road race in the world.

We are firstly introduced to the locals who are there when the motorbiking races aren’t on and the imagery illustrates the spoken words of how peaceful it is before the bikes come on screen. We here an almost constant ambient noise of the motorbikes whizzing round the tracks, it is as if we are standing along side the track and we are a spectator. Very clever film making! We are informed by the riders themselves, the spectators, the locals and the surrounding area. The interviewee’s voice carries on playing through as the camera is pointing at other things. I didn’t have an emotional connection with this but I certainly appreciate the film making and production value.

4. The Crash Reel – Fifteen years of verite footage show the epic rivalry between half-pipe legends Shaun White and Kevin Pearce, childhood friends who become number one and two in the world leading up to the Vancouver Winter Olympics, pushing one another to ever more dangerous tricks, until Kevin crashes on a Park City half-pipe, barely surviving. As Kevin recovers from his injury, Shaun wins Gold. Now all Kevin wants to do is get on his snowboard again, even though medics and family fear this could kill him.

I connected with this very well. Not only am I a sucker for extreme sports and impressive filming but I also get drawn in towards the emotional narrative that is woven into this extreme sports film. I found that it was more about the concept of a family bond than the sport itself. I laughed, I cried and it really resinated with me as it made me question the kind of things I do whenever I get in the sea to go body boarding or I attempt a trick whilst skiing, or simply what if I fell down the stairs and banged my head. I guess it was emotional thinking how I could effect my family. You start to believe that Kevin’s family is your family (Well I did anyway).

5. Blackfish – tells the story of Tilikum, a notoriously aggressive orca that killed three people while in captivity. Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite uses shocking footage and emotional interviews to present a convincing case against keeping these wild animals for human entertainment.

This is something I never really knew or thought much about. in the same way that Dogtown and Z boys have a lot of archival material it engages me straight away. You are viewing actual footage of what really happened. “If you were in a bath tub for 25 years, don’t you think you would get a little psychotic”. That line really stood out for me. It kind of says it all really. Great film. Worth a watch.

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