Not much for us this week so I’ll start with the most bizarre, Tickled. I have no idea if this is a real or made up documentary but either way it is odd. It starts out with a journalist seeing a video about competitive tickling. This tickles his fancy (pun intended) and does some research about tickling leagues and its history. He travels to the US with his small crew and finds out that there is much more than just tickling involved. Through threats and lawsuits he realizes there are some shady people involved or maybe just one person involved from the beginning. Beginning in the AOL message boards of the 1990’s to now, one name keeps coming up. The documentary tries to focus on him and if he’s the man behind all the craziness, threats, lawsuits and ruining of people’s lives. It’s all crazy odd and I don’t know if it’s real or staged to catfish an audience, but it’s entertaining enough. If you know of the film or the TV special that came out about it, check out the DVD release.
Sticking with documentaries, next is Target: St. Louis. After its initial use in World War II, the US wanted to know more about the use of atomic energy in case it would be needed in the Cold War. So they tested out aerosol radiation in North St. Louis on African-Americans to see what would happen. Of course they want to deny all of it and claim all the diseases and sicknesses US citizens got had nothing to do with what they were doing. The documentary is pretty fascinating in how we looked at urban areas at that time and how the government openly tested on citizens without us knowing. People just thought they were using poisons to kill bugs in the city, but most likely they were seeing what radiation would do to humans. At 67 minutes it’s a pretty fast and easy watch.
Third we have Farinelli which was a Best Foreign Language Oscar nominee. If you read me you know I know very little about art. I know even less about opera and had to look up if this was based on a true story or not it. It is but according to some research it takes a lot of liberties including the impact his brother had and huge gaps of time. The film is about Carlo Broschi, an Italian castrato singer of the 18th century who I’ve never heard of. I’m assuming he was the best of his time. The film focuses on the dynamic with his brother Riccardo who composed the operas he sang. They traveled together, performed together, slept with women together (yeah the brother was needed to finish the job because Carlo was castrated). The castration is explained in the film, but I won’t spoil that because it’s pretty messed up. The performances and production value are great, but not knowing anything about the people or story, I didn’t get a ton out of it that way. I had never heard of Farinelli and looked up more about the story after watching the film which seems to be really inaccurate. But if you know the film or the singer, this release is pretty solid with bonus features consisting of interviews, featurettes and more.
Last we have A Place to Call Home: Season 6. In its final season Sarah marries George, James returns home, there is a funeral for Dawn, there are consequences to Henry’s accident, Olivia returns with news and the 1950’s end. Marta Dusseldorp was fantastic in the series, but I loved the production and set design the most. The backdrops were beautiful as were wardrobe and sets. It made for a perfect location which added to the always dramatic story. I think the show wrapped up pretty well and if you’ve never seen it and wanted a replacement for Downton Abbey, this could fill that void.