Soichi Terada (Toco Toco)

It’s as if Toco Toco could read my mind. Earlier this year I discovered and fell in absolute love with the music of Soichi Terada (through the music of Shinichiro Yokota) — his Sounds from the Far East compilation is the record I’ve listened to the most this year (and I’m listening to it right now as I write this). Imagine my very pleasant surprise when I find that the latest episode of Toco Toco — my favorite documentary web series — is all about him. Thank you, Anne.

Spielberg

The second great documentary I watched last week (following the Clive Davis one) was the Spielberg documentary that aired on HBO. It’s a really fantastic look at the man’s career, and makes you appreciate even more what he was able to achieve through his life’s work (so far). Unlike the Clive Davis one, I didn’t really learn anything new here, but I quite enjoyed the look back at the films I grew up watching, with interesting comments coming from his collaborators. Well worth watching.

Clive Davis: The Sountrack of Our Lives

I’d of course heard of Clive Davis, and knew he was an important figure in the music industry, but I didn’t really know much more than that. Watching this new documentary that was produced for Apple Music, I found myself really enjoying finding out how big an impact he had on the industry, and the journey he had (from lawyer to head of a record label), and the artists that he pretty much guided to success. Doesn’t matter if most of the artists featured aren’t really what I’m into musically, I just found this documentary quite fascinating. Well worth watching.

Pumping Iron

This is it, the film that gave us Arnold Schwarzenegger. As famous/infamous as this documentary is, I’d never seen it, and so didn’t really know much of what to expect (other than the famous scene where you see Arnie smoking a joint after he wins the title). I did enjoy this, although you have to take it more as a “slice of life/day in the life” kind of presentation on the topic, instead of something that really tries to examine and explain a particular topic. There’s barely any narration, and so it’s just mostly light interviews with all of the people involved, and the dialogue bits that happen as the cameras follow these dudes in their quest to, well, pump iron like no man has pumped iron before. But it was pretty entertaining, and yes, Arnie shines through, and it’s fun to see the machiavellian tendencies he reveals (“I can just tell him to do the wrong thing”).

New Territories

One of my favorite filmmakers, Anne Ferrero (Toco Toco TV, Branching Paths), is part of yet another beautifully produced series of video shorts/documentaries about Japanese culture. Called New Territories, it “aims at shedding more light on Japan’s art scene through the eyes of its local players, including artists, galleries, curators, writers, and more.” The first episode covers the Misako & Rosen gallery.

Oasis: Supersonic

After watching the Beatles documentary, I decided to make it a double bill and follow it up with this Oasis one. To be honest, I don’t have a huge amount of love for the band — I liked them fine back in the day, and still think “Supersonic” is a great track, but I was never really obsessed with them (and I liked Blur more anyway). But this is a fun documentary to watch, bringing you back to that era, and seeing the struggles up close (because of the volatile relationship between the brothers). Pretty amazing how big they got, so fast, and that it didn’t last.