Chris Reed column: How three ambitious documentaries seek to change our view of the past | Columnists


In 2020, “The Last Dance” – the 10-part, 10-hour documentary series about the Chicago Bulls’ 1997-98 season directed by Jason Hehir and co-produced by ESPN and Netflix – also dealt with familiar angles: Michael Jordan’s contempt for the general manager Jerry Krause, how the worldwide adoration for MJ has made his daily routine akin to life in a well-stocked prison and, of course, his basketball genius.

But as the documentary unfolds, its main advantage is Jordan’s pathological borderline competitive intensity – starting with the relentless bullying of his teammates, including punching the much smaller Steve Kerr in the face. . A 1991 book called “The Jordan Rules” argues that he was a leader, but “The Last Dance” has long segments that make him look like a monster – an irresistible, but still a monster.

The production company behind the documentary wants you to know that the Jordan sold out to the public – via “Space Jam”, quirky Nike commercials often directed by Spike Lee, his wacky appearances with David Letterman and Jay Leno, and charming tricks on the Oprah Winfrey show – was a myth. The company is controlled by Jordan. He tells the world he was proud to have been an antisocial maniac. It’s weird.

The third film in this unusual triptych is “Get Back,” director Peter Jackson’s three-part, 468-minute documentary released on Disney+ in November. Jackson extracted 150 hours of audio and 60 hours of mostly unreleased video footage from several weeks with the Beatles in early 1969 when the band came up with many songs for the “Let It Be” album and then performed them. on the roof of the Apple Music headquarters in London.


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