Talking Movies: Film, The Living Record of Our Memory, Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street and George Bizos: Icon

Spling reviews Film, The Living Record of Our Memory, Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street and George Bizos: Icon as broadcast on Talking Movies, Fine Music Radio. Listen to podcast.


Good morning – welcome to Talking Movies, I’m Spling…

This week, we’re talking about three documentaries.

Starting off with a documentary screening as part of Encounters…


This documentary explores film through the voices of significant professionals who have contributed to make sure moving images survive and remain accessible.

Writer-Director: Inés Toharia Terán

– Starting with silent films, the value of the medium has reached a much fuller comprehension, moving from its earliest days where films were treated as once-offs to the point that they are now treasured as art forms, time capsules and a window into our past.
– Film, The Living Record of Our Memory chronicles the history of the reel format with specific reference to the preservation and restoration process as we discover just how vulnerable physical copies are, both in their chemical composition and storage environment.
– Interviewing close to a hundred restoration experts, filmmakers and pundits who are intimately involved in the remastering and future-proofing, we get a much fuller appreciation of the fragility and painstaking efforts to find, preserve and protect films for future generations.
– Featuring interviews, excerpts from rescued films, footage from screening events, behind-the-scenes at remastering facilities, film banks, frames and images of film in various states of decay, this comprehensive documentary encapsulates the discussion with a similar precision to the laborious yet technologically-assisted art of film restoration.
– While this documentary will satisfy and reassure film industry professionals, movie buffs and historians, it’s surprisingly entertaining and engaging in spite of running almost 2 hours long.
– Keeping an upbeat pace, this niche film swirls between a myriad of talking heads, captivating visuals and rare artefacts, whilst delving into a fascinatingly intricate field of work with far-reaching historical implications and timely socio-political undertones.

An excellent 8 on the splingometer!

Moving on to a documentary on Showmax…


A chronicle of Sesame Street’s origins, its iconic characters, songs and the gang of visionary creators who changed our world.

Director: Marilyn Agrelo

Features: Jon Stone, Jim Henson and Joan Ganz Cooney

– Having spawned Takalani Sesame over 20 years ago, a South African offshoot of Sesame Street, the edutainment mission of the show’s original founders continues to reverberate in our own backyard.
– Much like the creators’ intentions for Sesame Street, Street Gang is both entertaining and informative in revisiting the show’s origins and TV history.
– Appealing to kids, Sesame Street’s infectious comedy and catchy songs were written by truly passionate creatives and guided by educators who wanted to effect change.
– Street Gang guides audiences on a behind-the-scenes tour of the making of, the personalities and monumental TV moments of a pioneering show that’s never truly realised its far-reaching influence.
– This is a tender, heartwarming and nostalgic film that recalls A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood in terms of its altruistic, gentle and noble aspirations.
– Playing like a rockumentary (without the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll) this film captures the spirit of the times, confronts many issues that still persist and offers a touching retrospective on the creators.
– Street Gang serves as an intimate family portrait of the creators, characters, educators and performers, whose bold endeavour, passion and dedication helped redefine children’s television by uplifting and inspiring kids to never stop learning.

An excellent 8 on the splingometer!

And finally another documentary playing at Encounters…


A documentary chronicle and character portrait of the legendary human rights advocate, George Bizos.

Directors: Jane Thandi Lipman and Peter Goldsmid

Features: Thabi Mbeki and members of the Bizos family

– George Bizos: Icon is an insightful chronicle of the life, influence, character and contribution of the late humanist within the context of South African history.
– Born in Greece, the documentary journeys with Bizos from his childhood until his university activism set the platform for his high profile legal career.
– Imbuing a sense of altruism, bravery and incisiveness, George Bizos: Icon presents a character portrait of a larger-than-life family man whose sacrifices paved the way for lasting change.
– Known as a gardener and an advocate, the film seeks to underscore the saying that “the true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”
– Interviewing sons, granddaughters, political figures, former legal colleagues and Bizos himself, one gets a broad and intimate appreciation of the great man’s goodwill and legacy.
– The documentary recounts his central involvement in drafting the constitution, the TRC, the Legal Resources Centre as well as many high profile trials through the ages.
– Using archive footage, extensive interviews and behind-the-scenes family events, George Bizos: Icon is a modest yet comprehensive documentary that does well to encapsulate Bizos’s essence.
– While budgetary constraints, timestamps on archive footage and repetition detracts, this straightforward yet stirring chronicle has a deep love and respect for its subject as evidenced by its impassioned interviewees.

A satisfactory 6 on the splingometer!

So just to wrap up…

FILM, THE LIVING RECORD OF OUR MEMORY… a comprehensive, entertaining, engaging, impassioned and timely documentary chronicle of film restoration and preservation… An excellent 8!

STREET GANG: HOW WE GOT TO SESAME STREET… a nostalgic, heartwarming and tender retrospective of a beloved, enduring and influential children’s TV show’s origins… An excellent 8!

GEORGE BIZOS: ICON… a modest, straightforward yet stirring documentary chronicle and character portrait of the legendary human rights advocate… A satisfactory 6!

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And remember, Don’t WING it, SPL!NG it!