So you wanna watch a documentary…
Here is a list of true-life movies and series to keep you company this weekend.
My Octopus Teacher: This Netflix flick isn’t new but just made the Oscar shortlist for documentary feature and is a bona fide international hit. It tells the story of a unique bond between a South African diver Craig Foster and an octopus. A lesser known India connection: Foster is married to Swati Thiyagarajan who is the Environment Editor at NDTV—and she is also one of its producers. CNN has more on the movie, or read USA Today’s review.
Buried by the Bernards: This new reality series—releasing on Netflix today—follows the family behind R Bernard Funeral Services in Memphis, Tennessee, known locally for offering “complete yet affordable funeral packages.” Don’t expect existential angst a la ‘Six Feet Under’ but lots of funeral humour. The Bernards are 100% whacky, and were first discovered when they did this hilarious ad for their services.
Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel: This true-crime docuseries explores the mystery behind the 2010 disappearance of 21-year-old student Elisa Lam who vanished from Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles—which is famous for being the scene of many crimes. RogerEbert.com and USA Today love it. Slate gives it a big thumbs down. But it is already a big hit on Netflix.
The Big Day: This Netflix’s look at the big fat Indian shaadi follows six couples as they plan their insanely lavish weddings. We’re hoping it will be a can’t-look-away juicy watch like ‘Indian Matchmaking’. If all else fails, we will always have memes.
A list of good reads
- Article 14 has an excellent piece on a three year study that shows how Delhi and Mumbai keep Muslim tenants out.
- The News Minute visits Chennai’s recently created art district Kannagi Nagar, and the photos are a delight.
- Popular Science has a fascinating book excerpt from ‘Four Lost Cities’ by Annalee Newitz that looks at how male archaeologists completely misread female statues—and extrapolated wild theories based on their misinterpretation.
- The Arctic is getting greener with each passing year—as the period between when the snow melts and returns gets longer. Wired explores these changes, and what they may signify for the future.
- The Atlantic offers a thoughtful theory to explain our shallow obsession with really gross cooking videos. Yes, yes, guilty as charged!
- The New Yorker takes a jab at the upcoming SATC flick and its possible plotlines.
- The Literary Review of Canada offers a delightful riff on bathrooms and our complicated relationship with them.
- Very timely read: Scroll on how the judiciary surrendered or resisted Indira Gandhi during Emergency.
- Last not least: splainer founding member, Basreena Basheer recommends Adilah Ismail’s ‘On Living and Dying as a Muslim in Sri Lanka’.