August 10, 2020

Screen Time: Week of August 10, 2020

From Archana Atul Phadke's 'About Love.' Courtesy of Archana Atul Phadke.

Screen Time is your curated weekly guide to excellent documentaries and nonfiction programs that you can watch at home.

Streaming this month on POV, starting August 10, is About Love, from Archana Atul Phadke, who trains her camera on her Mumbai-based family, three generations of which live together in the same home. The personal becomes political as power structures within the family become visible, and eventually unravel. Cruel and comic in equal measure, the film shows the vagaries of affection across generations.

Premiering August 12 on HBO, Muta’Ali Muhammad's Yusuf Hawkins: Storm Over Brooklyn tells the story of Yusuf Hawkins, a black teenager who was murdered in 1989 by a group of young white men in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. Yusuf Hawkins' death and the official response to it sparked outrage in New York, unleashing a torrent of racial tension and spurring tireless civil rights activism that exposed deep racial prejudices and inequities which continue to plague the country today.

Continuing the commemoration of the work of the late Congressman and activist John Lewis, American Experience is streaming Stanley Nelson's Freedom Riders, which tells the story of 400 Black and white Americans who for six months in 1961  risked their lives, enduring savage beatings and imprisonment, to test and challenge a segregated interstate travel system. The film features testimony from the Riders themselves, including Lewis and C.T. Vivian, state and federal government officials, and journalists who witnessed the Rides firsthand.

Premiering August 12 on Kino Lorber Marquee, Jazz on a Summer's  Day, the classic 1959 documentary from Bert Stern, captures the spirit and energy of the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, featuring riveting performances from some of the greatest musical artists of all time—Louis Armstrong, Thelonious Monk, Gerry Mulligan, Anita O'Day, Chuck Berry, Dinah Washington and Mahalia Jackson. This version was restored in 4K by IndieCollect.

The documentary community lost Kevin Rafferty last month, and Kino Lorber is streaming one of his most celebrated films, The Atomic Café, which he made with his brother Pierce Rafferty and Jayne Loader. This 1982 documentary, also restored in 4K by IndieCollect, juxtaposes Cold War history, propaganda, music and culture, seamlessly crafted from government-produced educational and training films, newsreels and advertisements. Taken together, these sources cheerily instruct the public on how to live in the Atomic Age, how to survive a nuclear attack ... and how to fight and win a nuclear war.