Top of the Docs #11 – The Decline of Western Civilisation Parts I-III

This week, Top of the Docs turns to Penelope Spheeris’ trilogy The Decline of Western Civilisation, which might be the most comprehensive look at counter-culture in America translated into film.

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Top of the Docs #8 – ‘Kenny’: When Sports, Locality, and Politics Meet

Two things define Liverpool as a city: music and football. The two fill up all conversation about the city, with the latter even being a defining feature of being scouse: are you a Liverpudlian, or an Evertonian? A red or a blue?

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Top of the Docs #7 – ‘Losers’ (2019) Puts Sport on the Sideline and Shines a Spotlight on Humanity

Directed by Mickey Duzyj, Losers is a Netflix produced docuseries that focuses on the human side of sport, making it extremely accessible to everyone, regardless of previous sporting knowledge.

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Top of the Docs #6 – ‘Swatted’ (2018) and the Realities of Sharing Online

It is impossible to describe the impact of the internet, and even more impossible to place that impact on a moral compass. The internet is a place where millions of people who may never have met can connect, it has formed new communities and, importantly, has greatly furthered discourse concerning gender, sexuality, race, and various other marginalised communities by acting as a means for activists to communicate.

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Top of the Docs #5 – ‘Going Clear’ (2015): Scientology and the Prison of Belief and Journalistic Documentary

In terms of mainstream documentary filmmaking over the past two decades, few figures have amassed as impressive a body of work as Alex Gibney. His documentaries often tackle corporate scandal, usually interrogating single corporations such as in Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005).

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Top of the Docs #4 – ‘Talking About Trees’ and Cinema as Community

The history of a nation’s cinema is, of course, tied up in the history of a nation. Not every nation, however, has a history like Sudan. Split by civil war in 2011, the country is still in the midst of a power struggle and is often presented merely as a country bound to constant conflict.

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Top of the Docs #3 – ‘Goshogaoka’ and Ambient as a Documentary Genre

When we think of basketball, it’s hard not to think of pace. The game is hardwired to be fast and physically demanding, something obvious from watching even five minutes of a game. This combination of speed, athleticism and strategy is what forms the very core of basketball. And it is exactly those qualities that Goshogaoka lacks.

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Top of the Docs #2 – ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’, The Man Who Raised a Generation

The opening lyrics to ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’ welcome viewers to the TV show as Fred Rogers and his warm smile enters the frame. Rogers was a father figure, the face of children’s TV, and an educator to a nation.

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