Two Escobars, Craigslist Joe and Woody Allen Documentary Reports

After studying a series of different documentaries, we were given the task of watching three of our own choosing to watch and break down in the same way we have with the others. The three films I chose were ESPN’s 30 for 30: The Two Escobars, Craigslist Joe and Woody Allen: A Documentary.

The first one, The Two Escobars is about what happened in the late 80s/early 90s in Colombia, where notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar merged the murky business of his drugs empire with football. Using the football team National to launder money made from selling drugs around the world, he helped improve the quality of life for the poor, the quality of football on show and the national team as a whole.

The second Escobar is Andres, a defender who played for National and the national team who became a key player for both sides but whose famous own goal at the World Cup in ’94 led to him being murdered on his return to his country.

There are no questions asked as there are no presenters, it is a very subjective film as the story is told by the people whose involved; Pablo’s family, gang members, friends and Andres’ family, team mates etc.

Despite being subjective, it also remains impartial as while it shows all of the horrendous things Pablo and his men did, including murder and terrorism, it also shown he had a soft side as he built homes and football pitches for the poor. On the other hand, it shown that Andres wasn’t as squeaky clean as he appeared, as he would overlook the source of the money he was receiving and was generally friendly with Pablo.

I feel the point of the documentary is to educate those who follow the beautiful game, and even those who don’t, of what happened. As somebody who was born in 1993, I had no idea it happened until I watched this film for the first time. During the lead up to the World Cup in ’94, the film shows us that football is a game which can unite people even in the most dire situations all around the world. I also feel it also serves as a powerful reminder of what happens if we let unsavoury people into our game.

The film affected me in multiple ways, in terms of making me equally happy and sad. Happy because it was great to see how poorer people were helped and seeing National win the Copa Libertadores but sad as you see a football being killed just because he made a simple mistake, one every defender has made, score an own goal.

The next film, Craigslist Joe, follows a man who want to find out if modern day America is still willing to help one another out by traveling from California to New York and back within a month using only what he can get for free from Craigslist.

The film was entirely subjective as everything in it was based around what he encountered and his view points, as well as the opinions of those he met. Within the film the issues talked about included homelessness, as he was technically homeless throughout and spent the night out on the streets in New York and San Francisco, as well as racism in the States, especially 9/11, when he stayed with an Iraqi family, and society on a whole, showing that there is still some togetherness even today.

The film was set out chronologically as it followed Joseph throughout his journey on a daily basis. The questions he asked people were very open so he got as detailed an answer as he could out of them to understand who they were or what they did more.

The purpose of the film as a whole was to show that America still has some selflessness as a society and mainly is a sort of feel good film to make the American viewer feel better about themselves.

I would say that the film is somewhat partial due to the fact that it overlooks the fact not everybody will want to be as helpful as those who do, and you have to wonder if it wasn’t for the camera man and the chance to be on television/the silver screen, would they have allowed him to sleep on their couch or come around for dinner; you can’t imagine those same people picking up a homeless man or woman on the street and treating him the same for example. Mainly it felt like one giant advert for Craigslist, the creator and owner of the site popping up at the end cementing this view.

Overall it didn’t have a great deal on impact on me as I still see the majority of people as cold and unhelpful people, especially if they don’t get anything in return for a good deed, and I couldn’t think of anything worse than being in the situation he put himself in.

The third documentary I watched was Woody Allen: A Documentary which goes through the career of the famous writer/director from birth to the present time over two one and half hour films.

It is a subjective film as throughout the story of his career is told by himself, his family members, people he has worked with – such as Larry David, Diane Keaton, Scarlett Johansson to name a few – and those who admire his work, like Martin Scorsese.

There is a balance to the film too, as it talks briefly about his personal life and his controversial break up with Mia Farrow and his marriage to Soon-Yi Previn.

The issues involved in the film are art and the art of film making, writing and acting along with the main influences in his writing which are love, mortality and death.

The purpose of the film to me is to inform us about his life and what inspired his comedy, his achievements and his legend. To fans like me who watch this documentary I finished it wanting to re-watch all of his films, while to somebody who maybe hadn’t encountered him before may want to go and watch them for the first time. It also gives a good insight on the kind of man he is, how he goes about writing a movie and how he is to work with on set.

The impact on me was, once again, I wanted to go and watch all of my favourite Woody Allen movies again, and track down ones I haven’t seen which were mentioned, and throughout I was made to laugh at lines from his movies and jokes.

There are no questions in this movie either so there are no notes on the question style, it wasn’t in chronological order.

I wouldn’t consider this film to be impartial as it is really all about telling the viewer the about how great this director is and is trying to get you in that mindset without delving into the more negative things too much.

 

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