Missing your regular dose of culture right now? Don’t know when you’re going to get the chance to visit a museum or eat at your favourite restaurant again next? Then you’re just like the rest of us.
But don’t despair. Two phenomenal documentary series that take you behind the curtains, inside the green room and out into the carpark are about to return. And the timing couldn’t be much better.
Netflix’s award winning series Chef’s Table is back for a seventh volume, focusing purely on barbecue and featuring celebrated Australian chef Lennox and his brilliant Surry Hills restaurant Firedoor.
And then there is the latest instalment of Amazon’s All or Nothing. This series spends the season inside English Premier League powerhouse Tottenham Hotspur, documenting the spectacular arrival of Jose Mourinho and the challenges of restarting a season amid a pandemic.
We all miss wandering through a gallery, nestling into a buzzing restaurant or sitting in the stands at the footy. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Spend some time exploring the sprawling city of Los Angeles with the late great Jonathan Gold. Spend a season inside one of the most famous football clubs in the world – English giants Leeds United – as they fight for a return to the English Premier League.
Travel back in time and remember just how good Heath Ledger was. And speaking of travel, remember Tokyo? You might not be able to visit Japan any time soon, but you can reminisce on sushi and the artist that is Jiro Ono.
Man of Style has selected 18 culture documentaries to help pass the time right now. Some are whole series – more is sometimes better – while others are one-offs that leave you wanting more.
The Last Dance (2020)
When it comes to sports docos, they don’t get any better than this. If, for some reason, you didn’t hear about this series earlier in the year, you must have been living in Greenland or Antarctica. This brilliant 10-part series by ESPN was filled full of never-before-seen vision of Michael Jordan’s career at the Chicago Bulls – and his brief time at the Chicago White Sox. Some of the vision is so far behind the scenes it is stunning, like when the greatest of all time is weeping on the locker room ground after winning his first championship following his father’s death. Add Scottie Pippen and Denis Rodman into the mix and this is must-see for anyone remotely interested in the 1990s.
If you like this… then you will also like Anelka: Misunderstood
The Gospel According to Andre (2018)
A couple of years before Andre Leon Talley made a big splash with his tell-all memoir, The Chiffon Trenches, his life and career is explored in detail in this documentary. The American fashion journalist, who was the long-time editor-at-large at Vogue, has been of the most recognisable faces in fashion for the past few decades. But it is his relationship with Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour which makes his career even more interesting. Talley is an African-American cultural figure, but his career came at great personal cost, which is examined in the film.
If you like this… then you will also like McQueen
Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011)
Before American documentary star Daniel Gelb became a household name via his brilliant series, Chef’s Table, the New Yorker made an 81-minute film on a three Michelin starred restaurant located inside a Tokyo subway station. And it centres around an 85-year-old sushi master called Jiro Ono. The ten-seat, fixed menu at Sukiyabashi Jiro costs more than $370 and is one of the most sought-after meals in the Japanese capital. At the crux of the documentary is Jiro’s eldest son, Yoshikazu, who is the heir to the throne, although he struggles with the burden of following in his famous father’s footsteps.
If you like this… then you will also like Seven Days Out: Eleven Madison Park
City of Gold (2015)
It didn’t get any bigger in American food journalism than Jonathan Gold. Before the Los Angeles Times legend left this world prematurely in 2018, the Pulitzer Prize winning food critic was involved in this film that shone a light on everything that makes the Californian city so spectacular. From hard-to-find taco trucks to mind-over-matter menus in shopping malls, Gold showed why you should never judge a book by its cover. A doco for anyone interested in food – and a must for those who enjoy peeking behind the curtains at culinary journalism.
If you like this… then you will also like Ants on a Shrimp: Noma in Tokyo
I am Heath (2017)
Heath Ledger was taken far too young, at a time when he had barely scratched the surface with his acting. In this hauntingly personal documentary, you don’t quite get a look at the private demons he was battling with in the lead up to his death, but you do get to intimate look at the man behind the actor. The feature contains plenty of home videos shot by Ledger across his teenage years and his time in Hollywood. Ledger’s collection of friends and family also provide rare insight into what it was like for a boy from Western Australia to make it in Tinseltown.
If you like this… then you will also like Diego Maradona
Leeds United: Take us home (2018)
If you haven’t heard about Marcelo Bielsa by now, you will hear plenty about him in the coming months and beyond. The Argentinian football coach guided the once mighty Leeds United back into the Premier League last month, following a 16-year absence from the biggest sports league on the planet. This six-part series doesn’t cover the most recent season, but don’t let that dissuade you. It covers the 2018-19 campaign – Bielsa’s first year at Leeds – inside a drama-filled season that nearly ended in promotion, as well as featuring a SpyGate fiasco and a display of sportsmanship that reverberated around the world.
If you like this… then you will also like Sunderland ‘Til I Die
Abstract: The Art of Design – Olafur Eliasson & Bjarke Ingels
If you haven’t stumbled across this aesthetically pleasing show yet, then think Chef’s Table but for design. The Netflix production features some of the biggest artists, architects, photographers and movers and shakers in the design world. The two that stand out delve into the careers of Danish architect Bjarke Ingels in season one and Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson, who is renowned for his large-scale installations and sculptures. Treat yourself.
If you like this… then you will also like Seven Days Out: Karl Lagerfeld
The Price of Everything (2018)
Ever wanted to know how the art world transformed into a money maker? This Madman Film explores the relationship between commerce and aesthetics. The Price of Everything centres on artists, curators, critics and dealers, as well as those on the periphery. Popular American contemporary artist Jeff Koons – the man behind that US$58.4 million balloon dog – features prominently.
If you like this… then you will also like Banksy Does New York