Jez has been pushing Meet the Fokkens lately and Blackfish has gotten a lot of attention, but I want to know about some really interesting hidden netflix gems.
I'm personally interested in documentaries about sexuality, feminism, or showbusiness. Today I got drunk and watched The Great Happiness Space which is about a popular male Host Club in Osaka, Japan. It starts slow, but if you can get through the first fifteen minutes or so the subjects of the doc really jump out at you. Host/hostess clubs can trace their roots to geisha culture, I think. On the most basic level, women (in this case) pay thousands of dollars a night to drink, flirt, and sing karaoke with attractive, smoothe, heavily coiffed men. Sex is not overtly part of the deal, and one man pointed out it's actually a poor business decision because the clients tend to drop off afterward, but it's not uncommon to do so for an extra fee. The documentary assumes you know this, so if you're unfamiliar with this type of thing it's probably best to wiki it before you start. At first it seems like the men are in control of the situation—manipulating lonely women for tons of money and feeling no shame for it—but as with all things surrounding the human heart it's not that simple. Alcoholism and binge drinking are occupational hazards for these men, they aren't allowed to really stand up for themselves when a customer is rude or abusive or obsessive, and many of their clients are prostitutes who are addicted to the emotional support and nurturing these men provide (for a price), and the men feel conflicted about it. Both parties know they being are manipulated yet openly manipulate each other, and all of the people interviewed felt this sense of distrust of the other sex, and sadness over their inability to connect in a romantically healthy way. Their lifestyle is an addiction for both parties and it's thought provoking and heartrending.
Other recommendations include:
- This Film is Not Yet Rated
- Inside Deepthroat
- (not on netflix, but find it anyway) Sut Jhally's Dreamworlds series (TW for rape/rape culture)
- The Hollywood Complex
- Nursery University
- Paris is Burning (a classic)
What about you all? Got any recommendations you'd like to share?
I'd also like to talk about documentaries and the facade of objectivity. Anyone got an opinion on that?