It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of offerings on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. There are enough TV shows and movies to last a lifetime, but sometimes it’s still hard to decide what to watch next. What you’re forgetting about is the treasure trove of documentaries that these channels feature, many of which are about our favorite subject: design inspiration. Here are some documentaries to fire your imagination.
Indie Game: The Movie
If you are fascinated by the process of designing just about anything, then Indie Game will surely interest you. It profiles four designers as they create independent video games: Braid (2008), Super Meat Boy (2011) and Fez, which was stuck in development hell. These games became wildly successful, but the stressful process of developing them (meeting deadlines and making enough money to live) will be familiar to many creatives.
Cutie and the Boxer
The Academy Award nominated Cutie and the Boxer is a portrait of an unusual creative partnership between husband and wife Ushio Shinohara and his wife, Noriko. Both artists, they move between Japan and Manhattan’s art circles. Ushio is a neo-Dada artist who uses paint-laden gloves to literally punch-paint his canvasses. Noriko, 21 years younger than her husband, put her ambitions aside in order to be devoted to Ushio and their children. However Noriko’s Cutie series of drawings became a sensation, making the complex marriage a marriage in sudden turmoil. The movie explores their 40-year old union and it won the 2013 Sundance Film Festival award for best director (Zachary Heinzerling).
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorr
Never Sorry follows artist and activist Ai Weiwei after his detention from jail by the Chinese authorities in 2011. Ai is a thorn in the side of the Chinese government, and the documentary focuses on the installation of his show in Munich in 2009 as well as his ceramic installment at the Tate Modern in 2010. Ai gets harassed by the police, his studio is destroyed by the government and he is detained. The film shows Ai’s life, photography, conceptual art pieces and explores his social commentary. The movie has a 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Inspired by movement? You must watch the incredible Pina, which shows the beauty of the human body through dance in better form than it has ever been captured on film. The movie is a profile of Pina Bausch and her Tanztheater Wuppertal dance company. Pina was one of the most influential modern dancers of the late 20th century. The movie, by acclaimed director Wim Wenders, was completed shortly before her death in 2009. It played on 3D screens around the world in 2011.
Drew: The Man Behind the Poster
The art of the movie poster is often overlooked, despite many posters’ popularity. In this documentary, Drew Struzan, the man behind posters for movies like Indiana Jones, Back to the Future and Star Wars, is the subject. His close friend like George Lucas, Michael J. Fox, Steven Spielberg, and Harrison Ford provide their insights into Struzan’s work. Struzan started during a time when posters were drawn rather than rendered on the computer. He recently retired as one of the most successful movie poster artists of all time. The title is currently available for free as part of Amazon Prime’s streaming library.