The Photographer of Mauthausen (2018)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

This movie revolves around World War 2 Spanish prisoners in the Mauthausen concentration camp. Here’s another history-based drama that tells an interesting story I was totally unfamiliar with. The lead actor is Mario Casas from The Invisible Guest, who does a fine job. As you will imagine, this film is very dark. It is also, at times, brutally graphic. There are moments that feel a bit cheesy, but overall it’s an effective movie that I fully recommend.

Not available on domestic Blu-ray.

A Twelve Year Night (2018)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

This is a very good historical drama about the struggles of a group of political prisoners in Uruguay. It is just as grim as the name indicates. I have to give credit to Netflix for making a lesser known piece of history available to a wide audience. A Twelve Year Night features solid acting performances and some excellent sound design and soundtrack work. Highly recommended.

Not available on domestic Blu-ray.

Becoming Bond (2017)

Streaming on Hulu | imdb | trailer

This is a very entertaining Hulu original documentary on George Lazenby. It’s a funny look at his becoming James Bond for one film in spite of having zero acting experience. This is NOT a PG rated Bond film, so watch it without the kids around.

FYI – In case you think Lazenby is a one-hit wonder, check out the excellent giallo Who Saw Her Die? It’s available on Blu-ray from Arrow or streaming rental from YouTube or Apple TV.

Not available on Blu-ray.

Neruda (2016)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

This is a bio-drama about poet Pablo Neruda‘s escape from arrest by the Chilean fascist government. I didn’t know what to expect, but the skillful performances and elegant cinematography really made it an enjoyable experience. Pablo Neruda seems like he was a pain in the ass redeemed by artistic genius. It comes as no surprise that he was friends with Picasso.

Not available on Blu-ray.

Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

If you’ve never seen anything from Werner Herzog other than his many documentaries, this is mandatory viewing. The two standout components of the film are Klaus Kinski’s amazing performance and the beautiful score by Krautrock legends Popol Vuh. Pay close attention to one of the early scenes of a seemingly endless line of people winding around a narrow mountain path. I have no idea how Herzog managed to pull off this shot. It’s one of the most beautiful moments in the history of cinema. Please note that at first the film may appear cropped, but the nearly-square aspect ratio (1.37 : 1) is how it was originally filmed.

Available on Blu-ray from Shout Factory.

Burden (2016)

Streaming on Hulu | imdb | trailer

Chris Burden was one of the most notorious performance artists of all time. His later career focused more on installation and sculpture but his work always remained fascinating. I saw a large exhibition of his work at The New Museum a few years back and loved it. Burden is a solid introduction to the artists’ work that I think would appeal to anyone that isn’t easily offended. I refuse to close this recommendation with “Give it a shot.” Nope. Won’t do it.

Not available on Blu-ray.

Nico, 1988 (2017)

Streaming on Hulu | imdb | trailer

I have become a big fan of the music of Nico in recent years. This docudrama is very enjoyable if you are also a fan. It may not be of much interest for other people. The choice of Trine Dyrholm to play the lead was daring as she doesn’t look much Nico, and only vaguely sounds like her. However she’s a fantastic actress and did an impressive job of doing her own version of the tragic musician. A sad story, but a beautiful movie.

Not available on Blu-ray.